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Dr Andrew Surman

Dr Andrew Surman

  • Academics

Lecturer in Chemical Biology

Research subject areas

  • Chemistry

Contact details

Biography

Andrew obtained his first degree (MSci Chemistry) from King’s College, London. He enjoyed his final year research project in a supramolecular chemistry research lab so much, he decided to spend more time in the lab by pursuing a PhD. Under the guidance of Prof. Ramon Vilar, he worked on ‘smart’ contrast agents for medical imaging – responsive probes meant as tools to understand what is happening in complex biological systems – starting at the Catalan Institute of Chemical Research (ICIQ, Tarragona), before moving to Imperial College, London, to complete his thesis.

After this, he moved to Plaxica: a company set up to establish new industrial methods for producing ‘next generation’ recyclable plastics from renewable resources. After nearly three years – as Plaxica progressed from a concept to planning a pilot plant – and a lot of different research areas (biocatalytic chiral resolution, sugar/formose systems chemistry, separations science), he returned to academic research. After a brief period working on self-assembled nanostructures at the University of Puerto Rico, he moved to the University of Glasgow, to work in Prof Lee Cronin’s ‘Complex Chemical Systems Group. In Glasgow he worked on a wide variety of projects, encompassing analytical, inorganic, and organic chemistry, and led a team looking into how life can emerge from simple chemistry.

In late 2018, Andrew returned to the Department of Chemistry at King’s as a Lecturer. 

Research Interests

Andrew’s interests are broad. One common thread is Supramolecular Chemistry – the chemistry of non-covalent interactions, or “playing Lego with molecules”. Another is developing different approaches to analyse & manipulate very heterogeneous (difficult, horribly messy) chemistries – be they synthetic, biological, or ‘bio-mimetic’. He is particularly keen on automation – of both lab work (synthesis, analysis), and data-handling (scripting for processing big data sets) – for the labour it saves, and new opportunities it offers.

His work addresses questions in Systems Chemistry, how living systems/’life-like’ systems can develop from chemistry (the Origin of Life), and practical challenges concerning real-world inhomogeneous materials.