Interview with Alasdair Clark

Issued: Tue, 29 Oct 2019 16:31:00 GMT

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

It was a toss-up between Formula 1 driver and rock-star. 

Unfortunately I cant hold a tune and I didn’t take driving lessons until I was 30. 

 

When did you join the University of Glasgow?  What were your first impressions?

I joined as a PhD student in 2005 and I have been here ever since. 

I remember being really impressed with the newly-opened JWNC. I felt very lucky that I was able to work in there.

 

What research are you currently working on?

At the moment we have a few active projects going on in the lab. They all revolve around my interest in nano-photonics and nano-fabrication.

We are continuing to work on the nano-scale artificial-tongue. We know it works very well for whisky and now we would like to see if there are applications in other areas.

Another branch of our research is in DNA-origami; using DNA as a programmable, mechanical scaffold for building little devices that couldn’t be made using traditional engineering techniques. This research is particularly exciting for me because having little bits of DNA literally build devices for you feels like technology from a science-fiction movie.

We have also just received 5 years of funding to investigate the mechanisms that govern RNA-splicing. We hope that this research will open up new possibilities for disease therapies.   

 

What keeps you busy outside of academia?

My two daughters. I make sure I leave at 5pm every evening to spend time with them.

Their hobbies are now my hobbies, so I spend lots of time colouring in, building jigsaws, and dressing up as a Disney princess. 

 

What are your current ambitions?

To keep doing research that interests me and hopefully grow my group at the same time. 

 

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party and why?

I don’t want a challenging dinner. I just want people who could tell good stories. I’ll go with Debbie Harry, Iggy Pop, and Bill Murray. 

 

What are favourite things to do in and around Glasgow? (Any restaurant recommendations, walks, places to visit).

When my first child was born we were living near Queens Park. I think it is my favourite park in the city. Its a really pretty park. Good for walking around. There is also a small reptile house inside the park that is great for entertaining children.