Dr. David Cramb
Dean, Faculty of ScienceProfessor, Department of Chemistry and Biology
If creativity is contagious, then David Cramb’s colleagues, partners and students have no doubt caught the bug. Cramb’s commitment to interdisciplinary research, innovative collaborations and new ways of doing just about anything set before him is more than a professional habit – it’s state of mind. A musician, researcher and teacher in both the arts and sciences, one of Cramb’s many collaborations is with Jennifer Adams, Canada Research Chair in Creativity and STEM at the University of Calgary. Cramb and Adams share a passion for developing the creative capacities needed in STEM learners to address the challenges of our world. “Teaching STEM subjects with an emphasis on developing creativity and incorporating other branches of knowledge is a priority of mine,” he says.
Providing students with open-ended laboratory experiences, where the outcomes are not predetermined, is also a priority. “Students learn best by doing and become better scientists through hands-on experiences. They should be generating and testing hypotheses every day,” he says. In a career that has emphasized teaching and learning as much as original research, Cramb has provided that experience in over a dozen chemistry and nanoscience courses. He has also collaborated with colleagues in other faculties to offer courses that merge literature, history, science and music.
In his own research, Cramb is focusing on behaviour of nanoparticles for biomedical applications. Specifically, he is interested in the use of nanomaterials for more effective diagnosis and treatment of disease, especially cancer. “Looking ahead, one of the potential benefits of this research is the diagnosis of early-stage cancer, potentially through the application of smart toilets that analyze urine samples.”