Tony Curtis – Organic and Medicinal Chemistry

Name: Dr Anthony (Tony) Curtis

Location: United Kingdom

What do you do?

I am a Senior Lecturer within the School of Pharmacy at Keele University. I teach subjects at the interface between the life and physical sciences: my expertise is in organic and medicinal chemistry, showing students the range of chemistries and technologies behind drug design and development, but also have interests in drug delivery and specific therapeutic areas, cancer for example. I undertake research currently with a focus on nanopharmaceutics, using innovative methods in nanotechnology and drug design for delivering drugs to their intended site of action within the body. This is an exciting and rapidly growing field and brings together scientists in a truly multidisciplinary way.

What can I see?

I am a member the Keele Nanopharmaceutics Research Group, led by Dr Clare Hoskins, and we have recently acquired a 3D printer for our research. Some would say that I just needed an excuse to buy one! The printer will be used to build devices from novel materials designed by our group with the goal of controlling cell growth and drug release, for example. The view I have selected is what I saw mostly on Monday 16th March 2015: The printer requires precise calibration for our work and although the printer is situated within a building which is supposed to be vibration-free the device itself vibrates and is sensitive to doors being slammed elsewhere in the building. To help keep everything in place I have made some anti-vibration feet using a design downloaded from Thingiverse and the view shows one of the foot pads being printed; this is the view I had when I was checking to see if things were going OK. Fortunately, by the end of the day I had four working feet on the machine and a new problem to solve, how to stop the smooth foot pads from sliding around on the equally smooth bench top…

When I’m not doing science I…

….am trying to escape and failing! I have always found it difficult to switch off and relax and these days my head is usually full of things that I want to do, experiments that need to be done and how to get the results out there. We are surrounded by technology, so much has changed since I started my studies in chemistry and my career has developed as new technologies become available, so when I’m not doing science in the laboratory or working on something in my office on campus I’m doing science or using technology elsewhere. I was fascinated by Lego, Meccano, science and engineering as a child so I guess it isn’t surprising that I still have gadgets and devices in various states of repair! Time to relax is important, spending time doing nothing directly related to science is essential and it can be refreshing to take a vacation with friends and family. It is difficult to escape science if you have an enquiring mind but doing science is difficult when you are tired so if I was to offer any advice it would be this: when you are not doing science, sleep!