Chester Martin Vera

(Medicinal Chemistry, Hons 2011)

After completing my HSC in 2006, I enrolled into UNSW in 2007 initially undertaking a double degree (Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Science) in the hopes of becoming a high school chemistry teacher. After my first teaching practical however I found myself disenchanted with education and decided to focus on the science component of my degree, undertaking a project-based course for a semester. This course highlighted my passion for research and prompted me to pursue an Honours degree in Chemistry in 2011.

During my Honours year I conducted a synthesis-based project utilizing both solid-phase and liquid-phase techniques to synthesise macrocyclic peptides. I had the opportunity to experience both the highs and lows that come with research, learn how to manage my own project and effectively communicate the outcomes of my work.

My Honours year was a fantastic experience at the end of which I decided it was time to leave academia and put my newfound skills to use in industry. The chromatography experience I had gained proved very useful and I was employed by Phenomenex Australia as a Research Scientist in May of 2012. My main role was to perform method development and research for High Performance Liquid Chromatography and Supercritical Fluid Chromatography applications. I was employed at Phenomenex for 3 years and during that time I constantly drew back on the lessons I had learnt from my Honours year about the struggles and rewards of research.

In March 2015 I returned to academia and I am currently undertaking a PhD at the Western Sydney University, Parramatta researching Separation, Selectivity and Scale up in Supercritical Fluid Chromatography.

Although some time has passed since my years as an undergraduate student at UNSW, my chemistry degree and experience there has given me the opportunity to be where I am today and continues to serve as a reminder of why I have chosen to pursue a career in chemistry and research.