Andrew McClure - PGR Profile
In this profile, we'll find out more about Andrew, and his research!
My Career Path so Far
Andrew enrolled in Queen’s in 2013 and graduated from the MSci Chemistry programme in 2017. During that time, Andrew undertook a Master’s project under the supervision of Dr Panagiotis Manesiotis to investigate the valorisation of meat processing industry waste - he enjoyed it so much that after graduating, he began an EPSRC industrial CASE PhD project in the same lab that built on the research carried out during his Master’s degree!
Andrew's current research focuses on the design, synthesis, and application of novel polymeric adsorbents to accomplish the valorisation of food waste arising from industrial food production within the supply chain, particularly through the generation of value-added chemicals.
There are plenty of commercial adsorbents widely available to achieve this goal, but these polymers are not always suitable to every chemical separation problem, which can translate into to higher downstream separation costs within a valorisation process. Therefore, the design and synthesis of adsorbents tailored towards the separation challenge at hand are an attractive proposition. One area Andrew has investigated investigated is the use of Molecularly Imprinted Polymers (MIPs) which are adsorbents containing binding sites with a high affinity and selectivity for a molecule of interest, known as the template. MIPs are synthesised through the pre-assembly of a functional monomer-template complex, which is “frozen” in place through the co-polymerisation of a cross-linker around the complex. Removal of the template generates a cavity which is complementary to the shape, size, and chemical functionality of the molecule, which results in a novel adsorbent capable of selective binding within competitive environments such as agri-food waste.
Additionally, Andrew has a keen interest in is the utilisation of cyclodextrins and their incorporation into polymers. Cyclodextrins are cyclic oligosaccharides, capable of forming strong host-guest interactions in water. The diversity in cross-linkers available to form cyclodextrin polymers is substantial, and the resulting adsorbents are typically inexpensive and relatively easy to make. Andrew's research in this area has focused on the potential role of these adsorbents in the valorisation of agri-food waste, as well as the impact of cross-linker choice in achieving this goal.