The size of the university and its culture offers unequalled opportunities for very rewarding scientific collaborations. Its facilities are amongst the best in the world.
How would you summarise your research to undergraduates?
My research aims to combine nanofabrication methods (nanotechnology) and the biochemical modification of proteins (biotechnology) to understand the behaviour of proteins, and harness them for practical applications in chemical processing and electronics.
We use a mix of many subjects including molecular biology to perform modifications at the genetic level, organic chemistry to synthesise the compounds to modify the proteins and to coat nanofabricated surfaces, materials chemistry to produce the surfaces, and analytical chemistry to characterise all these things!
How would you summarise your research to postgraduates?
My research is highly multidisciplinary but covers two general areas: The first is the recombinant engineering of proteins through genetic and biochemical means to produce synthetic proteins that perform new and “unnatural” functions. My research also heavily involves the use of surface nanofabrication to generate materials with novel properties. In particular I am developing methods that enable fabrication over large areas while maintaining nanometre resolution of individual features.
In both cases, the research is aimed at developing a variety of technological applications in chemical processing, energy conversion, materials synthesis and tissue engineering.
What do you think makes the School distinctive?
The variety and depth of all the branches of chemistry we cover. If you need expert advice on any subject there is always someone around who can help you.
What do you enjoy most about teaching?
Being able to impart the knowledge of my chosen discipline to new people.
How do you make your teaching up-to-date, innovative and inspirational?
I review and update my teaching materials every year to ensure that they are fresh and relevant to modern working practices, both in academia and out in industry. I try to adopt an engaging manner whenever I teach (dry sense of humour notwithstanding).
What do you enjoy most about research?
Discovering a new result. The satisfaction of getting a difficult experiment to finally work smoothly.
What have been the highlights of your career?
My EPSRC Fellowship, which allowed me to work at Northwestern University in Chicago.
How long have you been at the School? What keeps you there?
Since I got back from Chicago, in April 2011. The size of the university and its culture offers unequalled opportunities for very rewarding scientific collaborations. Its facilities are amongst the best in the world.
When a student completes their course, what for you are the measures of success?
That the students leave my course equipped with the know-how they need to tackle their next course, and ultimately their future careers.
How do you think students remember you?
I don’t imagine it’s anything polite! I’m the guy who delivers the brutal 2nd year spectroscopy course.