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Gibson Group: Alex Baker


Alex grew up in Essex, attending Westcliff High School for Boys for his GCSEs and A-Levels (Biology, Chemistry, Physics and History). He recieved his first class undergraduate masters degree in Chemical Biology from the University of Warwick Department of Chemistry. His final masters year thesis focused on glycosylation systems in prokaryotes as homologues of eukaryotes, under the supervision of Dr. M. Tosin. This work involved structural and functional studies utilising site-directed mutagenesis and activity assays.

Alex began his PhD under the supervision of Prof. M. Gibson in 2017 with industrial collaborators Iceni Diagnostics. The PhD is funded by Iceni Diagnostics and the BBRSC as an MIBTP iCase studentship and split between the Department of Chemistry and School of Life Sciences.

Since October 2017, Alex has been a member of the Postgraduate Student Staff Liason Committee for Chemistry and an MIBTP student representative for the University of Warwick iCase programme. In November 2017, Alex became the Postgraduate Research Representative for the Faculty of Science at the Univeristy of Warwick and was elected in March 2018 to represent the newly formed Faculty of Science, Engineering and Medicine. He has a particular interest in improving student mental health, encouraging faculty outreach and raising the profile of teaching.

Alex has undertaken a three month mini-project (January-March, 2018) at the University of Birmingham in the research group of Dr. F. Fernandez-Trillo. The project focused on producing glycopolymers for lectin agglutiniation studies.

Research Interests

The development of glycan-based nanoparticles for point of care diagnostics and the synthesis of novel small molecules and sugars.


In progress

Outreach and Public Engagement

Alex enjoys running and particpating in outreach activities for all ages, some examples are listed below;

  • Demonstrating for primary school, GCSE, AS and A-Level students in the undergraduate teaching laboratories with Nick Barker.
  • Founding and running the Think Science™ conference for two years. The conferences encouraged over 500 A-Level and GCSE students to see the diveristy of current research and to consider studying STEM subjects. Shortlisted as Best Summit, Conference or Forum in 2017 by the University of Warwick Students Union.
  • Speaking to 300 young people and parents on the importance of non-clinical research to the health sector and why it is a viable career alternative to Medicine
  • Running the ChemSoc Outreach program, as Outreach Officer (2014-2015), aimed at sparking a love of the Sciences in primary school students. He was awarded the Warwick Volunteers Certificate for this work.
  • Carrying out various talks and careers days in secondary schools to encourage GCSE and A-Level students to pursue a degree in the Sciences.
  • Organising and running an annual 3-day science track at a summer club for primary school children.

A demonstration of "Elephant's Toothpaste" to over 400 people on the final morning of the summer club

  • Refurbishing labs and teaching Science at Solidarity International Academy, Nepal.

Teaching Commitments

  • Demonstrating a first year Chemistry introductory lab session on FTIR and NMR spectroscopy, focusing on how to analyse real spectral data.
  • Demonstrating first year biochemistry labs in Chemistry for first year students from Life Sciences.
  • Assisting in spectra workshops for 2nd year students focusing on analysing NMR spectra.
  • Running various student lead classes in Chemical Biology, Organic Chemistry, NMR and "Biology for Chemists".


Oral Presentations:

In Progress

Poster Presentations:

Can a Historic Reaction Deliver Novel Sugars for Future Diagnostics - MIBTP Poster Session 2018


  • Faculty Representative of the Year Award

"For having worked tirelessly to promote and amplify the research student voice’, within both the university and the SU. He has successfully formed and maintained partnerships with academic colleagues and has more than deserved this award" - Warwick SU


Royal Society of Biology: Associate Member (AMRSB)

Royal Society of Chemistry: Associate Member (AMRSC)

Biochemical Society: Postgraduate Student Member

Grants and Bursaries

In Progress

Other Interests

Outside of his research, Alex enjoys playing hockey, watching Scottish Rugby and the Green Bay Packers, films, tech, history and attempting to learn French.

Poster photo


University of Warwick

MChem in Chemical Biology