Dr Alice Motion, with her PhD and chemistry lecturing gig at the University of Sydney, is on a mission to make science something everyone can enjoy.
Alice began her studies in the UK, emigrating to Australia as a postdoctoral researcher at the Open Source Malaria consortium.
It’s here that Alice started Breaking Good, the extra-curricular project for high schoolers and undergrads from around the world that breaks new ground in chemistry.
“It shows the students that they have great skills. They’re not just following a recipe, they’re creating something new and they feel the thrill of being part of a research team,” Alice says.
The program received a lot of publicity when Alice led a team of students to recreate the drug ‘Daraprim’, originally developed for treatment of malaria, but more commonly used for treatment of toxoplasmosis. “Toxoplasmosis is largely innocuous – almost one-third of the population carry this parasite, but in people with HIV/AIDS it can be really dangerous,” says Alice.
You might remember when American businessman Martin Shkreli bought the rights to produce Daraprim through his company Turing Pharmaceuticals in 2015, and hiked the price from $13.50 to $750 per pill overnight.
“We thought, let’s show that you can make this medicine very cheaply and that high school students can be the ones to do it,” Alice says.
Alice hopes to inspire more than just her classroom full of students. She’s bringing science to the masses by performing chem talks at Splendour in the Grass music festival, hosting a weekly science spot on FBi radio and recording many an awesome podcast.
“I want everyone, whether they’re scientists or artists or musicians, to feel like science belongs to them, that they can connect with it in some way,” she says.
Tune in to Dr Alice Motion:
• In Sydney: FBi radio (94.5FM) Tuesdays at 8:15am to hear Alice’s weekly science spot, ‘Up and Atom’.
• Or search: ‘Dear Science’ or ‘Up and Atom’ on your podcasts app.
Dr Alice Motion’s pathway
> > MChem in Medicinal Chemistry with Industrial Year, University of Leeds
> > Lecturer in Chemical Education and Outreach, University of Sydney
“I want everyone, whether they’re scientists or artists or musicians, to feel like science belongs to them, that they can connect with it in some way.”
Author: Eliza Brockwell
Eliza is the Digital Producer for Careers with STEM. Eliza is passionate about creating content that encourages diversity of representation in STEM.