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Meet the Hello Bio Team: Dr Huw Davies

Meet the Hello Bio Team: Dr Huw Davies
By Sam Roome 4 months ago 750 Views No comments

In our new blog post series, we're introducing you to the entire Hello Bio team, so you can get to know us a bit better. We’re a team of scientists (and friends!) who care passionately about supporting life scientists.

Today, let's take a peek at Dr. Huw Davies, our Director of Commercial Operations!

So Huw, did you always want to be a scientist when you were younger?

I suppose I did, yes - although at various times my interests ranged from pathology to mathematics, and then to IT, before finally settling on chemistry.

What made you pursue a career in the life sciences?

I’ve always been interested in figuring out how drugs work and the effect they have on the human body. I think this is what ultimately led me to become an organic chemist and accept my first job at Pfizer.

What was your PhD in?

The title of my thesis is “The synthesis and use of heterocycles in organocatalysis”. Not something you can say easily after a few drinks! The concept was the development of an environmentally friendly way of catalyzing chemical reactions without the need to use any heavy metals.


What advice would you give someone just starting their PhD?

Don’t be afraid to be wrong, and don’t be worried about saying I don’t know. There will be times when you are asked something that you simply can’t answer – don’t see it as a problem, use it as a way to expand your knowledge. Most academics don’t try and trap you with a question, they want you to help them to understand why you’re performing the research you are. In my experience a question asked of me was invariably about how what I was doing could help further existing research.


What did you enjoy most about your PhD?

The social life. I also enjoyed being around some of the smartest people I have ever met – and I don’t just mean the academic staff. But mostly the social life!


If you weren't a scientist what do you think you would be doing?

I’d have probably entered the family business – my father’s family ran a hill farm and a family butchers in the village where I grew up.


What is it about life science that gets you most excited?

The challenges – we live in a time that has some massive challenges to human beings. A lot of these challenges are being worked on by life scientists around the world – think dementia, cancer, obesity. These are worthy challenges to try and tackle and I love playing a small part in tackling them.


Which scientists working today do you admire and why?

I admire scientists in general as I don’t believe that science is given the attention and respect it deserves by the general public – the words geek and nerd are prime examples. Science and scientists have a far bigger influence on the way we live our lives than they are given credit for. Everyone on the planet has something to thank science for, whether it’s the drug that saves their life or the phone that’s glued to their hand 24/7, scientists have had a part to play.


What is your favourite scientist joke?

Q. “What are Cations afraid of?”

A. “Dogions!”


What’s your favourite science quote?

My favourite quote comes from JFK’s speech about the Apollo space program in 1962 “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard “. It’s not specifically a science quote but I think it sums up at least part of the reason most scientists become scientists. We don’t think that taking the easy way out and doing things the same as they’ve always been done is the way to advance our understanding – we have to push boundaries and pushing boundaries is never easy.


What do you think is the greatest scientific discovery of all time?

Antibiotics – without antibiotics our world would be a far more inhospitable place to live in. I also think that the way we’ve used and continue to use antibiotics will lead us back into that inhospitable world if we can’t find an alternative to the current crop of antibiotics.


What do you enjoy most about working for Hello Bio?

The variety of what I do on a day to day basis. One day I might be helping out with weighing products to put into stock and the next I may be following up a custom synthesis quote from a customer, or planning projects,and budgets for the next few months, or even devising strategies for the next few years. I really am happy not to be stuck doing the same thing day in, day out!