I was born near a city called Wolverhampton in the Black Country but spent most of my youth in the small village of Wickersley near Rotherham in South Yorkshire. I graduated from The University of Hull in 2004 with an upper second MChem in Drug Design and Toxicology. I enjoyed Hull so much I decided to stay for a further 3 years to carry out my PhD under the supervision of Dr. Georg Mehl and Dr. Ross Boyle. My thesis entitled "Design and investigation of porphyrin containing liquid crystals" was completed in 2.5 years and defended with Dr. Mike Hird and Prof. Michael J. Cook. It was at the University of Hull that I met my wife Daniela when she joined our lab as a Marie Curie fellow from Gh. Asachi Technical University of Iasi Romania in the winter of my first year as a grad student. We married in the summer of 2006 and following my graduation we moved to the University of Pennsylvania in August 2007 where we are both currently research scholars in the group of Prof. Virgil Percec.
Hobbies and Interests
My first hobby was horse riding at the stables of Ronnie Massarella who for 30 years coached the British show jumping team. My first job was working on a Saturday as a stable boy. I have many fond memories of this place and of the people who worked there.
I was fortunate enough to attend a secondary school with a vibrant music department where I learnt to play the trumpet, cornet and saxophone. I played in the school band for 5 years and moved to play for Whiston Brass Band as 1st Cornet following this. Whiston Brass rehearses in the historic Manorial barn (the oldest example of an agricultural building in the country) in the village of Whiston. I enjoy playing and listening to all types of music. Three pieces of music which are very close to my heart for various reasons are Haydn's trumpet concerto The Blue Bells of Scotland (and Studies based there on) and Concerto de Aranjuez affectionately known as Orange Juice.
A Celebration of music by St Bernards Co-Op Brass Band.
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For a few years my father and I owned a wooden hulled Enterprise class sailing dinghy named "And Pigs Might Fly". At the Ulley sailing club we managed to sail it (and sink it) a fair few times eventually I hope to find some time to buy and restore an old wooden boat.
Before meeting my wife Daniela I had little idea of what a wonderful country Romania is, since we have been together I have come to love Romania as my second country where I have been welcomed and made to feel at home. Romania is often misrepresented in the press of Western Europe who hang on to its incredibly brief communist history. Instead Romania is a country filled with beautiful countryside and towns and villages steeped in culture and history in fact Sibiu was the 2007 European city of culture. Romania boasts some of the most beautiful churches in all of Europe set in the most idyllic locations. I have never slept so well and eaten so heartily as I do in Romania.
I have for a long time toyed with various illustration packages but recently I have had the opportunity to expand my skills into some scientific illustration. I have been able to spend a limited amount of my time at work in polishing my Illustration skills and have produced a number of illustrations for publication. Here you can see a few of my illustrations from Chemical Reviews and Journal of the American Chemical Society (Please note the image resolution has been reduced to reduce load times). All images are copyright 2009 American Chemical Society.
Copyright 2009 American Chemical Society
As so many people put computing as an interest I suppose I should jump on the bandwagon and sing my little song. In fact I enjoy learning about new technologies and developments in computer technology for one simple purpose. I want to be employable and as a scientist computer technology is a key asset to storing and processing the vast amounts of data generated in modern science. I view a computer as a tool which allows me to carry out my research in an efficient manner regardless of the operating system make or model of the hardware. I try to keep on top of the latest developments and their applicability. I have been fortunate enough to be given responsibility for maintaining certain systems computer systems and instruments during both my PhD and post doc which has allowed me to build on my interests and develop a strong foundation in the running of Windows and Macintosh computers and to gain a wide knowledge of the working of many *NIX based operating systems such as Linux, BSD (OS X), IRIX (Silicon Graphics) and UNIX (AIX).
Molecular Modelling and HPC
Stemming from my interests in computer technology has been my interest in molecular modelling along with my interest in high performance computing (HPC). I have had varying degrees of involvement in setting up and running modelling services using various open source and free software packages on systems ranging from my own desktop and lab multi core systems with PCGAMESS and GAMESS (US) on WEBMO to compiling configuring MPQC to run on Hull Universities 64 node LINUX based HPC "Eagle"
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