Meet Dr Dhifaf Jasim – Senior Scientist, Radiochemistry

Dhifaf shares with us her experiences and what attracted her to drug discovery


Which team do you work in and what does that team do?

I work in the pre-clinical imaging team. We answer all questions related to where the new medicines locate within the body. It also involves making the medicines visible if needed by attaching a tag then using one (or more) of the imaging techniques available to follow it up in vivo.

What’s your role within your team?

I help our collaborators understand their new medicines behaviour within the body. My role involves making the new constructs visible through attaching tags (mostly radiotags or radioisotopes) through novel radiochemical methods.

As a pharmacologist, I also follow up the radiolabelled constructs all the way by further performing the in vivo imaging experiments as well.

How many years of experience do you have within your field of work?

I have 11 years of experience in the field of nanomedicine research with a PhD in Pharmacology/Nanomedicine from the University of Manchester. I have made, characterised, and labelled various nanoparticles and biomolecules with different tags whether for optical imaging or nuclear imaging purposes. I’ve also performed a huge amount of in vivo imaging (SPECT/CT, IVIS) and toxicology work with the aim of understanding the structure-activity relationships in vivo.

What attracted you to the drug discovery industry and Medicines Discovery Catapult?

Looking back at my first degree in Pharmacy, I was inspired by a neighbour who was studying it at the time. I certainly made the right decision as I really enjoyed my first years understanding medicines and then went on to do further studies researching new discoveries in the field, which was even more intriguing.

The great collaborative efforts available at MDC that brings the expertise to help both academics and industry is fantastic – this will certainly accelerate the drug discovery process and help medicines reach patients faster. Also, I was attracted to the preclinical imaging team as it is my direct scientific realm.

To date, what’s the most extraordinary or interesting job/project you’ve had in your career?

I have worked on many interesting projects related to nanomedicines including a collaboration with the University of Manchester Nobel Prize-winning 2D graphene material experts. Perhaps the most interesting one to me was the most recent, using a novel graphene oxide construct for cancer immunotherapeutic applications.

If you could swap your job with anyone in the world, who would you swap with?

As I enjoy art and design a lot, I would probably swap my job with an interior or fashion designer.

Tell us something you like doing outside of work.

I love spending time with my kids and family. You will also find me taking care of my plants or doing small art projects like crochet/ knitting.