A level Chemistry Tutor – Greg Barker
Greg holds an MChem in Chemistry from the University of York. Before joining MPW Cambridge, as an A level Chemistry tutor in the Autumn of 2019, Greg worked in Medicinal Chemistry within the pharmaceutical and drug discovery industry. Outside of MPW, Greg is a qualified Run Leader and manages local running clubs.
Synthesis of P-Stereogenic Compounds via Kinetic Deprotonation and Dynamic Thermodynamic Resolution of Phosphine Sulfides: Opposite Sense of Induction Using (−)-Sparteine – J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2010, 132 (39), pp 13922–13927 – view the publication.
1,2,4-Triazolo-[1,5-ɑ]pyridine HIF Prolylhydroxylase Domain-1 (PHD-1) Inhibitors With A Novel Monodentate Binding Interaction – J. Med. Chem., 2017, 60 (13), pp 5663-5672 – view the publication.
Tell us about the pharmaceutical and drug discovery industry.
In drug discovery, there is a range of specialised chemists.
Synthetic Chemists – Based in a lab environment, these chemists carry out chemical reactions to synthesise brand new molecules. These molecules are not naturally occurring, so to be the first person in history to make these molecules is a hugely satisfying achievement. There are not many jobs out there where every day you create something unique.
Medicinal Chemists – Responsible for the design of new molecules to act as a new drug. They need to be potent, reach the biological site of interest, execute the desired therapeutic effect and of course, have as few side effects as possible.
Analytical Chemists – Molecules cannot be seen by the naked eye; analysis is required on a sub-microscopic scale. For this, a range of sensitive analytical instruments are needed, and specialised analytical chemists look after them to keep the drug discovery process running.
Why Chemistry and Teaching for you?
It’s what I’ve always enjoyed. I’ve enjoyed drawing molecules and fitting them together, it can be seen as a bit of a jigsaw; it is a very logical subject with a puzzle element to it. If you love games, you’ll love chemistry.
Sharing knowledge and building a greater love of chemistry has been extremely satisfying these last couple of years.
What has been the best thing about working at MPW?
Smaller class sizes result in a deeper learning environment. With bigger classes students can get overlooked. But this doesn’t happen at MPW Cambridge. With a maximum class size of nine, every student receives a personalised learning experience. No one gets left behind.
Any tips for MPW students looking to study and work in Chemistry?
Chemistry is one of those subjects where you will never know everything, and you will keep learning. My tip is always ask questions. Even the best chemists still ask questions. Never be worried about asking questions, it’s the secret of becoming a top scientist.