Up next in Meet the YCG is Alex Cousen! Alex is our Industrial Group (IG) representative and the second in our mini series to introduce our group reps. Just a reminder that Meet the YCG is a weekly series of interviews with YCG members starting with the committee.
PhD researcher for the EPSRC Future Manufacturing Hub in Continuous Crystallisation and Advanced Crystallisation, based at the University of Bath
What do you currently research?
Development of novel multi-component materials (co-crystals, salts, etc.) for enhanced pharmaceutical performance for end-patient use or during the manufacturing process. Specifically, my research focusses on developing novel multi-component materials for the selective crystallisation of chiral pharmaceuticals.
What is your favourite thing about being a crystallographer?
Crystallography is an amazing area of science. There are few disciplines where you can observe and rationalise the structure, understand how materials are constructed, whilst still being able to physically see the beauty of the crystals themselves.
Who, or what, inspires you to do science?
My roots in Crystallography, and science in general, take me way back. If pushed, I would pin my interest down to two people and a distinctly 90s TV programme. The first of these was my chemistry teacher at secondary school. “Sir”, as I then called him, really made chemistry come alive. He explained the subject so well and really had a passion for the subject, which is hard to find these days. The second figure is that of Michael Faraday. From humble beginnings, he rose to the top of the scientific world, making key discovers in a range of areas, but, and most importantly, he never forgot his roots. Finally, my scientific career would never have taken off, if it hadn’t been for the 90s kid’s programme ‘HOW 2’. If you have never seen it, go watch it now. It opened up the world of science and engineering to kids, and no doubt inspired many like me.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to anyone starting out in scientific research?
Work hard, take every opportunity you can, but always make sure that you love what you do!
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
In my spare time, I am a keen hiker. I love nothing more than going for a long walk in the Lake District on a warm summer’s day (or in torrential rain come to think of it). I love my rugby, a passionate Sale Sharks fan, and do enjoy a pint or two in the pub with my mates. Currently trying to learn to salsa dance… baby steps.