(Professor Andrew Dove)
I was an undergraduate at the University of York before obtaining my PhD from Imperial College London. At the time I was really interested in catalysis and the process of making chemicals efficiently. I worked on a project to make polylactide more efficiently. This was already an important polymer for biomedical applications but at the time it was just about to become a really important bio-derived polymer for commodity applications (like plastic bottles and bags) too.
My interest in making polymers became more keen and I then traveled to California to undertake post-doctoral work first at Stanford University and then at IBMs Almaden Research Centre. It was here that I really started to understand what the polymers that I had been finding new ways to make, could really do.
I saw a couple of opportunities;
- One was to find ways to give biodegradable materials different physical properties and use those materials in high-value applications such as in biomedical devices.
- Another was to work on sustainable replacement for commodity plastics and degrading plastic waste.
Then, not many other people were interested in making biodegradable plastics, more recently it’s become a very hot topic!
Me and my group now work on projects as diverse as understanding how stereochemistry affects the properties of polymer materials, designing new materials from sugars and 3D printing medical devices to aid recovery after cancer therapies. I really like the diversity that science brings and the ability to work on problems that are both interesting to me and could have a significant impact on others if we can get them to work.
Outside of the lab I like to spend time with my family. I used to play a lot of golf but it takes so long that I don’t make the time for it any more – I still manage to watch the football team that I have supported since I was at school and am a keen aquarist in my spare time.
Andrew Dove is a Professor in Chemistry at the University of Birmingham to read more about his work on producing “greener” plastics click here.
To have a look around Andrew’s group research laboratories click here.
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