I Want a Chemputer for Christmas

I’ve been reading about 3D printing.  It’s possible to manufacture stuff right on your desktop.  But I can’t get too excited about making my own paper clips.  To me that seems as silly as growing your own tomatoes.  The fact that 3D printing will someday gut the manufacturing sector of our nation is a topic for another time.  But think about that the next time you hear a politician say, “America must get back to what it does best – making things.”

Now I’ve learned of the “chemputer.”  It may be a next “big thing” in healthcare.  Put down the legos and never mind the paper clips.  With a chemputer you will be able to make your own pharmaceuticals.  No, not just meth or synthetic pot.  We’re talking real drugs. And combined with advances in genomics they could be specifically made for you and your unique biology.

The protagonist in this story is not some goofball sitting in his parent’s basement.  His name is Leroy Cronin.  He has a Ph.D. and is Gardner Professor of Chemistry, Head of Research, EPSRC Advanced Research Fellow, Royal Society/Wolfson Foundation Merit Award Holder, University of Glasgow (UK).  He is 39 years old, works with 45 research associates and believes that a good work day begins with a cup of coffee and a crazy idea.  Imagine having coffee with this fellow.  Now imagine what the world will be like when we can make our own drugs.

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