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From Oxford to Mülheim: The new group leader Matthew Tredwell

From Oxford to Mülheim: The new group leader Matthew Tredwell

Dr. Matthew Tredwell from the UK is a new group leader at the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung in Mülheim. He did his undergraduate studies and his PhD, in organofluorine chemistry, at the University of Oxford. He then undertook a position as postdoctoral research assistant at the University of Cambridge in 2007. He returned to Oxford in 2009 where he developed new fluorination methodologies for PET imaging. As part of the Oxford Cancer Imaging Centre he was able to develop a variety of strategies to solve long-standing problems in radiochemistry. In Mülheim he will run a new radiochemistry laboratory as part of the Department of Organic Synthesis led by Professor Tobias Ritter.

“It is not easy to leave a place like Oxford. But the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung has excellent facilities and especially the radiochemistry lab will be fantastic once it is finished”, explains Tredwell. The decision to go to Germany was rather easy to make for him, because he was familiar with the German lifestyle from former work experiences in the country. So he was very happy to accept when Professor Ritter offered him the position in Mülheim.

Radiation protection supervisor for the radiochemistry laboratory at the Department of Chemistry in Oxford

In Oxford Tredwell supervised the running of Siemens-Oxford Molecular Imaging Laboratory. The Department of Chemistry appointed him as the radiation protection supervisor. He was not only in charge of the research within the laboratory, but his responsibility was also to ensure that all work undertaken complied with the regulatory bodies and the University’s
Safety Office. So for Tredwell it is not the first time to go through the process of opening a radiochemistry laboratory, he is an expert in the necessary safety measures.

After the move from the UK the chemist now wants to start research as soon as possible. “The building is progressing well”, he explains. “The radiochemical lab will be up and running in the near future. It is obviously a complicated process, but we are very open and deliver all the safety information required by the relevant authorities.”

Tredwell’s research revolves around the work with the fluorine radioisotope [18F]. It plays an important role in PET imaging, a technology used for the detection of diseases. Fluorine-18 has a half-life of about 110 minutes, so it decays very quickly. The product can be traced through the body and can be used for detecting cancer and in general to monitor what is happening in the body. Thus there is obviously a strong connection between Tredwell’s work and the field of Medicine.