Commendation for Dr David Williams - School of Chemistry
Supervisor: Professor Stephen Mann
Funding: EPSRC Doctoral Training Account
PhD project: Designing self-assembled functional mesocompartments using molecular interactions
David Williams’ thesis is distinguished for its pioneering approach to investigating the design and construction of artificial microscale compartments for use in modeling artificial cellularity. Dave explored a new idea based on the spontaneous formation of membrane-free liquid droplets in water that act as small containers for sequestering chemicals and controlling reactions in confined environments. Using creative experimental designs, his work elucidated the structure and properties of these microscale systems and investigated their relevance for the advance of new soft matter technologies. The thesis work was outstanding in the systematic and clear methodologies developed, the detailed and thorough analysis of the results, and the insightful conclusions drawn. Significantly, David's thesis represents the first example of this new science being developed in Professor Mann’s research group, and as such establishes a challenging precedent for future work.
I was born and raised in the great city of Bristol and I attended St. Mary Redcliffe and Temple School.
I studied Chemistry at Durham University where I was a member of St. John’s College. I spent the final year of my programme at the University of Texas, El Paso. After returning from the U.S.A. my thoughts returned to home and I was very fortunate to be allowed to conduct my PhD at the University of Bristol under the supervision of Professor Stephen Mann.
Bristol has been a fantastic place to do PhD research! The School of Chemistry is a lively and exciting place to be at the present time, with facilities and expertise to match their scientific ambitions. I have benefited from the input of a range of experienced researchers and technical staff from throughout the Faculty of Science and it has helped me as I conduct my research and look to future opportunities.
I am currently employed as a postdoctoral researcher in the Centre for Organized Matter Chemistry with Professor Mann and I am enjoying building upon the work that I performed during my PhD. My long-term ambition is to stay within academia and, in the near future, to find a placement at a European institute to continue developing research themes and gaining new insights into the great world of chemistry!