Meet Amy

Hello all, my name is Amy and I am a chemist.

My area of interest is Medicinal Chemistry, which is a form of biochemistry; I’m interested in the treatment of various cancers, and the drug treatments behind them. We are hoping to develop a drug that will stimulate the natural immunological systems of the body that destroys cancer cells. As the human body is capable of both naturally detecting and killing pre-cancerous cells, but in some cases the body over-looks these dangerous cells and this is how cancers form. We are hoping that we can use these mechanisms to treat some cancers without the use of very toxic chemotherapy, which is what is currently used to treat most cancers, in combination with other treatments. Chemotherapy comes at the price that it not only affects cancer cells, but also affects healthy cells too (which is why you very often see cancer patients with no hair, as the chemotherapy affects the cells that hair growth). This type of immunologic therapy could be crucial in preventing tumours before they even form, which would save millions of lives around the globe.

Chemists and those in the related fields study the science of matter and the world around us. They can study from the very large (macroscale), such as the composition of planets and stars in the solar system, to the very small (microscale), such as studying the individual atoms of a substance or cells.

A lot of our time is taken up with experimentation in the lab. We work with a variety of chemicals and equipment to combine chemicals into new, exciting materials used in many peoples’ lives, such as the drugs in your medicine cabinet, to the preservatives in the food you eat, even down to the materials in your gaming consoles. Many of these materials were first synthesised by a chemist in the lab.

But, a chemist’s major concern is being able to produce chemicals in a sustainable way, that is healthy for both other people and the environment (known as green chemistry), but we as consumers have a huge requirement for chemicals in everyday life, and as the population grows and technology advances our need becomes greater. Many industrial chemists have to balance what is needed for what is ethical, and this a big burning issue in chemistry today.

We are always looking for new materials to better fit our needs, and as a result chemists are always sought after. Chemists can work in many fields, including industry, academia, pharmacology, engineering, even down to accounting, banking and patent law, and in a wide variety of areas, such as organic chemistry (chemistry of carbon), inorganic chemistry (chemistry of other elements), physical chemistry (more mathematical chemistry), and analytical chemistry, to name a wide spectrum. Chemists are found just about everywhere you can think of, and chemistry degree is a gateway into a huge variety of careers, it’s skills, can be transferred into just about any job you can think of.

Thank you for reading my post and I hope to speak to you all about the wonders of chemistry very soon.

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