Ayaz Najafov developer of ProteinGuru awarded CLS Innovator of the Year Prize

Many congratulations to Ayaz, a PhD student in Dario Alessi's lab, for his award of the CLS Innovator of the Year Prize for the development of the ProteinGuru program that greatly facilitates the analysis of complex mass spectrometry data. Ayaz was nominated for this award by Paola delos Heros and other postdocs and PhD students in Dario's lab.

Ayaz developed this program in his spare time with his brother Jamil Najafov, an undergraduate student studying Computer Science at Gazi University in Turkey. The purpose of ProteinGURU is to facilitate the analysis of complex mass spectrometry data. It rapidly removes all common general contaminants from the data sets leaving only the proteins that are likely to be genuine hits. It also provides lots of valuable information on domain structure, disease links and known functions of genuine hits. Another hugely useful feature of ProteinGuru is that it enables the rapid analyse the data from 3 or 4 mass spectrometry sets of data to search for differences between the data. For example, if you are comparing wild type versus knockout and/or drug treatment samples, the programme enables the researcher to rapidly pinpoint hits that are effected by knockout and/or drug treatment.

ProteinGURU is being widely used in the MRC Protein Phosphorylation Unit and is freely available to anyone worldwide to use without restriction: [url">http://www.proteinguru.com/

Ayaz will be presented with his award by the cancer genetics pioneer, Robert Weinberg, of the Whitehead Institute in Boston on April 13th when he delivers the College of Life Sciences annual Adam Neville Lecture. Ayaz plans to share the £250 prize with his brother.

Ayaz said 'I am greatly honoured to have received the Innovator of the Year award from the College of Life Sciences at this early stage of my career. It's a great pleasure to be able to contribute to the research of my colleagues and beyond. I hope ProteinGURU will be used by more researchers around the world. I wouldn't have been able to do this without my brother Jamil, and he deserves half of the prize.' Dario would like to stress that Ayaz undertook this work completely independently with no involvement of his PhD supervisor. In fact Dario recollects that he suggested to Ayaz that he concentrates on his main project understanding how PDK1 inhibitors operate rather than 'messing around writing computer programs'. This emphasizes the importance of PhD students not always following the advise of their PhD supervisors, if they wish to become successful.

To look at the ProteinGURU programme please click here.