Trainee at GlycoNet: Benjamin DiFrancesco

Posted: January 1, 2016

Ben received his B.Sc. in Chemical Biology from McMaster University and in 2011, started working in the
lab of Dr. Mark Nitz at the University of Toronto, where he is now a Ph.D. candidate.

What is the focus of your project?

I work on bacterial polysaccharides, biofilm formation, synthesis of deacetylase inhibitors and drug

What techniques do you use in your research?

I use carbohydrate synthesis, medicinal chemistry, analytical chemistry and virtual screening.

What inspired you?

During my undergrad I discovered that I love applying chemistry and synthesis to biology so I found
a lab where I could do both the synthesis and testing of compounds.

What would you like to do next?

Something in the pharmaceutical industry or consulting.

What advice would you offer other researchers?

Find a way of incorporating your interests into your project. Virtual screening was never meant to be a
part of my project but it was something that I found cool so I was able to learn about it and then use it
for inhibitor design.

Lastly, what do you like to do for fun?

I like to read, go to concerts, play board games, and explore craft beer (especially in Toronto).

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