Online Research Profile

PhD Showcase – John McBride

johnJohn is a PhD student in the School of Chemical Engineering & Analytical Sciences…

What are you working on now?

For me, nano-materials are fascinating because of how the properties of a material can dramatically change as they start to get really small. Take gold as an example; what colour is it? Well, at least at the macro-scale at room temperature, it’s what you would call gold, or a shade of yellow-orange. However if you look at glass with gold nanoparticles, you should recognize ruby-red stained glass as you’ve seen in churches. In fact, if you change the shape and size of a gold particle you can get it to appear any colour you like.

What first interested you in in your research project?

My initial acquaintance with the study of diabetes was when I worked as a resident in Endocrinology at St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences (SJNAHS), Bangalore. During my practice, I managed several individuals with poorly controlled diabetes mellitus. The high prevalence of this condition was partly attributed to inappropriate lifestyle habits and unawareness of the magnitude of diabetes. In addition, most of these individuals couldn’t afford standard management and therefore succumbed to the adverse outcomes of longstanding hyperglycaemia. The adverse nature of diabetes encompasses a host of complications that affects almost every system in the body thereby contributing to increased morbidity and mortality in these people.

Does your research have any applications outside of your field?

My field is innately inter-disciplinary, so yes, of course. This is especially evident when you consider my work as a branch of materials design and start to ask, what do the materials do? Well there are photonic materials, which let us manipulate light in the way a semiconductor lets us control electrons. Then looking at the area of bio-interfaces: new nano-materials may be used as smart drug-delivery capsules; or 3D scaffolds for use in tissue-engineering.

How would you describe your project to somebody outside of your research area?

Scientists can now make nano-scale 3D structures out of nano-lego. I’m playing around with different shapes of nano-lego to see how they fit together.

Get in touch with John on Twitter @JohnMcScience

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