Professor, Department of Chemistry
Dr. Bennet’s group has a knack for synthesizing carbohydrates and their mimics, and fine-tuning their reactivity in order to understand how bonds are made during catalysis by carbohydrate processing enzymes. Their work has unraveled a variety of exquisite mechanisms via precision techniques, revealed new inhibitors that can affect human diseases, and changed the way people think about the consequences of using substrate analogues versus real transition state mimics.
What early life experiences may have foretold your path into science?
Mathematics was like a first language for me. From a very early age I would follow my mother around the grocery store and at the check-out tell the cashier how much we owed. Mind you, it was all shillings and pence, no decimals. I loved mathematics at school and would do it very fast because then the teachers would give me more math to do – except one teacher who would give me English; I would slow up then. In high school, we started doing science and that's when Chemistry took over.
What was it about chemistry that became more appealing than mathematics?
The majority of chemistry taught in school in England was very mathematical. The patterns of chemistry intrigued me. There is a logic to it such that you can predict what will happen.