I studied my undergraduate in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Leeds. This included a year in industry working for Procter and Gamble where I worked on perfumes in laundry powder. I came back to Leeds to do my masters which was based on diazo chemistry and chemical proteomics. During my masters, I realised how much I enjoyed doing research and delving deeper in to a subject I had a real passion for. I’d seen an advertisement board in the chemistry building for the Molecules to Product group and so then I applied to do a PhD with the Molecules to Product CDT.
I became interested in the Molecules to Product CDT as I wanted to engage in multidisciplinary research. I enjoyed the chemistry I explored at both undergraduate and masters level but I wanted to broaden my horizons and explore more of the chemical and process engineering I’d learnt about whilst on my year in industry. Further to this, being able to help solve real world problems that a wide variety of industry partners were invested in was a really exciting prospect. The CDT also presented the opportunity to undertake placements, both home and abroad, to be able to gain access to a range of facilities and institutions. As well as this, the 4 year program would allow for development of my skills as a researcher and an individual through a series of training courses – including plenty of chances to go on conferences and attend webinars.
For my research project, I’m looking at the structure-stability relationships of model asphaltene molecules and the implications for dispersant design. Asphaltenes are polar chemically complex compounds and are found in heavy fuel oil which is used to power container ships. They are problematic due to their tendency to aggregate and cause issues with engine performance. The research therefore aims to better understand and determine the critical parameters of asphaltenes that govern their stability. This will involve synthesizing molecules to act as models for asphaltenes before they undergo physicochemical characterization. Comparisons can then be made with the behaviour of real asphaltenes to then inform the design of new dispersant molecules for solubilising them.
- BSc with int. MChem