The search for academic excellence permeates and informs my personal approach and general philosophy, embraced as a result of gaining extensive professional experience of research and teaching within the area of organic chemistry and related fields. Prior to my appointment as Undergraduate Liaison Officer and Senior Tutor (Biology) at Imperial College London I worked at Teesside University from 1998-2013 as a Senior Lecturer delivering general courses in chemistry at both the UG and PG levels. My teaching expertise has ranged from all aspects of organic chemistry to medicinal chemistry to toxicology to petroleum chemistry as well as spectroscopic interpretation, and my preferred delivery style has now evolved firmly toward non-didactic (i.e. “flipping” the classroom and other student-centric) methods. I am also, apparently, one of the few academics qualified with a PGCE (St. Mary’s University, Strawberry Hill (1993-94) – which makes me a “Simmarian”).
In addition to my teaching and research activities (of which see below) I possess considerable course management experience, particularly as a result of initiating, leading and steering the highly successful M.Sc programme in Petroleum Engineering (2004-6 & 2012-13) at Teesside; in between which I also led the Masters course in Analytical Chemistry, for a period of 4 years.
My personal research has resulted in 4 successful PhD completions, either as DoS or second/third supervisor, a variety of conference abstracts and papers as well as journal articles in an eclectic mix of areas, including: medicinal chemistry, drug delivery, polymer fracture mechanics, QRT-PCR DNA analysis of Staphylococcus aureus and the analysis of nano-silver migration from packaging into food. Previously, I was involved with the custom synthesis of fine organic chemicals in the North East chemical industry, preceded by academic work which took me overseas (1995-1997) as an Assistant Professor (Pasteur Institute of Iran and the National Research Center for Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology, Tehran). My post-doctoral work was conducted in industry at the US pharmaceutical company MSD & Co from 1989 to 1992, where I developed skills in medicinal chemistry at Merck's Neuroscience Research Centre, Terlings Park – winning the Centre’s first Award of Excellence in 1990 for work on the homochiral muscarinic agonist (cholinomimetic) L696,986. My most significant contribution during this time, however, was as part of the discovery group that identified the $500m per year anti-migraine drug rizatriptan (Maxalt).
I first found out how to make small molecules during my doctoral studies at Queen Mary, University of London by developing my skills in synthetic organic chemistry – the particular subject of my PhD being novel alpha amino acid chemistry – under the supervision of Dr Nigel S. Simpkins (a graduate of Imperial College and now Haworth Prof. at Birmingham University). I hold a B.Sc and HND in chemistry from NELP and Kingston Polytechnic, respectively, and I am a long standing member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (MRSC) as well as a Chartered Chemist (2001). My outside interests include writing and playing songs for the guitar, cycling and reading in a wide range of subjects.