Dr Alice Williamson is a research chemist, lecturer and science communicator based at the University of Sydney. Originally from the North West of England, Alice completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge, where she worked with colleagues to develop two new reactions.
Alice moved to Australia to take up a position as the principal synthetic chemist for the Open Source Malaria (OSM) consortium. OSM is pioneering open source drug discovery and are trying to prove science is better and more efficient when all data and results are shared. The team won’t patent any of their findings and publish all their work online in real time so anyone can access the research. Alice makes new medicines in the lab, helps to coordinate the international team and encourages people to join the project. She sets up unusual collaborations with high school students and undergraduates, who have made new drugs designed to kill the malaria parasite.
Alice also lectures in chemistry and is an avid science communicator. In 2015, she was named one of ABC RN and UNSW’s ‘Top 5 Under 40’ in recognition of her passion for sharing science stories. She is an active participant in science outreach events across Sydney and has a weekly science slot on FBi breakfast radio.
Today, she plans to outline a new model of drug discovery aimed at delivering medicines at lower costs and in shorter time frames: open source drug discovery. In particular, she will focus on the ways in which we can mobilise groups of scientists who are currently underutilised. Students can make meaningful contributions to important research by Breaking Good under the guidance of experienced teachers.