LSTM’s Dr Shaun Pennington wins Early Career Professional Award

News article 3 Oct 2022
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LSTM is pleased to announce that Dr Shaun Pennington, an immunologist and microbiologist at the school, has been awarded the Early Career Professional (ECP) Impact Award by the European Laboratory Research & Innovation Group (ELRIG). Shaun will receive his award at the ELRIG Drug Discovery 2022 event, taking place this October in London.  

During his early-career, Shaun has developed of several in-vitro models of infection for pre-clinical drug discovery. By working closely with partners, Infection Innovation Consortium, iiCON, Shaun has been able to engage with commercial partners and provide access to these experimental platforms. Working in this way, has enabled the partners to generate important data, with high-risk pathogens, without the requirement for investment in biological safety level 3 infrastructure. 

During the pandemic, Shaun led the development of several assays for the assessment of compounds targeting SARS-CoV-2. The team used simple, single-cell systems as well as advanced, multi-cellular, dynamic-flow organoid systems to screen thousands of compounds and study synergistic drug interactions. The data generated using these platforms has supported successful grant applications and has accelerated drug discovery activities in this area. It is for this work that Shaun has been recognised by ELRIG. 

Dr Pennington said: “I am honoured to receive this award. It is fantastic to be recognised for the impact that our work has had through collaboration with industry. I’d like to thank my colleagues for supporting the various aspects of this work, and iiCON for providing us with the opportunity to strengthen our links with the commercial sector.” 

The Infection Innovation Consortium (iiCON) was established in 2020 with an £18.6M investment from the UKRI Strength in Places Programme. It is led by Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, and includes core partners from industry, academia, and Liverpool University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (LUHFT). The consortium’s objective is to deliver solutions for human infections. iiCON’s offering to industry is a portfolio of novel platforms which specifically target key challenges in the development of infectious disease interventions.  

Working in partnership with iiCON’s platform portfolio, has enabled LSTM to work with SMEs in the preclinical stage as iiCON can assist product development through access to their human tissue models. These projects have included drug development, antimicrobial screening efficacy for sanitation formulations, validation and verification of new classes of PPE as well as evaluating air sterilisation technology.