Peter Cormack was raised in Fankerton, a small village situated in the upper reaches of the Carron Valley in Stirlingshire, Scotland, and was schooled in nearby Denny (at Denny High School). He graduated from the University of Strathclyde as BSc with First Class Honours in Chemistry in 1992, and gained undergraduate and postgraduate industrial research experience with Raychem Ltd. in Swindon, UK, working on high-performance, thermoplastic polymers for the aerospace industry. Electing to remain at Strathclyde to pursue his scientific interests further, he worked towards a PhD under the guidance of Professor David C. Sherrington and Dr Barry D. Moore, graduating in July 1996. His PhD work, sponsored by Merck Ltd. and the SERC, focussed upon the design and solid-phase synthesis of monodisperse liquid crystalline peptides and polypeptides.
In February 1996, Peter moved to the University of Cambridge to take up a position as Post-Doctoral Research Associate in the Melville Laboratory for Polymer Synthesis, working with Dr Joachim H.G. Steinke on the synthesis of hyperbranched polymers. He then moved to Lund University, Sweden, in March 1997, to work with Professor Klaus Mosbach in the area of molecularly imprinted polymers, initially as a Post-Doctoral Fellow within the Department of Pure & Applied Biochemistry (Tillämpad Biokemi) and latterly as Vice-Director of Research in the Center for Molecular Imprinting and Molecular Recognition.
In September 1998, Peter returned to the Department of Pure & Applied Chemistry at Strathclyde to take up a position as Lecturer in Polymer Chemistry, a position that was sponsored by ICI for the first three years. Subsequently, he was promoted to Senior Lecturer in Polymer Chemistry in April 2004, and awarded the RSC/SCI Macro Group UK Young Researchers' Medal for 2005 in recognition of his contributions to polymer science and research potential. Thereafter, Peter was promoted to Reader in Polymer Chemistry in 2007 and to Professor of Polymer Chemistry in 2009.
Peter was Scientist in Residence at the Centre for Self-Assembled Chemical Structures, Montréal, Canada in 2008, and has held Visiting Professorships in Canada (2008), Malaysia (2011) and Poland (2015). He served as Associate Dean for International Research in the Faculty of Science at Strathclyde from March 2015 until September 2018, and was Deputy Head of the Department of Pure & Applied Chemistry at Strathclyde from 2016-2017. Since November 2017, he is Head of Materials and Computational Chemistry in the Department of Pure & Applied Chemistry. He is also a Theme Lead for Advanced Manufacturing and Materials at the University of Strathclyde.
Peter’s research interests lie predominantly in the areas of synthetic polymer chemistry and materials science, with special emphasis on the design, the synthesis and the applications of functional organic polymers.
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