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Dr Alex Baker

Research Interests

Alex is the lead of the Baker Humanitarian Chemistry Group. Our research is focused on creating and developing chemical solutions to humanitarian challenges impacting marginalised groups

The Group has three key aims;

  1. Improve the quality of life of marginalised groups through exploring and developing solutions to chemical and biological challenges
  2. Develop international collaborations for the benefit of marginalised groups
  3. Raise awareness of humanitarian challenges

The Group has three current focuses;

  1. Develop diagnostic platforms stable in a wide range of conditions, for a wide range of applications, for under $1 USD
  2. Understand the chemical and biological challenges of snake envenomation as a WHO Neglected Tropical Disease
  3. Raise awareness of Neglected Tropical Diseases

Scientific Inspiration

Margaret Crane – she invented the home pregnancy test despite massive sexist opposition, her work positively changed the lives of millions around the world. Jonas Salk – he saw the humanitarian value of his research and always saw his job as helping society.


Supervision Style

In three words or phrases: Healthy work life balance, collaborative, and goal driven

Provision of Training

I enjoy helping students grow into their research. This can mean we spend time working together in the lab early in the project until the student is comfortable and understands the techniques. My aim is to help students become independent researchers who problem solve and take ownership of their research and its direction. How long this takes varies from person to person, but my goal remains the same – support great people to become great well-rounded researchers. This means that failure is 100% acceptable as a learning experience in my lab. I went through MIBTP myself so understand wider training provision available too.

Progression Monitoring and Management

I like to be kept updated on progress with agreed and realistic goals. But these goals must work with the student and their wider (healthy) growth as a person and researcher. I do push students to achieve their full potential both in their research and beyond, by encouraging my students to teach and engage the public.

Communication

I try and respect a 9-5 work week, sometimes I get too excited about a student’s new data and email outside these hours, but I don’t expect a response outside of work hours. I discourage students from working outside these hours (unless the student wants flexibility) – I want all students to have a good and healthy work-life balance. The group uses Slack for communicating alongside email. I like to meet students regularly to have a catch-up and see how they are doing – this includes providing pastoral support. My office is always open to students for a chat. We have more formal monthly 1-2-1 meetings too, alongside a weekly group meeting.

PhD Students can expect scheduled meetings with me:

In a group meeting

At least once per week

In year 1 of PhD study

At least once per month

In year 2 of PhD study

At least once per month

In year 3 of PhD study

At least once per month


These meetings will usually be face to face. I am usually contactable for an instant response on every working day.

Working Patterns

The timing of work in my lab is completely flexible, and (other than attending pre-arranged meetings), I expect students to manage their own time.

Notice Period for Feedback

I need at least 1 week’s notice to provide feedback on written work of up to 5000 words.