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Alex Ashall Kelly

Research chemist for Novartis

"I am now working for Novartis in London. I‘m working in drug discovery at the GDC there, which is fantastic and exactly what I want to do"
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David Greenwell

Senior Chemist for Johnson Matthey

David Greenwell studied for both his degree and PhD at the University of Leeds. On graduating in 2003 David joined Johnson Matthey and we caught up with him to find out a bit more about what he is up to these days.

Can you describe your current job?
In my role as Senior Chemist at Johnson Matthey I work in a team responsible for the development of new products that are designed to reduce the level of harmful emissions produced by petrol and diesel powered vehicles. Our customers (vehicle manufacturers) are required to meet emissions legislations set out by different regulatory bodies across the world. We apply our range of technologies to satisfy each scenario. My work involves not only practical R&D into the development of the new catalyst formulations, but also the presentation of project results and new products to our customers. We cover all areas of development from the preparation of catalyst samples to emissions testing on vehicles. Also we have a comprehensive analytical department where we can screen new raw materials for activity, and study the physical properties of samples to identify deactivation characteristics. Such information helps us design the next generation of products. As an international company we cover all areas of the globe. Much of my time is spent travelling to Europe, but I have also been lucky enough to spend time in places such as India, China, and Korea. This is something I would have never imagined a career in chemistry would allow me to do.

Why are your products important to society?
Johnson Matthey made the first automotive catalysts back in 1974 and since then we have made huge advances in emissions control technology. In Europe and North American there are now very few problems associated with the pollutants produced by vehicles in our major cities and towns and catalysts play a massive part in this. Applying these technologies in developing countries such as China and India is important to ensure they enjoy cleaner air.

What’s the best bit about your job?
I am lucky that my main interests outside of work are all things relating to cars and bikes, and my job allows me to practice my chemistry skills and hobbies everyday. We sometimes get exciting projects to work on relating to the development of new engines that are several years away from being released to the buying public. Also I love the opportunities it gives me to travel.