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Chemistry 'Call My Bluff' Wine Tasting

Sign up now through Eventbrite for our ever-popular alumni event, the Chemistry 'Call My Bluff' Wine Tasting, which will be held on Friday 21 September 2018 from 5:00 - 7:00 pm here in the Department of Chemistry.

Held on the opening Friday of the annual University Alumni Festival, this event is a wonderful way to get into the alumni weekend vibe: meet old friends, have a laugh and enjoy some interesting wines, all while learning about some of the latest research going on here in the department.

How does it work?

We offer four rounds of wines for you to taste (what’s not to like so far?). While you sip, three eminent chemists will describe each wine’s chemical attributes, provenance and even terroir. The hitch — only one of them is telling the truth and your table must decide whose explanation is right, with often hilarious results. We might add a few other little challenges and surprises, and of course will provide nibbles to help refresh your palate between rounds.

Meet the bluffers

Bluffer Number One: Dr Jenny Zhang, BBSRC David Phillips Research Fellow

Jenny is interested in designing new catalytic systems to convert sunlight into sustainable and green ‘solar fuels’.  

As the recent recipient of a BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship, Jenny is building her own independent research group to investigate the electron transfer mechanism behind photoelectrogenic biofilms and how this can be exploited as a source of renewable energy.  The research interfaces natural photosynthetic systems with synthetic materials and chemical biology techniques, to investigate the basic science behind artificial photosynthesis.

This is Jenny’s first time as a “Bluffer” but she says the conversion of solar energy into a tasty Merlot could be an interesting extension to her research. 

Bluffer Number Two: James Harrison, Executive Chairman Cycle Pharmaceuticals and department alumnus

James was a “Natsci” undergrad in the department and then completed his MPhil in Chemistry in Dave King’s surface science research group in 1996.  Since then he has had a successful career in the City, and as CEO of Archimica, a global pharmaceutical manufacturing business. Most recently, James returned to Cambridge to found Cycle Pharmaceuticals, a pioneering company that aims to improve existing drugs, with a particular focus on quality-of-life improvements for children with rare genetic diseases.  Cycle investigates new uses of existing drugs and is a generous funder of the Duer group’s research.  Through the understanding of the underlying chemical changes of the cells of our vascular system, the Duer group and Cycle have together discovered an existing drug that could be repurposed as a treatment to inhibit vascular calcification, which occurs in all of us as we age, and can lead to heart disease and stroke.  Their work also has oncology applications through inhibiting DNA damage repair pathways.  James says he is delighted to be returning to the department to support this event, especially after discovering it involved wine and cheese.

Bluffer Number Three: Dr Nick Bampos, Deputy Head of Department

As Deputy Head of the Department of Chemistry, Nick is responsible for all staff-related matters, and has been the driving force behind the department’s Athena Swan Silver award for advancing gender equality and its upcoming application for Gold.

Nick’s research has focused on applying NMR spectroscopy for the structural and dynamic characterisation of a diverse range of compounds in a number of areas spanning conventional organic, biological and inorganic chemistry, and he gives lectures in the elements and inorganic chemistry to Part IA and Part II chemistry students. In addition to being Vice-Master at Trinity Hall, Nick is involved in a number of university-level activities related to education, admissions, research, mentoring programmes and governance. After all this, he may need a drink!

New alumni benefits

The University has just increased the number of scholarly on-line journals and publications that are offered free of charge to all alumni. Meanwhile, your CAMCard entitles you to all sorts of benefits, including automatic membership in the University Centre. Find out more about alumni benefits here.

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