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Jeremy Just

School of Chemistry
Simple frog, or complex chemical factory?

Who am I?
My name is Jeremy Just, I am 21 years old and recently completed my Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Tasmania (UTAS), majoring in Synthetic Chemistry and Microbiology/Immunology. Having had a strong interest in the physical sciences since primary school, it seemed only fitting to start a science degree at university after I finished year 12. It was there that I developed a strong interest in human biology and microbiology, as well as the chemistry I always enjoyed. I have studied many different things apart from my majors at various levels during my degree, including pharmacology, toxicology, physics, zoology, biochemistry and even German.

What do I do?
I am currently working as a research assistant in the School of Chemistry at UTAS, continuing some research work from my undergraduate days. My current project is working with pyrrole (a type of organic molecule) based chemicals. Pyrrole based compounds are soured from a wide range of natural biological sources and part of my research is figuring out how to synthesise these from scratch in the laboratory or convert them into new compounds altogether. Some the molecules which I have successfully created in the lab were originally found in some frogs and ants.

What are my plans for the future?
I am hoping next year to be involved with the Questacon Science Circus which tours around Australia presenting science to schools. This is combined with an Associate Degree in Science Communication, which would be a great launching pad into the field of science communication – perhaps I'll be a presenter on the ABC TV show Catalyst?

What do I love about science?
One of the best things I have found about science is teaching it to others, and watching as they develop an interest and are amazed by the same things that amazed me as a student. In the chemistry lab, the best thing is when you discover you have created a chemical compound which there is no record of anyone having ever made it before!

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