Dr. Gareth Price graduated from the University of Bath with 1st class Honours and a PhD in Physical Chemistry. After postdoctoral research in Toronto, Canada, he was appointed to a lectureship in chemistry at City University, London in 1986. He transferred to the University of Bath in 1988 and was promoted to Professor in 2009. He served as Head of the Department of Chemistry for 6 years and Associate Dean (Learning & Teaching) for a further 6 years.
His main research interests are in the synthesis, characterisation and application of new polymers and nanoparticles and in particular the use of high intensity ultrasound to control their structure. He serves on the editorial boards of the journals Ultrasonics Sonochemistry and Polymer International. Outside the University he has been involved in the accreditation of degree programmes with the Royal Society of Chemistry where he was elected President of the Education Division. He is a Senior Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy and was part of the team involved in writing the successful ‘Chemistry3’ OUP undergraduate textbook, now in its 3rd edition.
My research interests fall into several categories with a common theme of the preparation, characterization and application of polymers with controlled structure and properties. A particular specialism is the use of high-intensity ultrasound in chemistry – “sonochemistry”.
We have published a number of papers investigating the effects of ultrasound on polymers in solution and this led to us applying ultrasound to a range of synthetic methods for polymers, a continuing interest for us. A lack of fundamental information on the processes led to a number of studies applying physical (acoustic emission) and chemical (product analysis, radical trapping) methods to give information on reaction mechanisms. This remains an interest, particularly from the point of view of elucidating the effect of ultrasound frequency. This fundamental work helps us in our applications of sonochemistry, for example in waste treatment and water purification, and the production of new materials. The method is readily applied to manufacture microcapsules contain active compounds (pharmaceutical, agrochemical, catalysts) which can be delivered in response to some external stimulus (pH, temperature, shear). Sonochemical production of noble metal nanoparticles is common and we have been investigating gold catalysis and the use of magnetic iron oxide particles functionalised with polymers or related species.
Related to the sonochemical work is that involving modern methods of polymer synthesis. We developed the capability to perform controlled radical polymerization (RAFT, ATRP) methods and have applied it to making copolymers with accurately predictable and controllable properties. The most recent application has been to produce polymers that are used to extract lipids to form ‘nanodiscs’ which can be used to study protein-lipid interactions.