Professor Anthony (Tony) Davis gained a BA in Chemistry from Oxford University in 1977, then stayed for a D.Phil. under Dr G. H. Whitham and two years’ postdoctoral work with Professor J. E. Baldwin. In 1981 he moved to the ETH Zürich as a Royal Society European Exchange Fellow working with Professor A. Eschenmoser. In 1982, he was appointed as a Lecturer in Organic Chemistry at Trinity College, Dublin. In September 2000 he moved to the University of Bristol, where he is Professor of Supramolecular Chemistry in the School of Chemistry. In 2002, Professor Davis was awarded the Tilden Medal from the Royal Society of Chemistry, and in 2015 the RSC Award for Physical Organic Chemistry. He is currently Chair of the Editorial Board of Organic and Biological Chemistry.
After some early work on synthetic methodology, especially the use of organosilicon reagents, the Davis group’s research has focused on supramolecular chemistry. A particular aim has been the design of functional molecules which are inspired by biology and are effective enough for use in biomedical settings. Two areas of special interest are biomimetic carbohydrate recognition and the binding and transport of inorganic anions. In the former, the group have published a series of synthetic receptors for the all-equatorial (glucose) family of carbohydrates, and most recently a highly effective receptor for glucose itself. This work has led to the foundation of two companies; Ziylo, which was sold in 2018 to Novo Nordisk, and Carbometrics, which continues to develop applications of Professor Davis’ systems.