Tag Archives: Stereoselectivity

Bob Holt, Biocatalysis Director, Piramal Healthcare

Bob Holt 2

  • BSc in biochemistry from Bath University (1981)
  • PhD in metabolic control of the acetone/butanol fermentation from University of Wales (1984)
  • Post-doctoral research in biocatalysis at University of Wales (1984-88). 
  • Senior biocatalysis research scientist, ICI (1988-1993)
  • Biocatalysis R&D Manager, Zeneca Lifescience Molecules (1993-1999)
  • Biocatalysis Director, Avecia Pharmaceuticals (1999-2005)
  • Biocatalysis Director, Piramal Healthcare (2005-present)

1. Why did you decide to do a webinar with Business Review Webinars?

A webinar offers the opportunity to access a diverse, global audience in a way that is very efficient for both the presenter and the audience.

2. How did you get into the industry?

My interests in how biological systems function motivated my academic choices at university and stimulated my interest in enzyme catalysis.  It was a small step from there to imagine how the properties of Nature’s catalysts might be employed to perform interesting chemistry with non-natural compounds.  The opportunity to join Britain’s largest chemical company in 1988 provided an opportunity for me to apply my knowledge in an industrial setting and make a real contribution to the economy and society.

3. What do you most enjoy about your role?

The multi-disciplinary nature of industrial biocatalysis means interacting with scientists from a range of disciplines from microbiology and genetic engineering through synthetic and analytical chemistry through to process engineering and manufacturing; this provides endless stimulation and a continuing opportunity to interact with and learn from teams across the whole of the company.

4. What has been your best holiday and where would you recommend visiting?

Recommending a holiday destination is a dangerous thing as people have very different preferences but I enjoy getting away from the crowds and walking in the hills and mountains so that I can  enjoy the natural landscape.

5. What motivates you?

I am driven by a need to understand how things work but over-laid on that is a need to then do something useful with that knowledge; applying enzymes to solve difficult synthetic chemistry problems addresses both of these motivations.  I am also driven by a desire to share my knowledge of biology and chemistry with others both through lecturing at university but also amongst friends and family whose understanding of biology and chemistry is often extremely poor and adversely influenced by articles in the mainstream press.

Bob will be presenting Piramal Healthcare’s webinar ‘Doing Difficult Chemistry by Harnessing Biology‘ on the 16th July. Register here.