We are delighted to welcome our txt curator, Dr Martin Stoermer/@MartinStoermer, a physical organic chemist with a special interest in medicinal chemistry, Senior Research Officer at the University of Queensland, Australia. Martin’s journey through science is an unusual one, and we are pleased to bring you his perspectives and story. We asked Martin our usual set of questions, and here he is in his own words.
I always knew I would end up in Science, it was just a question of which branch. As a child I was fascinated by nature and space (I dodged school the day of the first moon landing), but I was ultimately drawn to chemistry. Probably by the middle of high school I knew that it would be my career. I cannot stress enough how important school science teachers are, and how inspirational they can be.
I love the fact that we as chemists can choose from a molecular toolkit of molecules and building blocks and make new things. Compounds that have never existed before. And that we can design them to do good by the human race. What keeps me here? Science moves ahead constantly, the boundaries keep shifting, and the challenges and rewards keep coming along with it.
So I am a traditionally trained synthetic organic chemist who has crossed over into medicinal chemistry with a current focus on computer-aided drug design. I like the combination of designing things, and actually then making them, and then testing them in biological systems, either all by myself or as part of an interdisciplinary team. I’m a firm believer in the theory that you have to know the limitations of both bench and theory!
Motivation: why should the lay public care about your research/work?
Because we always need new medicines for emerging and current untreatable or poorly treated diseases and infections. Chemists have traditionally fulfilled the role of delivering these new medicines, and despite the rise of biological medicine such as immunotherapy, will continue to be critical especially in parts of the world where cheaper small molecule therapies are a focus.
I am recovering from Leukemia. As a scientist with cancer I have now known what it’s like at the bench designing drugs, and to be the patient, wanting to be “cured”
In my spare time I’m a keen amateur genealogist, researching my family tree and also occasionally poking into the family history of famous scientists.
Ideal Day Off:
Spending the day wandering the dusty shelves of libraries, looking at old maps of the world and the cosmos, whilst imagining a physical manifestation of Terry Pratchett’s L-Space where all libraries are joined together by the fabric of space and time.
Please welcome Martin to Real Scientists!