News & Events

Seminars

A list of Chemistry Department seminars can be downloaded from the link below. The Seminar schedule for 2017-18 will be published later this year.

Seminar Schedule 2016-17

All seminars take place at 3:30 pm in George Porter Building LTB unless stated otherwise. For more information about a seminar please contact the relevant host (or Dr James Hodgkinson).

News

Find all of the latest news from the Department of Chemistry here:

Careers webinar for Chemistry postgraduates

Department of Chemistry celebrates first Family Fun Day

Chemistry academics awarded Proof of Concept funding

Leicester chemist awarded national teaching fellowship

Chemistry department researchers chosen to present at international Electrochemical Society conference

Continued Success for Chemistry in 2017 National Student Survey (NSS)

Chemistry department collects Silver Athena SWAN award at national ceremony

PhD student awarded a Tertiary Education Group bursary to attend ViCEPHEC2017 conference

Chemistry department to host family fun day

Professor Piletsky and Dr Piletska receive £300,000 molecular imprinting project investment

Professor Andrew Ellis elected as Chair of the Molecular Physics Group of the Institute of Physics

Chemistry undergraduate student takes part in University Challenge

Chemistry PhD students involved in creating a zero waste society

Biotechnology group celebrates Eid

Leicester Chemistry Research’s nominated for Research Impact Awards

Dr Karim visits Leicester's Assistant City Mayor to discuss the Department's successful outreach event

Profs Ryder and Abbott win funding to develop a new and revolutionary battery

Chemistry department staff nominated for 2017 Discovering Excellence Awards

Chemistry postgraduates take part in 3 minute thesis competition

Dr Zoë Fleming investigates air pollution in Chile

Forensic Science Society wins Academic Group of the Year

Science event inspires more to go to University

Dr Lowe's group well represented at high profile conferences

Department Scientific Glassblower involved in collaboration to explore creative and visual responses to DNA research

Chemistry department staff presented with Superstar awards

Leicester Chemistry PhD student chosen to present at L'Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards

Leicester Chemistry strongly represented at Team Leicester Sports Awards

Chemistry Department Receives Athena SWAN Silver Award

Professor Cullis contributes to Chemistry World’s “How to….” Feature

Professor Emma Raven receives Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award

“Unsung Hero” – Special programme about Dr Kal Karim who has made a substantive yet contribution to Bangladeshi society

PhD student receives poster prize at Midlands Electrochemistry Group meeting

Chemistry at Leicester rises in Complete Universities Guide League Table 2018

Science at Leicester establishes key collaboration

Leicester Research highlighted in Fingermark Visualisation Newsletter

Dr Zoe Fleming featured on BBC Inside Out

RSC Organic Division Midlands Meeting to be held at the University of Leicester's Chemistry Department

New Lectureship Posts in Chemical Biology

Antibody-free blood typing

Dr Elena Piletska selected to sit on key panels

Ferromagnetic chromium discovered

Chemistry Department strongly represented in the 2017 House of Commons STEM for Britain Competition

Dr Karim wins British Muslim Award

Dr Karim nominated for British Muslim Award for services to Science and Engineering

Chemistry department bake sale raises £150 for Parkinson's UK

Leicester Biotechnology Group plays key role at Global Congress

Wolf run raises over £450 for charity

Hydrogen clusters go negative: a new form of condensed hydrogen

Prof Emma Raven part of team that unveils hidden step in enzyme mechanism

Leicester research selected for BBC's Terrific Science scheme

Prof. Rob Hillman presents to research promotion conference at JSPS

Leicester involved in outreach event for air quality and environmental chemistry

Staff selected as Fellow of the Electrochemical Society

Prof. Emma Raven appointed head of RSC's Dalton Division

Dr Dylan Williams part of team announced as HEA award finalists

Leicester Chemists Announced as Finalists for Teaching Award

Leicester Department of Chemistry Climbs in National League Tables

Professor Karl Ryder highlights importance of 'super-batteries' at House of Lords

Success for Chemistry in 2016 National Student Survey (NSS)

Research Snippet #18 (November 15) – Twenty years for new text

Prof Andy Abbott helps scotch egg company crack problem of waste

Research Snippet #17 (November 2015) – New methods for putting fluorine into drug molecules

Leicester Chemistry Glassblower Appears on Primetime TV Show

Chemistry Department collaborates with local business

Research Snippet #16 (August 2015) – Landmark review on tropospheric ozone

Leicester Department of Chemistry in Top 10 for Student Satisfaction

Research Snippet #15 (August 15) – New paper highlighted by journal on mapping organic reactivity in secondary organic aerosol formation

90 Years of Chemistry at Leicester

Chemistry's Dr Corey Evans - Leads Cricket Team to Victory

Research Snippet #14 (July 2015) - Spectroscopic studies of haem chemistry in heart cells reveal mechanisms of cardiac stress

International perspectives on Peptide Research

Department of Chemistry Research Newsletter

Research Snippet #13 (July 2015) - Electrochromic polymers applied to forensic science

Research Snippet #12 (June 2015) - Impact factor of Electrochimica Acta increases further

Concert in Memory of Martin Harger

Research Snippet #11 (June 15) - Magnetic high throughput screening system for the development of nano-sized molecularly imprinted polymers for controlled delivery of curcumin

Research Snippet #10 (June15) – Role of Chemistry in Earth’s Climate

Research Snippet #9 (May15) - A home away from home

Research Snippet #8 (May 15) - Can several instruments measure the same thing?

Research Snippet #7 (May 15) - In search of a missing atmospheric oxidant

Research Snippet #6 (April 15) – Departmental Published Paper 2014

Emma Raven is President Elect of the RSC Dalton Division

London Marathon Run in Memory of Professor Mike Blandamer

Leicester Develops Novel Mineral and Metal Processing Techniques

Research Snippet #5 (March 2015) - Improved detection of air pollution from space

Change gear for the all clear - Leicester Mercury news story

Funded PhD Studentships in Chemistry

Research Snippet #4 (March 15) – New results on heme regulation of ion channels

Forensic Science and Criminal Justice MOOC

Forensic Science and Criminal Justice MOOC

MOOCs are short courses that are delivered online for free enabling everyone, everywhere to enjoy learning throughout their lives. The courses are self-directed, meaning you follow the course materials, complete the readings and assessments, and get help from a large community of fellow learners through online forums. Although our MOOCs do not have formal university credits assigned to them, they meet the same academic standards that we apply to our on-campus and distance learning courses.

The link address is: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/forensic-crim-justice-2/details

Research Snippet #4 (March 15) – New results on heme regulation of ion channels

Dr. Sofia M. KapetanakiThe latest exciting results on the heme regulation of ion channels were presented by Dr. Sofia M. Kapetanaki, a research associate in the Department of Chemistry, at the Tetrapyrrole Discussion Group Meeting at the Royal Society in London, this January. Ion channels are central to the control of a vast range of biological processes and their malfunction is related to many diseases. The project led by Prof. Emma Raven and funded by BBSRC is a multidisciplinary one that involves three departments (Cell Physiology and Pharmacology, Chemistry, Biochemistry) in the University of Leicester. The team (Dr. M. Burton, Dr. N. Davies, Dr. N. Storey, Dr. J. Mitcheson, Prof. P. Moody, Dr. R. Schmid, and Dr. A. Jamieson) is exploring heme regulation of ion channels using a combination of electrophysiological, biochemical, computational and spectroscopic techniques. The work presented sets up the starting point for a detailed characterization of the regulatory mechanism of heme on ion channels at the molecular level and underscores the broad framework for this novel regulation by heme.

Funded PhD Studentships in Chemistry

Packages worth circa £13,863 per annum and Home/EU fee waivers. Funding is available from 1 October 2015

Please see our PhD vacancies page for further details of the current studentships available in the Department of Chemistry

Research Snippet #5 (March 15) - Improved detection of air pollution from space

Work jointly between the departments of Chemistry and Physics & Astronomy has led to the development of a novel tropospheric NO2 satellite retrieval aimed at enhancing information over polluted areas. Current satellite retrievals have relied on using a solar reference spectrum to derive a total slant column, then using either model assimilation or spatial filtering to derive the tropospheric component. In the ERrs-DOAS (Earth radiance reference sector DOAS) algorithm, tropospheric NO2 slant columns are derived using spectra averaged from measurements over unpolluted regions, thus removing the need for post-hoc separation techniques. Validation has taken place and it was found that retrievals using an Earth radiance reference produce spatial distributions of tropospheric NO2 over eastern China during June 2005 that highly correlate with those derived using existing retrieval algorithms (see Figures).

Anand, J. S., Monks, P. S., and Leigh, R. J.: An improved retrieval of tropospheric NO2 from space over polluted regions using an Earth radiance reference, Atmos. Meas. Tech., 8, 1519-1535, 10.5194/amt-8-1519-2015, 2015.

Snippet #5 (March 15) pic 1

Snippet #5 (March 15) pic 2Measurement of tropospheric NO2 pollution over China using new technique and a comparison with other retrievals.

Leicester Develops Novel Mineral and Metal Processing Techniques

A collaboration between Chemists and Geologists at the University of Leicester is leading to some novel techniques for processing metals. Most ways of recovering metals from primary ores or secondary waste steams involve either high temperature pyrometallurgy or lower temperature hydrometallurgy using strong mineral acids and bases. The group at the University of Leicester has used ionic liquids to process metals and minerals. In a recent paper Andy Abbott and Gawen Jenkin have published a selective electrocatalytic method of recovering metals from both alloys and primary ores.

 http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlepdf/2015/GC/C4GC02246G

 The collaboration has also led to recent grant funding success through an NERC SOS minerals grant (£2.4M) that Dan Smith, Dave Holwell, Gawen Jenkin (geology) and Andy Abbott (chemistry) obtained for studying Tellurium and Selenium Cycling and Supply (TeASe).

London Marathon Run in Memory of Professor Mike Blandamer

Mike Blandamer joined the University of Leicester in 1961 as an Assistant lecturer and rose through the grades to Professor in 1991 and retired in 1999. He died last year after a short illness. http://www2.le.ac.uk/staff/community/people/bereavements/2014-archive/professor-michael-j-blandamer


His youngest son William is running the London Marathon on April 26th and is raising money in memory of his father for the charity WaterAid. Much of Mike’s research was focused on the properties of water and because of this William and the rest of Mike’s family have been longstanding supporters of WaterAid.  As Will says “the idea that there are 750 million people in the world without access to safe water, 2.5 billion people without a toilet, and 1400 children dying every day from diarrhoea caused by unsafe water and a lack of toilets, is an almost unimaginable injustice.”


Will is aiming to raise £2000 and he is well on his way to this target.  If he raises this amount WaterAid have indicated as an example, that this would be enough to pay for a rainwater harvesting system to provide access to clean, safe water for 200 children in Nepal.


Mike was a longstanding servant of the University and if you would like to make a donation in his memory, Will’s charity site can be found at the following link: http://my.wateraidfundraising.org.uk/willb


Paul Cullis

Professor Mike Blandamer

Professor Emma Raven has been elected as President Elect of the RSC Dalton Division

Professor Emma Raven will follow a long line of presidents to take up the position as President Elect of the RSC Dalton Division from October 2016. 

Research Snippet #6 (April 15) – Departmental Published Papers 2014

This might not be a snippet in some senses, given the length.   The number and diversity of papers published by Chemistry staff in 2014 highlight the range of active chemistry underway.  The work ranges from atmospheric chemistry to measuring phosphate in waste water via exciting discoveries in biological chemistry from new structures and insights to new complexes that may have application in medicine.     The size goes from nanoclusters to new materials.  All point to a healthy research school in chemistry with many papers lead by Ph.D. students.   The international context of our work can be seen by the large number of international collaboration in our published work.

 Prof. Paul S. Monks – Research Director, April 2015

 

ABBOTT

Deep Eutectic Solvents (DESs) and their Applications

Smith, Emma L.; Abbott, Andrew P.; Ryder, Karl S. Chem. Revs., 2014, 114(21), 11060-11082.

Evaluating water miscible deep eutectic solvents (DESs) and ionic liquids as potential lubricants

Abbott, Andrew P.; Ahmed, Essa I.; Harris, Robert C.; et al. Green Chemistry, 2014, 16(9), 4156-4161.

EXAFS Study into the Speciation of Metal Salts Dissolved in Ionic Liquids and Deep Eutectic

Solvents

Hartley, Jennifer M.; Ip, Chung-Man; Forrest, Gregory C. H.; et al. Inorg. Chem., 2014, 53(12), 6280-6288.

 Glycol based plasticisers for salt modified starch

Abbott, Andrew P.; Abolibda, Tariq Z.; Davis, Stefan J.; et al. RSC Advances, 2014, 4(76), 40421-40427.

 Aluminium electrodeposition under ambient conditions

Abbott, Andrew P.; Harris, Robert C.; Hsieh, Yi-Ting; et al. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2014, 16(28), 14675-14681.

Speciation, physical and electrolytic properties of eutectic mixtures based on CrCl3 center dot

6H(2)O and urea

Abbott, Andrew P.; Al-Barzinjy, Azeez A.; Abbott, Paul D.; et al. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2014, 16(19), 9047-9055.

BALL

The first airborne comparison of N2O5 measurements over the UK using a CIMS and BBCEAS during the RONOCO campaign

Le Breton, M.; Bacak, A.; Muller, J.B.A.; et al. Anal. Methods, 2014, 6(24), 9731-9743.

A smog chamber comparison of a microfluidic derivatisation measurement of gas-phase glyoxal and methylglyoxal with other analytical techniques

Pang, X.; Lewis, A. C.; Rickard, A. R.; et al. Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, 2014, 7(2), 373-389.

CULLIS

Highly efficient synthesis of DNA-binding polyamides using a convergent fragment-based approach

Fallows, A.J., Singh, I., Dondi, R., Cullis, P.M. Burley, G.A. Organic Letters, 2014, 16, 4654-4657.

Defining the Structural Parameters of Triazole Ligands in the Templated Synthesis of Silver Nanoparticles

Kashmery, H.A., Clark, A.W., Fallows, A.J., Cullis, P.M. Burley, G.A.  Eur. J. Inorg. Chem., 2014, 28, 4886-4895.

DAVIES

Pyridine Imines as Ligands in Luminescent Iridium Complexes

Davies. D.L.; F. Lelj, F.; Lowe, M.P.; Ryder, K.S.; Singh, K.; Singh, S. Dalton Trans., 2014, 43, 4026-4039.

Elucidating the Origin of Enhanced Phosphorescence Emission in the Solid State (EPESS) in Cyclometallated Iridium Complexes

Howarth, J.; Wolf, M.O.; Patia, R.; Davies, D.L.; Singh, K.; Lelj, F. Eur. J. Inorg. Chem., 2014, 23, 3657-3664.

Metal control of selectivity in acetate-assisted C-H bond activation: an experimental and computational study of heterocyclic, vinylic and phenylic C(sp2)-H bonds at Ir and Rh

Carr, K.J.T.; Macgregor, S.A.; Davies, D.L.; Singh, K.; Villa-Marcos, B. Chemical Science, 2014, 5, 2340-2346.

Combined experimental and computational Investigations of Rhodium- and Ruthenium Catalyzed C-H Functionalization of Pyrazoles with Alkynes

Algarra, G.; Cross, W.B.; Davies, D.L.; Khamker, Q.; Macgregor, S.A.; McMullin, C.L.; Singh, K. The Journal of Organic Chemistry, 2014, 79, 1954-1970.

Tuning the Emission Lifetime in Bis-cyclometalated Iridium(III) Complexes Bearing Iminopyrene Ligands

Howarth, J.; Davies, D.L.; Lelj, F.; Wolf, M.O.; Patrick, B.O. Inorg. Chem., 2014, 53, 11882-11889.

ELLIS

Formation of aluminium clusters in helium nanodroplets

Spence, D.; Latimer, E.; York, W.; Boatwright, A.; Feng, C.; Yang, S.; Ellis, A.M. Int. J. Mass Spectrom. 2014, 365-366, 86-88.

Vortex-induced aggregation in superfluid helium droplets

Spence, D.; Latimer, E.; Feng, C.; Boatwright, A.; Ellis, A.M., Yang, S. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 2014, 16, 6903-6906.

Preparation of ultrathin nanowires using superfluid helium droplets

Latimer, E.; Spence, D.; Feng, C.; Boatwright, A.; Ellis, A.M., Yang, S. Nano Lett., 2014, 14, 2902-2906.

Probing the structure and dynamics of molecular clusters using rotational wavepackets

Galinis, G.; Cacho, C.; Chapman, R.T.; Ellis, A.M.; Lewerenz, M.; Mendoza Luna, L.G.; Minns, R.S.; Mladenovic, M.; Rouzee, A.; Springate, E.; Turcu, I.C.E.; Watkins, M.J.; von Haeften, K. Phys. Rev. Lett., 2014, 113, 043004.

Formation of coherent rotational wavepackets in small molecule-helium clusters using impulsive alignment

Galinis, G.; Mendoza Luna, L.G.; Watkins, M.J.; von Haeften, K.; Ellis, A.M.; Minns, R.S.; Mladenovic, M.; Lewerenz, M.; Chapman, R.T.; Turcu, I.C.E.; Cacho, C.; Springate, E.;  Kzak, L.; Irsig, R.; Göde, S.; Tiggesbäumker, J.; Meiwes-Broer, K.-H.; Rouzée, A. Faraday Discuss., 2014, 171, 195-218.

Formation of dianions in helium droplets

Mauracher, A.; Daxner, M.; Huber, S.E.; Postler, J.; Renzler, M.; Denifl, S.; Scheier, P.; Ellis, A.M. Angew. Chemie Int. Ed., 2014, 53, 13794 –13797.

Electron-driven formation of salt nanocrystals in liquid helium

Daxner, M.; Denifl, Märk, T.D.; Ellis, A.M.; Scheier, P.; Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2014, 53, 13528-13531.

EVANS

IR Band Profiling of Dichlorodifluoromethane in the Greenhouse Window: High-Resolution FTIR Spectroscopy of nu(2) and nu(8)

Evans, C.J.; Sinik, A.; Medcraft, C.; McNaughton, D.; Appadoo, D.; Robertson, E.G. J. Phys. Chem. A, 2014, 118(13), 2480-2487. DOI: 10.1021/jp501302q

GUERREIRO

Direct potentiometric quantification of histamine using solid-phase imprinted nanoparticles as recognition elements

Basozabal, I., Guerreiro, A., Gomez-Caballero, A., Aranzazu Goicolea, M., Barrio, R.J. Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 2014, 58, 138-144. DOI: 10.1016/j.bios.2014.02.054

Selective vancomycin detection using optical fibre long period gratings functionalised with molecularly imprinted polymer nanoparticles

Korposh, S., Chianella, I., Guerreiro, A., Caygill, S., Piletsky, S., James, S.W., Tatam, R.P.

Analyst, 2014, 139 (9), 2229-2236. DOI: 10.1039/c3an02126b

Introducing MINA - The molecularly imprinted nanoparticle assay

Shutov, R.V., Guerreiro, A., Moczko, E., De Vargas-Sansalvador, I.P., Chianella, I., Whitcombe, M.J., Piletsky, S.A. Small, 2014, 10 (6), 1086-1089. DOI: 10.1002/smll.201301996

Conductance based sensing and analysis of soluble phosphates in wastewater

Warwick, C., Guerreiro, A., Gomez-Caballero, A., Wood, E., Kitson, J., Robinson, J., Soares, A.

Biosensors and Bioelectronics,  2014, 52, 173-179. DOI: 10.1016/j.bios.2013.08.048

A molecular imprinted polymer based sensor for measuring phosphate in wastewater samples

Warwick, C., Guerreiro, A., Wood, E., Kitson, J., Robinson, J., Soares, A. Water Science and Technology, 2014, 69(1), 48-54. DOI: 10.2166/wst.2013.550

Automatic reactor for solid-phase synthesis of molecularly imprinted polymeric nanoparticles (MIP NPs) in water

Poma, A., Guerreiro, A., Caygill, S., Moczko, E., Piletsky, S. RSC Advances, 2014,  4(8), 4203-4206. DOI: 10.1039/c3ra46838k

Influence of surface-imprinted nanoparticles on trypsin activity

Guerreiro, A., Poma, A., Karim, K., Moczko, E., Takarada, J., de Vargas-Sansalvador, I.P., Turner, N., Piletska, E., de Magalhães, C.S., Glazova, N., Serkova, A., Omelianova, A., Piletsky, S. Advanced Healthcare Materials, 2014, 3(9), 1426-1429. DOI: 10.1002/adhm.201300634

Optimisation of the synthesis of vancomycinselective molecularly imprinted polymer nanoparticles using automatic photoreactor

Muzyka, K., Karim, K., Guerreiro, A., Poma, A., Piletsky, S. Nanoscale Res. Letts, 2014, 9(1),  1-7. DOI: 10.1186/1556-276X-9-154

HILLMAN

Application of the combined electrochemical quartz crystal microbalance and probe beam deflection technique in deep eutectic solvents

Hillman, A.R.; Ryder, K.S.; Zaleski, C.J.; Ferreira, V.; Beasley, C.A.; Vieil, E. Electrochimica Acta, 2014, 135, 42-51.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.electacta.2014.04.062

JAMIESON

Robust Asymmetric Synthesis of Unnatural Alkenyl Amino Acids for Conformationally Constrained α-Helix Peptides

Aillard, B.; Robertson, N.S.; Baldwin, A.R.; Robins, S.; Jamieson, A.G. Org. Biomol. Chem., 2014, 12, 8775-8782.

The Ansamycin Antibiotic, Rifamycin SV, Inhibits BCL6 Transcriptional Repression and Forms a Complex with the BCL6-BTB/POZ Domain.

Evans, S.E.; Goult, B.T.; Fairall, L; Jamieson, A.G.; Ferrigno, P.K.; Ford, R.; Schwabe, J.W.R.; Wagner, S.D. PLOS ONE, 2014. DOI: 10.1371/0090889.

 

KARIM

Microplates with enhanced immobilization capabilities controlled by a magnetic field

Piletska, E. V.; Piletsky, S. S.; Guerreiro, A.; Karim, K.; Whitcombe, M. J.; Piletsky, S. A.

J. Chinese Adv. Mat. Soc., 2014, 2(2), 118-129.

Influence of surface-imprinted nanoparticles on trypsin activity

Guerreiro A., Poma A., Moczko E., Takarada J., Vargas-Sansalvador I. P., Turner N., Piletska E., Magalhães C. S., Glazova N., Serkova A., Omelianova A., Karim K., Piletsky S. Adv. Healthcare Mat., 2014, 3, 1426-1429.

Optimisation of the synthesis of vancomycinselective molecularly imprinted polymer nanoparticles using automatic photoreactor

Muzyka, K., Karim, K., Guerreiro, A., Poma, A., Piletsky, S. Nanoscale Res. Letts, 2014, 9(1),  1-7. DOI: 10.1186/1556-276X-9-154.

Magnetic high throughput screening system for the development of nano-sized molecularly imprinted polymers for controlled delivery of curcumin

Piletska E. V., Abd B. H., Krakowiak A. S., Parmar A., Pink D. L., Wall K. S., Wharton L., Moczko E., Whitcombe M. J., Karim K., Piletsky S. A. Analyst, 2015, 140, 3113-3120.

LOWE

Pyridine Imines as Ligands in Luminescent Iridium Complexes

Davies. D.L.; F. Lelj, F.; Lowe, M.P.; Ryder, K.S.; Singh, K.; Singh, S. Dalton Trans., 2014, 43, 4026-4039.

MONKS

New Directions: Fundamentals of atmospheric chemistry: Keeping a three-legged stool balanced

Abbatt, J., George, C.; Melamed, M.; Monks, P.S.; Pandis, S.; Rudich, Y. Atmospheric Environment, 2014, 84, 390-391.

Validation of an assay for the determination of levoglucosan and associated monosaccharide anhydrides for the quantification of wood smoke in atmospheric aerosol

Cordell, R.L., White, I.R.; Monks, P.S. Anal. & Bioanal. Chem., 2014, 406(22), 5283-5292.

European pollution: Investigate smog to inform policy

Monks, P.S.; Nature, 2014, 509(7501), 427-427.

A smog chamber comparison of a microfluidic derivatisation measurement of gas-phase glyoxal and methylglyoxal with other analytical techniques

Pang, X.; Lewis, A.C.; Rickard, A.R.; Baeza-Romero, M.T.; Adams, T.J.; Ball, S.M.; Daniels, M.J.S.; Goodall, I.C.A.; Monks, P.S.; Peppe, S.; Rodenas Garcia, M.; Sanchez, P.; Munoz, A. Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, 2014, 7(2), 373-389.

Observations of the Release of Non-methane Hydrocarbons from Fractured Shale

Sommariva, R.; Blake, R.S.; Cuss, R.J.; Cordell, R.L.; Harrington, J.F.; White, I.R.; Monks, P.S.

Environ. Sci. & Tech., 2014, 48(15), 8891-8896.

Emissions of biogenic volatile organic compounds and subsequent photochemical production of secondary organic aerosol in mesocosm studies of temperate and tropical plant species

Wyche, K.P., Ryan, A.C.; Hewitt, C.N.; Alfarra,M.R.; McFiggans, G.; Carr, T.; Monks, P.S.; Smallbone, K.L.; Capes, G.; Hamilton, J.F.; Pugh, T.A.M.; MacKenzie, A.R. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 2014, 14(23), 12781-12801.

PILETSKA

Optical biosensors based on universal pH indicator as a reporter for quantification of clinically-relevant compounds

Piletska E. V., Chianella I., Turner A. P. F., Takayama K., Thaveeprungsriporn V., Piletsky S. A. JCAMS, 2014, 2, 99-109.

Molecular modelling and synthesis of polymer for the extraction of amiloride and triamterene from human urine

Tsyrulneva I., Zaporozhets O., Piletska E., Piletsky S. Anal. Methods, 2014, 6, 3429-3435.

Electrochemical impedimetric sensor based on molecularly imprinted polymers/sol–gel chemistry for methidathion organophosphorous insecticide recognition

Bakas I., Hayat A., Piletsky S., Piletska E., Chehimi M. M., Noguer T., Rouillon R. Talanta, 2014, 130, 294-298.

Influence of Surface-Imprinted Nanoparticles on Trypsin Activity

Guerreiro A., Poma A., Karim K., Moczko E.,  Takarada J., de Vargas-Sansalvador I. P., Turner N., Piletska E., Schmidt de Magalhães C., Glazova N., Serkova A., Omelianova A., Piletsky S. Advanced Healthcare Materials, 2014, 3, 1426-1429.

Microplates with enhanced immobilization capabilities controlled by a magnetic field

Piletska E. V., Piletsky S. S., Guerreiro A., Karim K., Whitcombe M. J., Piletsky S. A. JCAMS, 2014, 2, 118-129.

Magnetic high throughput screening system for the development of nano-sized molecularly imprinted polymers for controlled delivery of curcumin

Piletska E. V., Abd B. H., Krakowiak A. S., Parmar A., Pink D. L., Wall K. S., Wharton L., Moczko E., Whitcombe M. J., Karim K., Piletsky S. A. Analyst, 2015, 140, 3113-3120.

PILETSKY

Introducing MINA - the molecularly imprinted nanoparticle assay

Shutov R. V., Guerreiro A., Moczko E., Perez de Vargas-Sansalvador I., Chianella I., Whitcombe M. J., Piletsky S. A. Small, 2014, 6, 1086-1089.

Automatic reactor for solid-phase synthesis of molecularly imprinted polymeric nanoparticles (MIP NPs) in water

Poma A., Guerreiro A., Caygill S., Moczko E., Piletsky S. RSC Advances, 2014, 4, 4203-4206.

Selective vancomycin detection using long period grating fibres functionalised with molecularly imprinted polymer nanoparticles

Korposh S., Chianella I., Guerreiro A., Caygill S., Piletsky S., James S. W., Tatam R. P. Analyst, 2014, 139, 2229-2236.

Influence of surface-imprinted nanoparticles on trypsin activity

Guerreiro A., Poma A., Moczko E., Takarada J., Vargas-Sansalvador I. P., Turner N., Piletska E., Magalhães C. S., Glazova N., Serkova A., Omelianova A., Karim K., Piletsky S. Adv. Healthcare Mat., 2014, 3, 1426-1429.

Molecularly imprinted polymer cartridges coupled to high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC-UV) for simple and rapid analysis of fenthion in olive oil

Bakas I., Ben Oujji N., Istamboulié G., Piletsky S., Piletska E., Ait-Addi E., Ait-Ichou I., Noguer T., Rouillon R. Talanta, 2014, 125, 313-318.

Optimisation of the synthesis of vancomycin-selective molecularly imprinted polymer nanoparticles using automatic photoreactor

Muzyka K., Karim K., Guerreiro A., Poma A., Piletsky S. Nanoscale Res. Lett., 2014, 9, 154.

Molecular modelling and synthesis of a polymer for the extraction of amiloride and triamterene from human urine

Tsyrulneva I., Zaporozhets O., Piletska E., Piletsky S. Anal. Methods, 2014, 6, 3429-3435.

Microplates with enhanced immobilization capabilities controlled by a magnetic field

Piletska E. V., Piletsky S. S., Guerreiro A., Karim K., Whitcombe M. J., Piletsky S. P.  J. Chinese Adv. Mat. Soc., 2014, 2, 118-129.

Colorimetric biomimetic sensor systems based on molecularly imprinted polymer membranes for highly-selective detection of phenol in environmental samples

Sergeyeva T. A., Chelyadina D. S., Gorbach L. A., Brovko O. O., Piletska E. V., Piletsky S. A., Sergeeva L. M., El’skaya A. V. Biopolym. Cell., 2014, 30, 209-215.

Han Y., Yuan X., Zhu M., Li S., Whitcombe M. J., Piletsky S. A. (2014). A catalytic and shape-memory polymer reactor. Adv. Funct. Mat., 24, 4996–5001.

Electrochemical impedimetric sensor based on molecularly imprinted polymers/sol-gel chemistry for methidathion organophosphorous insecticide recognition

Bakas I., Hayat A., Piletsky S., Piletska E., Chehimi M. M., Noguer T., Rouillon R. Talanta, 2014, 130, 294-298.

NanoMIP based optical sensor for pharmaceuticals monitoring

Altintas Z., Guerreiro A., Piletsky S. A., Tothill I. E. Sens. Actuat. B: Chemical, 2015, 213, 305–313.

Magnetic high throughput screening system for the development of nano-sized molecularly imprinted polymers for controlled delivery of curcumin

Piletska E. V., Abd B. H., Krakowiak A. S., Parmar A., Pink D. L., Wall K. S., Wharton L., Moczko E., Whitcombe M. J., Karim K., Piletsky S. A. Analyst, 2015, 140, 3113-3120.

Size matters: challenges in imprinting macromolecules

Li S., Cao S., Whitcombe M. J., Piletsky S. A. Progress Polym. Sci., 2014, 39, 145– 163.

Engineered magnetic nanoparticles for biomedical applications

Canfarotta F., Piletsky S. A. Adv. Healthcare Mat., 2014, 3, 160-175. 

Research Snippet #7 (May 15) - In search of a missing atmospheric oxidant

The oxidation of anthropogenic and biogenic volatile organic compounds in the lower atmosphere is central to the formation of ozone (O3), secondary organic aerosol and other pollutants, many of which are known or suspected to be harmful to humans, animals and vegetation. Oxidative processes in the atmosphere also affect the concentrations of greenhouse gases.

As part of a NERC funded project, the Atmospheric Chemistry team from the University of Leicester in collaboration with the Plymouth Marine Laboratory are undertaking an experiment at the Penlee Point Atmospheric Observatory (PPAO) on the southwest coast of the UK (http://www.westernchannelobservatory.org.uk/penlee/).  The site is exposed to significant air pollution (due to continental emissions and ship traffic) when winds come from the southeast, which contrasts with the cleaner southwesterly air arriving from the North Atlantic

This experiment targets a range of air pollutants but is particularly focussed a molecule thought to be a missing oxidant called nitryl chloride.   Initial results look exciting even if the weather has been quite variable.

Measurement Station at Penlee Point
Measurement Station at Penlee Point

Team at work in Penlee Point Measurement Station 1
Team at work in Penlee Point

Team at work in Penlee Point Measurement Station 2

Research Snippet #8 (May 15) - Can several instruments measure the same thing?

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted into the atmosphere from a variety of manmade and natural sources. Examples include hydrocarbons from fossil fuel usage or terpenes emitted by plants. Oxidation chemistry in the lower atmosphere converts these emissions into oxygenated volatile organic compounds and, ultimately, to carbon dioxide and water. But in the presence of nitrogen oxides, and especially for the more reactive VOCs, this chemistry produces tropospheric ozone and aerosol particles – both of which are harmful air pollutants.

A couple of summers ago, Leicester’s Atmospheric Chemistry Group contributed two instruments (a broadband cavity spectrometer and proton transfer mass spectrometer) to an extensive comparison of analytical techniques capable of measuring trace concentrations glyoxal and methylglyoxal. The atmospheric oxidation of most VOCs produces glyoxal (CHOCHO) and/or methylglyoxal (CH3CHOCHO) as first or second generation intermediates; measurement of their concentrations helps to verify the often complex mechanisms proposed for VOC oxidation chemistry. Glyoxal and methylglyoxal are also rather soluble and partition onto atmospheric aerosol, modifying the particles’ chemical and optical properties.

Groups from the universities of Boulder Colorado, Leicester, Madison Wisconsin, York and Leeds participated in the instrument comparison held at the Euphore atmospheric simulation chamber in Valencia (Spain) http://www.ceam.es/WWWEUPHORE/home.htm. A separate study aimed primarily at consolidating the spectroscopic data on glyoxal and methylglyoxal was held at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. Results from these two studies were recently published in Atmospheric Measurement Techniques: http://www.atmos-meas-tech.net/8/1835/2015/amt-8-1835-2015.html

Research Snippet #8 picture 1
Participants at the GLY inter-comparison at the Euphore Chamber [Photo credit: R Thalman].

Snippet #8 (May 15) picture 2
Using Spanish sunshine to initiate photochemistry: Euphore Chamber A with its roof open [S Ball]

 

Chemistry Student Awarded Prize For Best Presentation

Congratulations to  Gemma Geary, a University of Leicester chemistry PhD student, who has won a prestigious award for the giving the best presentation at the 26th SCI Northern Postgraduate Symposium on Novel Organic Chemistry held at the University of Sheffield on Wednesday 29th April. Gemma was selected to present a talk on her research at the event along with eight other PhD students from other institutions. The nine excellent talks covered all aspects of organic chemistry ranging from natural product synthesis, biological chemistry, catalysis and new synthetic methodology.

Gemma has developed a new fluorinating reagent which is derived from fluoride and she has been investigating its reactivity with 1,3-dicarbonyl compounds in collaboration with Dr Alison Stuart and Prof Eric Hope.  Gemma is pictured with Dr Dave Leese (centre) from Peakdale Molecular Ltd, who awarded the prizes, and the runner up, George Platt who is supervised by Prof Robin Perutz at the University of York.

Sheffield PG Symposium

Research Snippet #9 (May15) - A home away from home

After nearly ten years’ service, the Atmospheric Chemistry Group’s field laboratory is being refurbished.

The “container” has been deployed to field work in Brittany, Borneo and London (during the 2012 Olympics). It also spent a rust-inducing 12 months in the Cape Verde islands. The field laboratory is the same size as a standard ISO shipping container, and thus can be transported around the world by container ship and lorry in the same way. One third of the container’s inside space is an office; the other two thirds is laboratory space to accommodate whichever payload of research instruments is required for a particular field campaign.

The refurbishment is being undertaken by the engineering company that originally built our laboratory. This company more usually constructs containerised launch and control cabins for remotely operated vehicles for underwater exploration. The field laboratory’s first deployment after refurbishment will be to the Weybourne Atmospheric Observatory on the north Norfolk coast http://weybourne.uea.ac.uk/. Here we’ll join the ICOZA field campaign investigating tropospheric ozone production in “aged pollution” advected from London versus cleaner air coming off the North Sea. In particular, the Leicester group will measure the ambient concentrations of nitryl chloride (ClNO2) and its precursor N2O5. It has been proposed that chlorine atoms produced from the photolysis of ClNO2 enhance the atmosphere’s oxidising capacity. 

Pete (very skilfully) loads the field laboratory, 20th April 2015 [S Ball]
Pete (very skilfully) loads the field laboratory, 20th April 2015 [S Ball]

Research Snippet #10 (June15) – Role of Chemistry in Earth’s Climate

Prof. Paul Monks with former Leicester colleague Erika von Schneidemesser, now at IASS Potsdam, have led a major review exploring Air Quality and Climate interactions as part of a Chemical Reviews special issue on the “Role of Chemistry in Earth’s climate”.

The review shows how air pollution and climate change are strongly linked to critical environmental issues with consequences for human health, ecosystems and general current and future quality of life.   These linkages are not only in the overlap in emissions sources of air pollutants and greenhouse gases, or possible policy options, but also in the atmospheric properties, processes, and chemistry that link these two areas. The review gives the broader context touching on all of these linkages but focuses on the most relevant atmospheric chemistry aspects at the intersection of air pollution and climate change.

Role of Chemistry in Earth's Climate

Research Snippet #11 (June 15) - Magnetic high throughput screening system for the development of nano-sized molecularly imprinted polymers for controlled delivery of curcumin

A novel and interesting work has been done by the Leicester Biotechnology group on the development of the high throughput screening system for the preparation of controlled release materials. This involved the preparation of magnetic nano-sized Molecularly Imprinted Polymers (nanoMIPs) for the controlled delivery of curcumin and their high throughput characterisation using microtitre plates modified with magnetic inserts.

Snippet #11 (2015) image 1Curcumin, which was selected as a model compound for this study, is a versatile anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agent known for its low bioavailability, which could be improved by developing materials capable of binding and releasing drug in a controlled fashion.

The project was conducted last summer by a group of Level 2 students who wanted to get experience working in the analytical laboratory during their summer holidays. The team included four students from the Chemistry department (Agata Krakowiak, Anitha Parmar, Demi Pink and Luke Wharton) and a Medical Biochemistry student Katie Wall. A PhD student Bashar Abd and a work experience student Adam McGrath have been also involved in the project.

Snippet #11 (image 2)

As a result of a six-week project a protocol for the preparation of magnetic nanoMIPs and their rapid screening has been developed. It was shown that it is possible to prepare magnetic nanoMIPs exhibiting a steady release of curcumin with various rates, which suggests that such materials could be used as drug delivery systems. It was demonstrated that the magnetic properties of the synthesised particles in combination with microtitre plate equipped with magnetic inserts allows for the development of new bespoke drug delivery materials and for an optimisation of the polymer compositions quickly and effectively. The proposed approach and optimised protocols are generic and could be used as a blueprint for the development of materials for the controlled release of any drug of interest.

During the project students mastered a number of useful techniques (computational modelling, polymer preparation, characterisation and testing), successfully performed a synthesis of the iniferter required for the project and also prepared a first draft of the research manuscript which has been recently published in the special issue of the Analyst RSC dedicated to the development of the Analytical Science in the UK, Analyst, 140, 3113-3120 [DOI: 10.1039/C4AN02292K]. The success of this enterprise is a good example of how a combination of motivation and interest from academics and students could enrich the learning and research. 

Concert in Memory of Martin Harger

University of Leicester Musicians present a Programme of Music in Celebration of the life of Dr Martin Harger, Reader in Chemistry. Click on the link below for details

PDF document icon Martin Harger Poster Poster (Richard Attenborugh Centre) (3).pdf — PDF document, 98 kB (100441 bytes)

Research Snippet #12 (June 2015) - Impact factor of Electrochimica Acta increases further

2014 journal impact factors have just been announced. The impact factor of Electrochimica Acta, edited by Prof. Rob Hillman, has increased from last year’s figure of 4.086 to its highest ever value of 4.504. Electrochimica Acta (http://www.journals.elsevier.com/electrochimica-acta/) is the Society journal of the International Society of Electrochemistry (http://www.ise-online.org/), an organization with over 3500 members in ca. 65 countries.

Electrochimica ActaThe journal is edited by a globally distributed team of 11 editors (of whom Rob Hillman is Editor in Chief). It receives approaching 5000 manuscripts annually, over three times the submission rate a decade ago, of which the best ca. 40% are selected for publication. It covers the full remit of ISE’s scientific divisions (Analytical Electrochemistry, Bioelectrochemistry, Electrochemical Energy Conversion and Storage, Electrochemical Materials Science, Electrochemical Process Engineering and Technology, Molecular Electrochemistry and Physical Electrochemistry), contributing to solution of a wide range of fundamental, technological and societal challenges. The relevance of these topics is evidenced by the download rate of articles from the journal, which is now routinely over 300,000 per month. Following a very well attended and successful event at the Society’s annual meeting in Lausanne last September, Rob Hillman will be running another author workshop at the Society’s annual meeting in Taiwan in October.

Research Snippet #13 (July 2015) - Electrochromic polymers applied to forensic science

Rachel Sapstead, Natalie Corden and Professor Rob Hillman have recently published a paper on the use of electrochromic polymer films for visualization of latent (non-visible) fingerprints on metallic objects. (“Latent fingerprint enhancement via conducting electrochromic copolymer films of pyrrole and 3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene on stainless steel”, Electrochimica Acta, 162, 2015, 119-128; doi:  10.1016/j.electacta.2014.11.061). This work was carried out during Rachel’s PhD and Natalie’s final year MChem project and was presented at the Spring 2014 International Society of Electrochemistry meeting in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Snippet #13 (June 15) pic 1

The concept is that latent fingerprint deposits are electrically insulating, to the point where they “mask” parts of a metal surface onto which they have been deposited. Thus, electrochemical reactions – here, electrodeposition of a coloured polymer – are directed to regions of bare metal surface. This generates a negative image of the fingerprint with high sensitivity and optical contrast. The concept was previously demonstrated using homopolymer films (made from aniline and 3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene, EDOT), whose optical properties (colour) can be manipulated via applied voltage to optimise visual contrast. The novelty of this latest work is use of a series of pyrrole/EDOT copolymers, to expand the available colour palette.

Snippet #13 (June 15) pic 2

The work uses a combination of electrochemistry, microscopy and spectroscopy to control polymer nucleation/growth, acquire film morphology (exemplified by the bifurcation seen above) and determine copolymer composition. The last of these is exploited in the false colour images of a latent fingerprint on stainless steel enhanced by potentiostatic electrodeposition of a poly(pyrrole-co-EDOT) film in which the images represent spectral intensity across the IR range (left panel), for the pyrrole N-H stretch at 3402 cm-1 (centre panel) and for the EDOT C-O stretch at 1228 cm-1 (right panel). This facility to image by composition will be of value in discriminating against background effects when the method is applied to real evidence, for example in knife crime and other violent crime.

International perspectives on Peptide Research

Naomi Robertson with posterNaomi Roberston, a 3rd year PhD student working in the Jamieson Group was recently awarded a prestigious travel grant from the American Peptide Society to attend the American Peptide Symposium 2015 in Orlando, Florida. This years symposium theme was Enabling Peptide Research from Basic Science to Drug Discovery. Naomi presented her research focusing on novel histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors as cancer therapeutics to an international audience and reached the finals of the poster competition. The cross disciplinary project is a collaboration with Professor John Schwabe (Department of Biochemistry).

Naomi said "getting the opportunity to attend a symposium in the USA was incredible, not only did I get to meet some of the international stars of peptide drug discovery, I was humbled to reach the finals of such a prestigious poster competition. This experience has cemented in my mind that I want to further my career in chemical biology as a postdoctoral research fellow."

Research from the Jamieson Group was well represented at the symposium with collaborator Prof. Mike Shipman (University of Warwick) giving an invited presentation on oxetane based peptidomimetics synthesised in the Centre for Chemical Biology.

Research Snippet #14 (July 15) - Spectroscopic studies of haem chemistry in heart cells reveal mechanisms of cardiac stress

An international collaboration between researchers at the Universities of Leicester and Monash, in Victoria (Australia), has recently been published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. The work has also been extensively funded by the Royal Society through awards of research and international exchanges grants.

The research utilised a custom-built instrument for Raman microspectroscopy in Dr Hudson’s laboratory at Leicester to study the dynamics of myoglobin and cytochrome c in isolated cardiomyocytes during hypoxia and hyperoxic reoxygenation. Expertise in the spectroscopy of heamoproteins was provided by Sofia Kapetanaki (Leicester) and Bayden Wood (Monash) and expertise in cell physiology was provided by Dr Nina Storey (Leicester),

Cardiomyocytes are the muscle cells that undergo continuous and repetitive contraction enabling the human heart to beat 2.5 – 3 billion times in the average lifetime of 70-80 years. The intracellular haemoproteins, myoglobin and cytochrome c, play a crucial role in providing the energy to maintain cardiac muscle contraction. During and immediately after a myocardial infarction (heart attack), approximately 1 billion cardiomyocytes in the left ventricle undergo rapid cell death leading to cardiac muscle damage and loss of function.  The current best therapeutic treatment is timely reperfusion of ischaemic tissue using thrombolysis or primary percutaneous coronary intervention to supply the cardiac muscle with oxygenated blood. Although reperfusion of the ischaemic cardiac muscle is essential to salvage function, there is a paradoxical trade-off as the sudden reoxygenation causes ‘reperfusion injury’ which results in yet further death of cardiomyocytes. In this reported research, Raman microspectroscopy was used to monitor cellular changes in isolated cardiomyocytes during experimental simulations that mimic the low to high transitions in oxygen levels in the reperfusion of ischaemic cardiac tissue.

Snippet #14 (2015)

A sequence of images taken of a single ventricular cardiomyocyte in (A.) an initial resting state, (B.) an intermediate contracted state and (C.) a final resting state. The contraction occurred spontaneously, without electrical stimulation. Image size is approximately 40 by 60 mm.

(D.) Raman spectrum of a single cardiomyocyte in Tyrode solution.

Article:

A. Almohammedi, S. M. Kapetanaki, B. R. Wood, E. L. Raven, N. M. Storey and A. J. Hudson “Spectroscopic analysis of myoglobin and cytochrome c dynamics in isolated cardiomyocytes during hypoxia and reoxygenation.”

J. Royal Soc. Interface 2015, 12, 20141339.

90 Years of Chemistry at Leicester

90 Years of Chemistry at Leicester pic 1On Saturday 27th June the Chemistry Department started its 90th birthday celebrations as part of the University Homecoming event. In 1925 the University College Leicester took in its first three students to study Chemistry and in the intervening years over 3500 students have graduated from the Department. It was therefore fitting that 90 graduates many from the 1960s attended our latest reunion.

90 Years of Chemistry at Leicester pic 2Graduates were treated to a trip down memory lane with photographs and documents from the archive as well of a tour outlining current research and teaching activities. As part of our celebrations the Head of Department Prof Emma Raven (also a Leicester Graduate) talked about the legacy of the Department and cut a cake to mark the event.

 

Research Snippet #15 (August 15) – New paper highlighted by journal on mapping organic reactivity in secondary organic aerosol formation

A new paper from the Atmospheric Chemistry group in the Department of Chemistry in collaboration with a number of major UK groups describes a new ensemble methodology for the statistical analysis of atmospheric gas- & particle-phase composition data sets. The methodology reduces the huge amount of data derived from many chamber experiments to show that organic reactivity & resultant particle formation can be mapped into unique clusters in statistical space. The model generated is used to map more realistic plant mesocosm oxidation data, the projection of which gives insight into reactive pathways & precursors.  The paper was selected as a highlight article by the journal - Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics

Snippet #15 August 2015

Leicester Department of Chemistry in Top 10 for Student Satisfaction

The Department of Chemistry at the University of Leicester is delighted to announce that we have scored an overall satisfaction rating of 95% in the 2015 National Student Survey (NSS).

The NSS is a census of almost half a million final year students in UK universities which is conducted annually. The NSS gives final year students the opportunity to provide feedback on their course and their overall university experience.

The survey was completed earlier this year by 71 of our final year students shortly before graduation. This score places us in the top ten chemistry departments in England for student satisfaction.

Research Snippet #16 (August 2015) – Landmark review on tropospheric ozone

Ozone holds a certain fascination in atmospheric science. It is ubiquitous in the atmosphere, central to tropospheric oxidation chemistry, and yet harmful to human and ecosystem health as well as being an important greenhouse gas. It is not emitted into the atmosphere but is a byproduct of the very oxidation chemistry it largely initiates. A major international review has lead by Prof. Paul Monks from the Department of Chemstry has been published in the Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.  The review examines current understanding of the processes regulating tropospheric ozone at global to local scales from both the measurement and model standpoint.  The review shows that there remain a number of clear challenges for ozone such as explaining surface trends, incorporating new chemical understanding, ozone–climate coupling and a better assessment of impacts.

Research Snippet #16 Aug 15
Schematic representation of the interactions of ozone in the earth system

Chemistry Department collaborates with local business

The Department of Chemistry has been advising Leicester company Just Egg on recycling of its waste products.

Please see the Leicester Mercury article for the full story.

Leicester Chemistry Glassblower Appears on Primetime TV Show

The Department of Chemistry’s Scientific Glassblower Gayle Price appeared on the BBC One prime time television show The One Show on Wednesday August 26th. Gayle appeared in a film demonstrating her glassblowing skills as she assembled a glass coil condenser using a variety of techniques. Gayle also appeared live on the programme with the one and only Stephen Fry.  Gayle presented Stephen with a specially crafted piece of glassware, a Klein jar, as a birthday gift. Klein jars are a mathematicians delight and Stephen recognised what it was immediately. Gayle’s appearance on the programme gave the general public a fantastic insight into the highly skilled and essential services that glassblowers provide for scientific laboratories.

A link to a local newspaper article about Gayle's appearance on the programme can be found here.

Research Snippet #17 (November 15) – New methods for putting fluorine into drug molecules

Work in the fluorine group led by Dr Alison Stuart from the Department of Chemistry is designing new fluorination synthetic methods for the incorporation of fluorine into drug candidate molecules, an important strategy for developing new pharmaceutical products. Ten of the top thirty best-selling pharmaceutical products contain at least one fluorine atom.

Research Snippet #17 (November 15)

Recent research has resulted in a new and mild method for the synthesis of fluorinated lactones using a stable fluoroiodane reagent in combination with AgBF4. This unique reaction incorporates a cyclization, aryl migration and a fluorination all in one step. The fluoroiodane reagent is a relatively new fluorinating reagent which was developed here at Leicester. The most exciting result is that the fluoroiodane reagent can also be used without a metal catalyst to give moderate yields within just 1 hour. This is the first evidence that the fluoroiodane is a suitable new reagent for preparing 18F-labelled radiotracers, which are currently inaccessible with conventional nucleophilic fluorination chemistry, for PET imaging.

The paper has been published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2015, 54, doi: 10.1002/anie.201507790.

Research Snippet #18 (November 15) – Twenty years for new text

Emma Raven has recently finalized publication of her first text on Heme Peroxidases.1 This joint venture, with Prof Brian Dunford (University of Alberta) is part of the RSC Metallobiology textbook series. The objective was to bring together a collection of research contributions all focused on various aspects of heme peroxidases and examined, for the most part, through the prism of heme protein structure and mechanism. A travel grant from the Daiwa Foundation supported some of the early stages of the work.  

Emma Raven said “I’ve wanted to write a text book since I first arrived in Leicester in 1995. It took 20 years, but finally I have managed it!" 

Research Snippet #18

1 Title: Heme Peroxidases, Edited by: Raven, Emma and Dunford, Brian, Imprint and Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry, Series: RSC Metallobiology, (2015), Print ISBN: 978-1-84973-911-5, PDF eISBN: 978-1-78262-262-8, DOI: 10.1039/9781782622628

 

 

 

Success for Chemistry in 2016 National Student Survey (NSS)

The University of Leicester’s Department of Chemistry has received an exceptionally positive set of responses in the 2016 National Student Survey (NSS), indicating a very high level of student satisfaction with our degree programmes. The overall level of student satisfaction with the course is 95% which confirms our position as one of the top chemistry courses in the UK.

NSS 2016 Pic 2

Our Department has some of the best chemistry lecturers in the UK with 99% of our students indicating that our staff are good at explaining things (the third best score on this question in the UK) and we have one of the most stimulating courses in the UK, with 98% of our students getting an intellectual boost out of our degree programmes (the fourth best score on this question in the UK).  

The Department prides itself on placing employability at the heart of the curriculum by using innovative teaching approaches such as Context- and Problem-Based Learning and by giving students the opportunity to go on year-long industrial placements.

The NSS responses reflect the development of employability skills including 92% of students agreeing that the course has improved their communication skills, 89% agreeing that the course helped them to present themselves with confidence and 94% (the third best score on this question in the UK) agreeing that the course helped them tackle unfamiliar problems.

To find out more about the student experience at Leicester, sign up for one of our Open Days where you will get a chance to meet current students, talk to our lecturers and experience some of our teaching.

https://le.ac.uk/student-life/undergraduates/open-days

Prof Andy Abbott helps scotch egg company crack problem of waste

Leicester-based egg processing plant Just Egg hard boils and peels 1.5m eggs a week for snacks such as egg mayonnaise and Scotch eggs, creating mountains of shells to dispose of. It’s a dilemma the company’s owner, Pankaj Pancholi, has been keen to crack since he launched the business 14 years ago.

In 2012, Pancholi teamed up with Prof Andy Abbott and scientists at Leicester University to find a cost-effective, sustainable way to recycle the shells.

Abbott’s department set to work designing a plant to make this eggshell powder. Because Just Egg has to dispose of eggshells swiftly to avoid the rot, the eggshell processing plant was built as an extension to the existing factory, with the eggshells passing through on a conveyor belt to be processed.

Each egg produces about 15g of shell and the team has been stockpiling the powder, awaiting the first order. Abbott has been spreading the word about the product and says there has been interest from “hundreds” of plastics companies. “[Polypropylene] plastics are £2,000 a tonne, so you can save a fortune by putting 30 to 40% of eggshell in there as a filler,” says Abbott.

Professor Karl Ryder highlights importance of 'super-batteries' at House of Lords

Among a variety of topics discussed, Professor Ryder delivered a presentation explaining how the academic community is addressing technical and funding challenges associated with innovation and development of new battery technologies.

Professor Ryder said: "This proved to be a valuable opportunity to showcase the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) and the activities of the University conducted by myself, Robert Hillman and Andrew Abbott, as well as to influence policy makers and take questions from the members."

Examples of how the University's Materials Centre is engaging with industry through EU and Innovate UK funding to develop new metal plating technologies and charge storage membranes were also presented.

Macmillan Coffee Morning

Thank you to all department members who supported our Macmillan Coffee morning on Monday 12th September, whether by baking, organising the event or buying cakes!

So far we have raised over £230 for Macmillan Cancer care.

Leicester teaching focused academics take committee positions for RSC Interest Group

Dr Dylan Williams, who is serving his second year as secretary to the RSC's Tertiary Education Group is joined by Dr Richard Blackburn in his new role as memberships officer.

Both are "delighted" to be involved in this key UK group that promotes discussion, development and dissemination of practice within chemical higher education. RSC TEG is also responsible for organising the UK’s biggest chemical education conference, Variety in Chemical Education (jointly run with Physic Higher Education Conference).

Prof Emma Raven appointed to head key RSC division

Congratulations to Prof. Emma Raven who has been appointed as the chair of the RSC's Dalton division - we wish Emma all the best in her new role!

Academic nominated for National Teaching Fellowship Scheme

On the teaching side, Dr Dylan Williams has been selected as an institutional nominee for the National Teaching Fellowship scheme. The university will allocate a current NTF to act as his mentor for a second stage application, before it is submitted to the HEA. Good luck with that Dylan.

Chemistry department staff selected as Fellow of Electrochemical Society

Prof Rob Hillman was nominated and has recently been selected as Fellow of the Electrochemical Society 2016. This is a prestigious international award from the community of electrochemists in recognition of sustained, outstanding scientific achievement and service. Rob is also the Editor in Chief of Electrochemical Acta, which has increased its impact factor to 4.8. This journal covers the whole spectrum of of electrochemistry and has more published papers (over 2300) than any other electrochemistry journal.

Leicester Department of Chemistry Climbs in National League Tables

The Department of Chemistry at the University of Leicester has improved its standing in both The Guardian and The Times & Sunday Times League Tables for 2017. The department is rated as 21st for chemistry in The Guardian (climbing from 28th last year) and 23rd in The Times & Sunday Times (climbing from 30th last year). The improvement in the Department’s position in national league tables is a reflection of the high quality teaching and outstanding student experience that was recently highlighted by our 95% overall satisfaction score in the 2016 National Student Survey as well as the department's excellent research that was recognised in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework.

Leicester Chemists Announced as Finalists for Teaching Award

Dr. Dylan Williams & Dr. Richard Blackburn have both been selected as finalists for the University’s Discovering Excellence Award in the category of Teaching Excellence.

These teaching dominant academics have been shortlisted out of 200 nominations (all categories) to attend the inaugural awards event this November and although only one finalist can be awarded in each category, getting this far is a fantastic achievement for both of them.

Dr. Dylan Williams has developed and researched the use of chemistry based Context and Problem Based Learning resources in the Chemistry and Natural Sciences degree programmes. Dylan’s current research is focused on the development of student attitudes of key discipline-based and workplace skills throughout a programme of study and the impact of different teaching and learning approaches on these attitudes.

Having joined the university in 2015 Dr. Richard Blackburn prides himself on the delivery of innovative teaching practices for the organic, biological and practical modules of the Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Chemistry degree programs. Richard “thoroughly enjoys sharing his passion, stories and knowledge of chemistry with the students” and
feels very “humbled to be even shortlisted for this award at such an early stage of his career”.

Both Dylan and Richard feel “privileged to belong to such a creative and innovative department” and “look forward to showcasing and developing” chemistry’s outstanding teaching practices alongside their equally committed colleagues.

Discovering Excellence Awards

Outreach Event ‐ Air quality and Environmental Chemistry in Manchester

Dr Zoe Fleming organised an Environmental Chemistry

outreach stall with 10 volunteers from universities

(including the new PhD student Marios Panagi) and

teaching or outreach jobs around the UK. The event was held at the

Runway visitor centre at Manchester airport.

The event had 60 stalls from various environmental

research, communication or charitable organisations

and was organised by the Natural Environment

Research Council (NERC) to showcase the UK’s

research aircraft that was available for public visits.

5000 visitors came to the exhibit and the activities we

put on ranged from ocean acidification

demonstrations, to filtering contaminated water with

zeolites, to extracting microplastics from soils, as well

as demonstrating small sensors for air quality

measurements.

Dr Teresa Raventos, with strong links to the Chemistry

Department, showed off the electric car we have used

for air pollution studies with her “Are electric cars the

solution to pollution” stall at the event.

Prof. Rob Hillman presents at JSPS – London research promotion conference

Our departmental chair of research, Prof. Rob Hillman presented at the Embassy of Japan in the UK as part of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) strategic event for international research collaborations.

 

The purpose of the event was to provide an important opportunity for networking between JSPS Alumni who have experience of taking part in a JSPS international funding programme in Japan, and members of JBUK, Japanese researchers Based in the UK, as well as their colleagues and students. There were over 120 attendees from institutions and funding organisations based in the UK.

 

Full details and the rest of the event’s report are available at:

http://www.jsps.org/news/2016/11/jsps-london-japan-uk-research-promotion-conference-2016-1.html

Leicester Research selected for BBC’s Terrific Science

The research efforts of Prof. Andy Ellis, Adam Smith and Adrian Boatwright in to the Mpemba effect in water has been selected and adapted for use as a country-wide schools (years 9-11) experiment for the BBC’s Terrific Scientific resources. Terrific Scientific is an ambitious new campaign from the BBC. Our goal is to inspire primary school pupils to discover their inner scientist.

 

You can view this resource online at the address below, our work has inspired investigation 2 - Water.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/terrificscientific

Prof. Emma Raven part of team that unveils hidden step in enzyme mechanism

Former Head of department Prof Emma Raven, and her colleagues from Leicester’s Institute of Structural and Chemical Biology have announced their breakthrough advance trapping an intermediate in the mechanism of enzymes called heme peroxidases in Nature Communications.

 

The full press release can be found on the University’s news pages:

http://www2.le.ac.uk/news/blog/2016-archive/november/study-reveals-mysteries-of-enzyme-mechanism

Dr Dylan Williams part of team announced as HEA award finalists

 

Congratulations to Dr Dylan Williams and the Centre for Interdisciplinary Science teaching team who have been announced as finalists for the Higher Education Academy’s prestigious Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence.

The Centre for Interdisciplinary Science at the University of Leicester comprises a strongly collaborative teaching team delivering the University’s innovative Natural Sciences undergraduate programme. Over 12 years the team has developed a unique programme of interdisciplinary modules taught by problem-based learning (PBL) that integrates employability skills through authentic assessments.
The core PBL facilitation is delivered by the teaching team, with lecture contributions from around 50 research academics. The team consists of Sarah Gretton (director and biology tutor), Cheryl Hurkett (physics tutor), Dylan Williams (chemistry tutor) and Derek Raine (programme founder). The team, all of whom have HEA Fellowships and discipline based PhDs, use pedagogic research and scholarship to provide the evidence base for the development and dissemination of the programme.

CATE Award

 

Dr Dylan Williams part of team announced as HEA award finalists

Leicester Biotechnology Group plays key role at Global Congress

 

 

Prof. Sergey A. Piletsky from the University of Leicester's Chemistry department, presented at the Bioelectronics and Biosensors Congress 2016 on 17th - 18th November 2016.

Prof Piletsky presenting

attendees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prof. Piletsky gave a talk entitled 'can synthetic receptors replace monoclonal antibodies in diagnostic and in vivo applications?' Delegates included students and research staff and representatives from industries and research institutes. Students also attended the Congress, including Omar Ahmad Sheej (2nd year PhD student) and Hasim Munawar (1st year MPhil student) and reported that they found learning directly from experts inspiring and helpful for their future careers.

Hydrogen clusters go negative: a new form of condensed hydrogen

Synopsis figure

Professor Andrew Ellis at the University of Leicester and colleagues at the University of Innsbruck and the Free University Berlin have discovered a new form of solid hydrogen. Publishing in the world’s leading physics journal, Physical Review Letters, this team has shown that hydrogen can be condensed in a negatively charged form. Theorists long ago predicted that large hydrogen clusters may form in outer space and laboratory experiments confirmed the existence of positively charged clusters 40 years ago. Negatively charged clusters (or anions) have proved more elusive. This new form of hydrogen is produced by capturing many neutral hydrogen molecules inside a droplet of extremely cold liquid helium. A low energy electron is then added to the droplet, which attaches to one of the hydrogen molecules and causes it to rupture. Left behind is a hydride anion, a single hydrogen atom with an extra electron. This anion then attracts the surrounding hydrogen molecules and they form regular and highly symmetrical structures around it. This study has shown not only that such structures can form, but also that they survive for long enough to detect with techniques such as mass spectrometry. This work opens up the possibility of exploring the physical and chemical properties of this new form of hydrogen, including quantum exchange effects.

 

More information can be find at the following link: http://physics.aps.org/synopsis-for/10.1103/PhysRevLett.117.273001#

 

Staff and students take part in Wolf Run for charity

On 5th November 2016 7 members of the Chemistry department (staff and students) and friends took part in a Wolf run (10K obstacle course in the middle of winter)  dressed as superheroes to raise money for Macmillan cancer support.

Wolf Run1

So far the group have raised over £450 for the charity and would love to make their £500 target. For further information please see the following webpage http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=TheFreeRadicals&isTeam=true

Congratulations to Dr Andrew Ballantyne, Dr Robert Harris, Dr Alex Goddard, Shannon Stodd, Emma Palin, Annelies Voorhaar, Thalassa Valkenburg, James Peake and Tom Garwood for all their fundraising efforts.

wolf run 5wolf run 2

Chemistry Department staff raise £150 for Parkinson's UK

Parkinsons UK

 

On Monday 12th December Chemistry department staff enjoyed a 'Christmas-themed' Bake Sale in aid of Parkinson's UK. In total £150 was raised for the charity.

Cakes included a star-wars themed Christmas cake, Christmas cupcakes, gingerbread men and Christmas trees, mince pies and a chocolate torte.

Many thanks to all involved. For more information about Parkinson's UK and the work they do please see the following webpage https://www.parkinsons.org.uk/content/about-parkinsons 

Dr Karim nominated for a British Muslim Award for services to science and engineering

Thousands of nominations have been received from the public for The British Muslim Awards, which is testament to breadth of talent and success, making it apparent that British Muslims across the nation are waving the flag of success.

Kal.jpgDr Kal Karim, Leicester Biotechnology Group, Department of Chemistry, University of Leicester has been shortlisted in the Science and Engineering category. Dr Kal Karim will find out if he will be named winner at the glamorous ceremony being held in Leicester.

 

“I am delighted to have been nominated for such a prestigious award and look forward to meeting all the talented finalists”

The fifth annual awards aim to recognise a wide range of achievements, covering various aspects of society, including business, charity, sport, arts and culture and much more.

The black tie ceremony, will take place at the Athena Hotel in Leicester on Wednesday January 25.

The evening will be a celebration of success as well as reflecting upon the significant role of Britain’s Muslims in society.

Finalist Logo - British Muslim Awards 2017.jpg

Irfan Younis event organisers of Oceanic Consulting said:  “We are humbled and honoured by the support from the public who have voted in their thousands, resulting in an impressive list of finalists. The awards aim to celebrate individuals and companies that contribute in making a better Great Britain.”

Leicester chemist wins British Muslim Award

Dr Kal Karim’s work was recognised with a British Muslim Award last night.

 Kal Award

Dr Kal Karim with his award in the George Porter Building.

On Wednesday 25 January, the British Muslim Awards took place at The Athena in Leicester city centre. Launched in 2013, the awards celebrate the successes, achievements and contribution of Britain's Muslims to British society. This year’s award for Services to Science and Engineering went to Dr Kal Karim, Senior Lecturer in Organic and Computational Chemistry in the University’s Department of Chemistry.

“I was humbled and delighted to have won the award for Services to Science and Engineering at the British Muslim Awards last night” said Kal. “This is the accumulation of many years of hard work but is also a collective effort of Leicester Biotechnology Group and many colleagues who have supported me throughout my career”.

“I am hoping that the award will inspire students particularly those from BME backgrounds that they have dedicated teachers and educators that will help them nurture their enthusiasm and talent to be successful in pursuing a career in science and engineering”.

Congratulations Kal from everyone at the University!

Chemistry Department strongly represented in the 2017 House of Commons STEM for Britain Competition

We are delighted to report that three of our students: Georgina GirtCharlotte Pughe and Jodie Coulston (L to R) have been shortlisted to showcase their excellent research in the House of Commons.

STEM for BRITAIN (formerly SET for Britain), an annual poster competition in the House of Commons which was started in 1997 by Dr Eric Wharton. The overall aim is to encourage, support and promote Britain's early-stage and early-career research scientists, engineers, technologists and mathematicians who are an essential part of continuing progress and development of UK research and R&D.

The national competition is organized by the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee together with Mrs. Sue Wharton and the learned societies, including the Royal Society of Chemistry.  In order to encourage maximum participation by early-career researchers and Members of Parliament the competition is divided into five subject areas: Biological and Biomedical Science; Chemistry; Physics; Engineering; Mathematics.

STEM for BRITAIN Awards are made on the basis of the very best research work and results by an early-stage or early-career researchers together with their ability to communicate their work to a lay audience. There are gold, silver and bronze medals and cash prizes awarded in each of the subject areas.  The overall winner is picked by members of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee from the gold medal winners in each of the subject areas and receives the Westminster Medal.

There were over 500 posters submitted this year for this prestigious event and the Department has been very successful in getting 3 posters shortlisted. Jodie Coulston will be presenting her poster entitled “Nucleation and growth phenomena of silver in physical developer for latent fingerprint development” in the Physical Sciences Session. She will be describing her cutting edge research into methods for visualising latent fingerprints on a range of objects likely to be of relevance in crime detection.  Charlotte Pughe will be presenting her poster entitled “A tale of nanomagnetics: Freezing the atomic spins” in the Physical Sciences Session. She will be describing her work on developing nanomaterials with high magnetic moments that have a range of important potential applications in biomedical diagnosis and treatment and as building blocks in magnetic materials. Georgina Girt will be presenting her poster entitled “Synthesis of teixobactin analogues: Small cyclic peptidomimetic drugs to combat antibiotic resistance” in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Session. She will be describing her work on the synthesis of novel analogues of the recently discovered antibiotic teixobactin in studies aimed at the discovery of new agents to treat methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Professor Paul Cullis has been asked by the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee and the RSC to be one of the national judges of the Chemistry Posters in the Physical Sciences Session, a role that he has fulfilled since 2009.

Ferromagnetic chromium discovered!

Dr Shengfu Yang in the NanoChemistry Group has discovered ferromagnetism in antiferromagnetic chromium for the first time. The ferromagnetism is due to the abundant unbalanced surface spins created in the chromium nanoparticles as they grow via a frustrated aggregation process in superfluid helium. This finding suggests that antiferromagnetic elements such as chromium and manganese can be incorporated into novel nanomagnets with improved magnetic properties if properly tailored (Advanced Materials 29, 1604277, 2017).

Dr Elena Piletska selected to sit on key panels

ElenaDr Elena Piletska has been selected to sit on a major investment assessment panel: Biofilms Innovation Knowledge Centre (IKC). BBSRC and Innovate UK have recently launched the second phase of the UK Biofilms Programme to establish a Biofilms Innovation Knowledge Centre (IKC). A five year investment of approximately £12.5M will be provided to establish the IKC alongside an in-kind contribution of up to £1M worth of access to the High Performance Computing facilities within the Hartree Centre at the Science and Technology Facilities Council's (STFC) Daresbury Laboratory. BBSRC are now accepting applications from the research community to establish a Biofilms IKC.

For more information please view the Biofilms IKC call document attached or visit our UK Biofilms Programme webpage:

http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/innovation/collaboration/collaborative-programmes/biofilms-programme/

Elena has also been appointed by COST Association as External Expert for the evaluation of proposals submitted for the Open Call OC-2016-2. COST (www.cost.eu) is an intergovernmental framework for European Cooperation in Science and Technology, allowing the coordination of nationally-funded research on a European level.

We wish Elena well in both these roles.

Antibody-free blood typing

S. S. Piletsky, S. Rabinowicz, Z. Yanga, C. Zagara, E. V. Piletska, A. Guerreiro and S. A. Piletsky have published a paper entitled “Development of Molecularly Imprinted Polymers specific for blood antigens for application in antibody-free blood typing”. The paper describes the synthesis of paramagnetic molecularly imprinted nanoparticles with binding sites specific to blood antigen trisaccharides.

blood typing

This paper highlights their application in a bloodtype test as an alternative to commonly used antibodies. It describes a successful molecular imprinting of oligosaccharides, a class of molecules rarely addressed by molecular imprinters.

The paper featured on the front cover of Chemical Communications. For a link to the ChemComm website click here

New Lectureship Posts in Chemical Biology

The Department of Chemistry is recruiting to two new lectureship posts in Chemical Biology. Please see this page for further details about these posts and other posts currently being advertised by the Leicester Institute for Structural and Chemical Biology. The closing date for applications is midnight on 24th April 2017.

RSC Organic Division Midlands Meeting to be held at the University of Leicester's Chemistry Department

RSC logo

This year’s RSC Organic Division Midlands Meeting will be held on Wednesday 5th April in the Department of Chemistry (George Porter Building) at the University of Leicester.

The plenary speaker will be Professor Andy Wilson from the University of Leeds who is the 2016 recipient of the RSC Norman Heatley Award:

http://www.rsc.org/ScienceAndTechnology/Awards/NormanHeatleyAward/

As well as Andy’s lecture, we can look forward to excellent talks from the following speakers:

Dr Ben Partridge, University of Sheffield

Dr Alan Jones, University of Birmingham

Dr James Hodgkinson, University of Leicester

Dr Matt Jenner, University of Warwick

Dr Paul Roach, Loughborough University

Dr Christoph Loenarz, University of Nottingham

Please find the programme for the day here

Registration is free, but you must register by completing the registration form here and sending it to chemadmin@le.ac.uk by Friday 24th March. There is also the opportunity for PhD students and postdoctoral researchers to present a poster and the poster title must be submitted on the registration form.

Dr Zoe Fleming featured on BBC Inside Out

Dr Zoe Fleming from the Department of Chemistry and a Research Scientist for the National Centre for Atmospheric Science recently featured on BBC Inside Out (starting 3:55). In the piece she discusses city centre air pollution and its effects on pedestrians. More information about the NERC-funded air quality project Zoe was a part of is available here. You can also find out more via the team's Twitter: @NCASAirWeShare.

Zoe

Leicester Research highlighted in Fingermark Visualisation Newsletter

Work conducted at Leicester by Jodie Coulson and Professor Robert Hillman has been featured in the March issue of the Home Office’s Fingermark Visualisation Newsletter. The full publication which provides an update on their research into nucleation and growth phenomena of metal-based latent fingerprint technologies can be found online:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fingermark-visualisation-update-march-2017

Fingermark Visualisation Newsletter

Science at Leicester establishes key collaboration

In his most recent visit to China Dr Kal Karim, on behalf of the College of Science and Engineering signed a cooperation agreement to establish a joint research laboratory with the College of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science, Tianjin University of Science and Technology, Tianjin, China.Tianjin signing

Chemistry at Leicester rises in Complete Universities Guide League Table 2018

The Department of Chemistry has once again increased its ranking in a key league table, placing it 29th in the UK, with the university as a whole being 1 of only 3 in the east midlands to achieve a top 30 ranking. This continued improvement in league tables comes as a result of our continued investment in state of the art facilities, innovative teaching and our strong research portfolio. The focus of our department towards the highest quality teaching and student experience has resulted in consistently high overall student satisfaction of 95% in both the 2015 and 2016 National Student Satisfaction survey, and places us joint 3rd for student satisfaction in this league table.

 

The full ranking list for chemistry departments can be found on-line here:

https://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/league-tables/rankings?o=Student+Satisfaction&s=Chemistry

PhD student receives poster prize at Midlands Electrochemistry Group meeting

Marian Perera has been awarded a prize for her poster presented at the regional sub-set of the RSC Electrochemistry Group's one-day student meeting. Her poster titled, "Application of the combined electrochemical quartz crystal microbalance and probe beam deflection technique for Ag-Bi Alloy Film Deposition and Dissolution in deep eutectic solvents", reports the results of her Ph.D work for Professors Rob Hillman and Karl Ryder.

Marian’s research involves fabrication and characterisation of metal films and investigating electrode-electrolyte interfacial kinetics during metal deposition-dissolution. Ag-Bi alloys can produce coatings with enhanced hardness, wear resistance, decreased porosity and thence better resistance to corrosion. Marian is currently investigating the possibility of these alloys being deposited from an environmentally benign medium Deep Eutectic Solvents. For the winning poster, she reported observations of the deposition of metal films using the combined electrochemical quartz crystal microbalance (EQCM) / probe beam deflection (PBD) technique. The data obtained through the experiments have been used to deduce mechanistic details of film deposition and alloy component interdiffusion.  Experiments conducted thus far indicate  that it is possible to electrodeposit Ag/Bi alloys with bismuth content exceeding 7 %. This feat which allows for formulation of novel alloys, could not be achieved in conventional, aqueous electrolytes.

"Unsung Hero" - Special programme about Dr Kal Karim who has made a substantive yet contribution to Bangladeshi society

In January 2017, Dr. Kal Karim won this year’s award for Services to Science and Engineering at The British Muslim Awards that celebrate the successes, achievements and contribution of Britain's Muslims to British society.  Kal was then invited by Iqra Bangla TV on a special programme called “Unsung Hero” about people who have made a substantive yet unrecognised contribution to Bangladeshi society. Kal spoke about what it means to be a British born Muslim Academic from a Bangladeshi heritage (Sylheti) and the interesting and challenging journey Kal have taken from his humble background growing up in Cambridge in the 1970s and 80s where was very little encouragement or opportunity for students with his background to go to university let alone study science and how Kal became an internationally recognised academic in his field. Kal spoke about his family, education and his travels as an academic and the different teaching and learning styles that make us better educators and how that impacts on the quality of our teaching and on students and their careers. Kal also discussed his passion for education and spreading knowledge in Science and Engineering and this was a fantastic platform to inspire students by acting as a positive role model and encouraging them to understand that they can overcome historical and social barriers that our communities face through hard work and dedication that can benefit them and future generations.

A copy of the interview can be found here on youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxp8IbZdZPI 

Kal

IQRA Bangla aims to give a positive input to British society and uplift the standards of deprived and under privileged pockets of the community. The Channel hopes to be a means of mutual dialogue between societies and people of different faiths and aim to remove any misconceptions about Islam and Muslims in Britain and Europe and assist communities to be good citizens of the country.

IQRA Bangla is an Educational wing of Al-Khair which also operates a Primary & Secondary School for Boys and Girls in the UK and oversees, teaching the National Curriculum Education within an Islamic framework. Al-Khair Foundation is an International relief and humanitarian organisation, working and assisting victims of world disasters without any discrimination of religion, language, gender or ethnic background.

Department of Chemistry event aims to inspire academic achievement in local Bangladeshi community

Department of Chemistry will lead activities on 1 June designed to inspire children to pursue higher education

 Kal Award

Dr Kal Karim with his British Muslim Award for Services to Science and Engineering

The University's Department of Chemistry will be hosting an outreach event on Thursday 1 June, designed to encourage academic achievement in children of Bangladeshi heritage.

Children aged between 11 and 15 years old from the Darus Salam Mosque will be invited to attend a day of activities, led by Dr Kal Karim and Dr Barbara Villa Macros from the University of Leicester and Moj Bashir, Chairman of Darus Salam Mosque.

The event will consist of a stimulating mix of chemistry-based laboratory activities with a hands-on element, along with quizzes, lectures and demonstration experiments, all designed to engage with pupils of all abilities in the hope of inspiring them to go into higher education.

The Department of Chemistry, and the wider University, is already highly committed to working with school and colleges to support widening participation and access to higher education.

The event will take place at the University of Leicester on Thursday 1 June between 2 and 4 pm.

Professor Emma Raven receives Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award

2013Professor Emma Raven, from the University of Leicester Department of Chemistry, has been awarded the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award.

The scheme, which is jointly funded by the Wolfson Foundation and the Royal Society, provides universities with additional support to enable them to recruit or retain respected scientists of outstanding achievement.

Professor Raven’s research is focussed on the heme proteins and their biological roles.

Professor Raven said: “It is a real honour to be given this award, and I am so grateful to the Royal Society for their support. I am looking forward to exploring new avenues of research during the course of the fellowship."

Professor Raven is deputy-director of the Leicester Institute of Structural and Chemical Biology, which was created in 2016 with the aim of bringing together the University of Leicester’s established strengths in structural biology, chemical biology and single-molecule research.

Professor Andrew Ellis, Head of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Leicester, said: “The Department of Chemistry is delighted that Emma has received this extremely prestigious award. This is a reflection of her high international standing and the superb quality of her research.”

Click here for the full press release

Professor Cullis contributes to Chemistry World’s “How to….” Feature

In the May 2017 issue of Chemistry World Paul Cullis, a member of the editorial board, has provided his expert insight into what  it takes to secure research funding. His contribution to “How to put together a research proposal” provides researchers with five points they should remember when putting together a research proposal. The article, written by Kit Chapman can be found using the information below:

on-line: https://www.chemistryworld.com/careers/how-to-put-together-a-research-proposal/3007042.article

print: May 2017: Volume 14 : Issue 5, Page 60

Chemistry world

Chemistry Department Receives Athena SWAN Silver Award

The chemistry department are delighted to have had their efforts in tackling the unequal representation of women in science recognised, by achieving an Athena SWAN Silver Award. The award is in recognition of our actions that have already been put in place, the impact they have had, and of our future plans to address gender inequality. This positive action in the form of good practice that arises from implementation of the Athena SWAN ethos is of benefit to everyone in higher education, irrespective of gender.

The Chemistry Athena SWAN team led by Dr Alison Stuart

Leicester Chemistry strongly represented at Team Leicester Sports Awards

On Wednesday 10th May over 900 University staff and students will be coming together for the annual University of Leicester Sports Awards ceremony. The 2016/17 academic year has been an incredible one for sport at the University, with numerous strong contributions from students in Chemistry. Congratulations and well done to all of those involved:

Steven Oputa - Team Full Maroon (Men's Rugby Union)

Adam Thomas - Club Colours (Boat)

Hannah Walker - Individual Half Maroon (Boat)

Munashe Fumhanda - Individual Half Maroon (Rugby League)

Angus Hope - Team Half Maroon (Lacrosse)

William Shieu - Team Half Maroon (Dodgeball)

Niall Canavan - Club Colours & Team Half Maroon (Dodgeball)

Josh Prestage - Club Colours & Team Half Maroon (Dodgeball)

Akhil Sebastian - part of the club that won Most Improved Club of the Year (American Football)

For a full list of winners across the campus, please click here

https://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/sports/sports-news/news-items/sports-awards-club-colours-and-maroon-award-winners

Award Criteria:

Club Colours - For outstanding commitment to, and involvement with, a club over at least two years. Have gone above and beyond their normal duties at the club.

Team Full Maroon - Winning a national BUCS event as a team/Achieving 1st or 2nd in a national BUCS event/winning a league at BUCS Tier One level or above.

Team Half Maroon - For winning a regional BUCS event/Achieving 3rd place in a national BUCS event/Achieving promotion to Tier One of BUCS event/Winning a local or regional non-BUCS league.

Individual Half Maroon - Selection by a regional team or squad/Achieving 1st or 2nd in a regional BUCS competition/Achieving 3rd in a national BUCS competition/Equivalent achievements in non-BUCS competitions.

Leicester Chemistry PhD student chosen to present at L'Oreal-UNESCO For Women In Science Awards Ceremony

One of our PhD students, Jasmine Wareham, was one of ten selected finalists from over 500 entries, chosen to present a poster at this year’s L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women In Science Awards Ceremony at the Royal Society in London. She presented her poster entitled “New instrumentation to monitor the air we breathe”.

Jasmine conference
Jasmine presenting her poster to Professor Uta Frith. Photo courtesy of L'Oreal

 

Jasmine’s research involves developing a new highly sensitive and selective instrument to accurately quantify nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels in the air we breathe. NO2 is a major component of air pollution, mainly emitted by road traffic vehicles and in particular by diesel vehicles. NO2 has a detrimental effect on human health, mainly affecting the respiratory system and can be particularly problematic for children, the elderly or for people with existing heart or lung conditions. It is important to improve measurement methods so that air pollution limits can be accurately enforced and so that the effects of air pollution, for example on human health, can be controlled.

Chemistry department staff presented with Superstar awards

Superstar awards

Staff from the department of Chemistry have been awarded student-nominated Superstar awards . These awards are for staff members who have gone the extra mile to help students achieve their goals. Pictured above are three of the four department staff members who were given the Superstar awards - left to right - Drs Barbara Villa Marcos, Dylan Williams and Richard Blackburn. A special mention goes to Dr Williams who was given a Superstar trophy as this is the third year running he has been the recipient of a Superstar award. Dr Kal Karim was also presented with a Superstar award for the careers guidance he gave a student.

 

 

Department Scientific Glassblower involved in collaboration to explore creative and visual responses to DNA research

Gayle Price, the department's Scientific Glassblower, is currently collaborating with Gillian McFarland and Ruth Singer as part of a project, funded by Arts Council England, to explore the work of researchers in genetics labs including archaeological DNA, plant and yeast genetics.

As part of the project Gayle rehomed surplus glassware from Chemistry stores and made it into art. The collaboration was featured on BBC Radio 4 Inside Science on 11th May 2017 (link here). With Gillian and Ruth Gayle is developing work to be exhibited from September to December 2017.

For further information and images from this collaboration please see the following links:

Images from the collaboration

Ruth Singer's directory

University of Leicester press release

Dr Lowe's group well represented at high profile conferences

Vicki Emms, a final year PhD student, was one of only 35 PhDs and postdocs selected to present at the prestigious Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson Dalton Poster Symposium at The Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House. Vicki presented her work on utilising the polyamine transport system to deliver transition metal cancer theranostics, to peers and senior representatives from industry and academia.

Vicki paid another visit to London in March. Along with fellow group members Adhitiyawarman, Adil Ali and Sarab Salih, they presented posters on their work at The Royal Society, Carlton House Terrace. The discussion meeting focussed on “Challenges for chemistry in molecular imaging”. Between them, they presented work on dual mode magnetic resonance/optical imaging agents; probing the polyamine transport system for cancer cell selective delivery; metal complexes as dyes for imaging synaptic vesicles; zinc responsive MRI contrast agents.

Nada Alatawi also joined in with the conference season, attending another Royal Society of Chemistry event in Manchester. She presented a poster of her work on luminescent Pt(II) Complexes for Cellular Imaging, at the International Symposium on Advancing the Chemical Sciences: Challenges in Inorganic Chemistry.

Below is a picture of Dr Lowe's group and their posters.

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Science event inspires more to go to University

Group Photo Outside Department1.jpg

On 1st June 2017 the University of Leicester’s Department of Chemistry hosted an outreach event for 25 Children aged between 9 and 17 years old from the Darus Salam Mosque who attend 10 schools in Leicester. The activities were led by Dr Kal Karim and Dr Barbara Villa Marcos from the University of Leicester and Moj Bashir, Chairman of Darus Salam Mosque designed to encourage academic achievement in children of Bangladeshi heritage from the Highfields local area.

Dr Villa Marcos, Outreach Manager, said “we developed a stimulating laboratory experience for the children as crime scene detectives by taking fingerprints, analysing samples and solving cryptic clues to get to the bottom of the “murder in the Lab” followed by an interactive quiz and prizes".

 

Moj Bashir, Chairman of Darus Salam Mosque says “The children had a fantastic day and found the day really stimulating. It was in order for these students to overcome some of the historical and social barriers that the Bangladeshi communities face, educational inspiration and support is exactly what they need and we achieved that today”

 

Dr Karim said “The aim of the outreach event is to engage with pupils of all abilities to support widening participation and access to higher education. We want to encourage academic achievement in children of ALL backgrounds but today’s focus is very much on pupils from the local area of Bangladeshi heritage. I am also from the same heritage and I hope that the children can see that there are roles models that they can look up to that are here to help them in their academic achievement”

 

There were also discussions about the University-Community engagement with members of the Bangladeshi community such as Cllrs. Dr Shofiqul Chowdhury (Spinney Hills) and Thalukdar (Stoneygate), Barrister Miran Uddin and Chris Shaw, Assistant Director, Development and Alumni Relations, Division of External Relations University of Leicester.

 

Shaf Islam, Managing Director, Chutney Ivy, Leicester who helped organise the event kindly provided Iftar packs for all children and staff involved as the event took place in the month of Ramadan.

 

The school children came from:

Judgemeadow Secondary School, Jameah Girls Academy , Imam Mohammed Adam Institute, Gartree High School, Oadby, Madani High School, Moat Community College, Medway Primary School, Crown Hill Secondary School, Sparkenhoe Primary School, Lancaster School

An article about the event was published in the Leicester Mercury here .

Forensic Science Society wins Academic Group of the Year

The Forensic Science Society, run by post-graduate chemistry students, won the award for Academic Group of the Year at this year’s student awards ceremony.

The society was initially set up to engage and connect students across all University departments with an interest in Forensic Science. Esteemed guest lectures have been hosted as well as external trips to Staffordshire for hands-on crime scene training and Key Forensic Services for a taste of life and recruitment in the Forensic Science area. Through collaboration with the Student’s Union, outreach sessions for secondary schools have been delivered and enabled our members to gain essential skills for their future careers.

Forensic Science Society

Jonathon Brooks (President) and Jodie Louise Coulston (Secretary) attended the event

Thalassa Valkenburg and Annelies Voorhaar are the other committee members

Dr Zoë Fleming investigates air pollution in Chile

SMOG

Dr Zoë Fleming has published a blog post about her recent trip to Chile to investigate air pollution in Santiago. For full details about Zoë's trip, which was funded by a Santander award, her full blog can be read here.

Chemistry postgraduates take part in 3 minute thesis competition

3 minute thesis

Out of a field of 14 competitors, 3 PhD students from the Chemistry department took part in the University's 3 minute thesis competition whereby students have a maximum of 180 seconds to present their research topic to five expert judges.

Congratulations to Georgina Girt, Ioanna Pateli and Jasmine Wareham (pictured with the other finalists above) for reaching this stage of the competition.

Chemistry department staff nominated for 2017 Discovering Excellence Awards

Discovering Excellence Awards logo

 

Congratulations to all the Department of Chemistry staff who have been nominated for the Discovering Excellence Awards this year:

Dr Dylan Williams - Teaching Excellence

Dr Alison Stuart - Equalities Champion

Prof Andy Abbott - Enterprise Award

Gayle Price - Exceptional Team Member

Prof Sergey Piletsky - Creative Innovator

Dr Sandeep Handa - Student Experience

Prof Emma Raven - Research Excellence

Nominees will find out more later in the summer.

For more information on the Discovering Excellence Awards please click here

Profs Ryder and Abbott win funding to develop a new and revolutionary battery

Profs. Ryder and Abbott have won EU funding for a blue-skies project aimed at developing a new and revolutionary type battery based on aluminium and sulphur.  The project is funded under the EU (Horizon 2020) Future Emerging Technologies scheme which is the most competitive of the EU funding mechanisms.  This award is the first of its type for the University of Leicester.  The project SAlBAGE (Sulfur-Aluminium Battery with Advanced Polymeric Gel Electrolytes) is a consortium of EU universities and a battery testing company.  The total value is €3 M of which €545 k will come to Leicester.  The project aims to deliver a new type of battery based on aluminium (rather than lithium).  Aluminium is more abundant, cheaper and safer than lithium.

battery.jpg

Schematic of the new Al-S ionic liquid SAIBAGE battery

In the SALBAGE Project, a new secondary Aluminium Sulfur Battery will be developed. An aluminium negative electrode will be combined with a sulfur positive electrode including the unprecedented use of redox mediators, to facilitate sulfur reaction kinetics and boost performance.  The new battery is expected to have a high energy density (1000Wh/kg) and low price compared with the current Li-ion technology (-60%).  Moreover, we will take advantage of the special features of the resulting battery (flexibility, adaptability, shapeability) to design a new device with the focus put on strategic applications such as transport, aircraft industry or ITs, for which the SALBAGE battery will be specially designed and tested in relevant conditions.

To achieve the objectives a strong consortium has been gathered, with reputed experts in all the relevant fields, such as development of ILs and DES (University of Leicester, and Scionix Ltd.), polymerization (ICTP- CSIC), synthesis and characterization of materials for aluminium anode (TU Graz) and sulfur-cathode (Univ. of Southampton) and computational modelling (TU Denmark). This consortium is leaded by a European SME’s, Albufera Energy Storage, expert in the development and testing of batteries, with great interest in the future market exploitation.

Dr Karim visits Leicester's Assistant City Mayor to discuss the Department's successful outreach event

mayor.JPG

 

Dr Karim visited Councillor Manjula Sood MBE, Assistant City Mayor - Communities & Equalities AT City Hall to discuss the Department's recent successful outreach event on 1st  June for children from the Darus Salam Mosque from Highfields in Leicester of Bangladeshi Heritage. They discussed broader community engagement, equality and diversity and Widening Participation.

For details on the outreach event please click here

Leicester Chemistry Research nominated for Research Impact Awards

The inaugural Research Impact Awards at University of Leicester publicly acknowledged the impact of its world-leading insights and expertise last Tuesday 27th June. Research Impact speaks to the heart of the Department's mission and fully supports our drive for the highest quality education through research inspired teaching. From the department, Professors Abbott and Hillman were shortlisted in two of the five possible categories. The details of these nominations, and the research highlighted are given below and full details can be found here

Best Societal Impact (potential)

Operationalizing latent fingerprint visualization on metal objects

Metal objects feature in acquisitive and violent crimes that impact on individuals and society as a whole. In the UK, the most prevalent cause of violent death involves steel knives. Major crimes, including terrorism, frequently involve firearms, for which the evidence is generally a brass bullet casing.

The group lead by Professor of Physical Chemistry Rob Hillman has been involved in the development of new approaches to reveal latent (non-visible) fingermarks on both non-reactive metal surfaces, such as gold, platinum, stainless steel and lead, and reactive metals, such as copper, brass and bronze.

The new technologies use the residue left by a fingermark as a “template” and deposit either polymers or other metals on the bare metal surface, to yield a negative image of the fingerprint.

One of the technologies is the subject of a granted patent and is in the early stages of commercialization with Foster & Freeman, a UK-based international supplier of forensic instrumentation. Both methods have been presented at Home Office Academia and Industry workshops and are included as emerging technologies in the latest Home Office Fingermark Visualisation Manual, issued to all UK police forces and used widely internationally.

This work is as a result of a long standing collaboration with the Home Office Centre for Science and Technology (CAST), represented by Vaughn Sears and Dr Helen Bandey (a University of Leicester graduate)

research impact

Researchers: Professor Robert Hillman, Dr A.L. Beresford-Laycock, Dr R.M. Sapstead (nee Brown), Ms. J. Coulston, Ms. L.J. Nichols-Drew, Department of Chemistry

Rob Hillman

Best Economic Impact (potential)

Society depends on an ever-increasing supply of raw materials. Innovation is needed to reduce the environmental impact of the production of resources – the energy spent on their recovery, water used, the potential contamination released during processing, and waste and residues produced. Minimising these impacts, and at the same time improving recovery of the resources without inflating costs, is a key target for industry and society.

Collaborative research between Geology and Chemistry at Leicester is developing the application of novel solvents in extracting metals from ore minerals, whilst fulfilling “green” credentials. The use of “deep eutectic solvents” (DES) benefits from production being low energy, environmentally benign, economically realistic and ethically sourced. It can replace aqueous-based metal leaching systems, reducing water usage (a major consideration in many developing countries) and aqueous waste that is costly to treat.

The potential impact of a new “green” metal extraction process for the mining industry is vast. The Geology-Chemistry team is working with mining companies from around the world to test samples and build significant economic impact whilst reducing the negative environmental impacts of raw material supply.

Andy Abbott

Researchers: Dr Gawen Jenkin, Department of Geology, Professor Andrew Abbott, Department of Chemistry, with Robert Harris, Dan Smith, Dave Holwell, Hugh Graham, Francesca Bevan, Ahmed Al-Bassam

Biotechnology group celebrates Eid

Following the end of Ramadan, students in the Biotechnology group came together to celebrate Eid. Joining together in a Muslim Food Festival, there was almost 20 types of homemade food made for the event from countries including Indonesia, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Turkey.

 Eid1.jpeg

Organised by Hasim Munawar, an MPhil student in the department, the event shows the variety of cultures, religions and countries represented in the Chemistry department.

Eid2.jpg

Chemistry PhD students involved in creating a zero waste society

Chemistry PhD student, Stylianos Spathariotis, and colleagues have been involved in a project to reuse waste as part of the SOCRATES European Training Network for the sustainable, zero-waste valorisation of critical-metal-containing industrial process residues.

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The team have created a video to show their work which can be found here

For further information on SOCRATES please see the following link here

Chemistry undergraduate student takes part in University Challenge

Uni challenge

Stanley French, a second year Chemistry BSc student (second on the left), represented Leicester on University Challenge this year.

The new series of University Challenge airs at 8pm on Monday 17th July 2017. For further information on University Challenge please click here .

Prof. Andrew Ellis elected Chair of the Molecular Physics Group (MPG) of the Institute of Physics

IOP

 

Professor Andrew Ellis from the Department of Chemistry has been elected as Chair of the Molecular Physics Group (MPG) of the Institute of Physics. The Institute of Physics has a number of specialist sub-groups that focus on particular topics and which try to represent the specific interests of members working in these areas. Molecular Physics is a flourishing interdisciplinary field of research in the United Kingdom, encompassing theoretical and experimental activity in many areas such as molecular reaction dynamics, laser chemistry/physics, spectroscopy, quantum chemistry, surfaces, and solid state physics. Molecular physicists work at the interface of physics and chemistry and the primary objective of the MPG is to provide a forum for the promotion of this rapidly developing field of research, including organising conferences and symposia. It also seeks to raise the profile of Molecular Physics, to develop closer links between chemists and physicists, and to liaise with Molecular Physics groups overseas.

 

 

Professor Piletsky and Dr Piletska receive £300,000 molecular imprinting project investment

Genethon

 

Part of Genethon's national program, Professor Sergey Piletsky and Dr Elena Piletska's project has secured a £300,000 investment. As part of the project Prof Piletsky, Dr Piletska and their team will use molecular imprinting for improving genetic therapy for patients with neuromuscular dystrophy.

For more information on Genethon please visit the link here.

 

Chemistry department to host family fun day

On Friday 25th August the Chemistry department is inviting all its staff and students and their families to Victoria Park for a family fun day. Starting at 12pm and lasting to around 4pm, there will be food and drink and a number of activities for the whole family to enjoy. There will be games, a treasure hunt, liquid nitrogen ice cream and science fun for children.

If it rains the event will take place in the George Porter building with indoor games and science activities.

PhD student awarded a Tertiary Education Group bursary to attend ViCEPHEC2017 conference

Erlina, a third year PhD student in the Department of Chemistry has been awarded a Tertiary Education Group (TEG) bursary to attend the Variety of Chemistry Education and Physics Higher Education conference, sponsored by the RSC and IOP.

The conference will take place at the University of York between 23rd and 25th August 2017. Erlina will present a poster at the conference entitled “Developing new learning resources to address students’ misconceptions of Shape of Molecule Based on VSEPRT in the UK and Indonesia”.

Erlina's PhD project in chemistry education focusses on developing learning resources to promote students' conceptual understanding, working under Dr Chris Cane (GENIE CETL (Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning) and Dr Dylan P Williams (Dept. of Chemistry).

We wish Erlina well at the conference later this month.

For more information about the conference please click here

Chemistry department collects Silver Athena SWAN award at national ceremony

Silver award

Dr Barbara Villa Marcos and Prof. Andy Ellis, pictured above (far left and far right), represented the Chemistry department at the Athena SWAN Charter awards ceremony at Imperial College on 19th July, where the Chemistry department received their Silver award.

Dr Barbara Villa Marcos works as the department's lab manager and Prof. Andy Ellis is the current Head of Department. Both are active members of the department's Athena SWAN committee, chaired by Dr Mark Lowe and previously by Dr Alison Stuart. For more information about Athena SWAN in the Chemistry department please click here.

Continued Success for Chemistry in 2017 National Student Survey (NSS)

The University of Leicester’s Department of Chemistry has received another exceptionally positive set of responses in the 2017 National Student Survey (NSS), indicating a very high level of student satisfaction with our degree programmes. The overall level of student satisfaction with the course is 94%, meaning we have achieved mid-nineties percent satisfaction for three years in a row.

The results of this survey come after outstanding performance in both the Times Higher Education (teaching quality/student experience) and the Guardian (overall ranking/feedback satisfaction) league tables.

NSS

The strong emphasis that we place on developing high quality graduates through research inspired, small group teaching has clearly been well received by our students. Our Department has some of the best chemistry lecturers in the UK and the small group nature of our teaching and staff open door policy means that students are in frequent contact with academics both in and out of scheduled tuition time.

In addition to the highest quality teaching we have invested heavily in our departmental facilities and are committed to training all of our undergraduates in the very latest state of the art research equipment and analytical facilities.

Finally, the Department prides itself on placing employability at the heart of the curriculum by using innovative teaching approaches such as Context- and Problem-Based Learning and by giving students the opportunity to go on year-long industrial placements. 95% of students who have studied at Leicester will find themselves in further study or professional employment within 6 months of completing their course, and on average earn more than the sector average.

To find out more about the student experience at Leicester sign up for one of our Open Days where you will get a chance to meet current students, talk to our lecturers and experience some of our teaching. For information on the open days please click here

Chemistry department researchers chosen to present at international Electrochemical Society conference

Emma Palin, a PhD student, and Prof. Karl Ryder in the Chemistry department have been chosen to present at the 232nd Electrochemical Society meeting which will take place between 1st and 5th October 2017 in National Harbor, MD, USA.

Emma has been awarded a bursary from the Electrochemistry Group of the RSC, one of only 10 awarded this year, to attend the conference. She will be presenting a poster entitled ‘A Novel Electrochemical Method for Analysis of Thin Metal Films and Bilayers for Application in the PCB Industry’.

Karl will be giving a talk at the meeting on similar work entitled 'Characterisation of Metal Deposition and Metal Dissolution Processes in Deep Eutectic Solvents Using Electrochemical, Gravimetric and Neutron Scattering Methods.’

Emma's PhD project, supervised by Prof. Karl Ryder and Prof. Robert Hillman, involves using a variety of novel electrochemical and neutron scattering techniques to characterise thin layer metal films that are used to manufacture printed circuit boards for the electronics industry.

We wish Emma and Karl well at the conference. For more information on the Electrochemical Society meeting please see the link here . 

Leicester chemist awarded national teaching fellowship

Congratulations to Dr Dylan Williams who has been awarded a prestigious National Teaching Fellowship by the Higher Education Academy. This award recognises Dylan’s role as a leading educational innovator on national and international levels.

Dylan said: “It is a great honour to be awarded this fellowship, and I am so grateful to the Higher Education Academy and the University of Leicester for their support. I am looking building on my previous work by researching the impact of different active learning approaches on the skills development of students."

Details on the National Teaching Fellowship scheme can be found here
Dylan - August 2017

Chemistry academics awarded Proof of Concept funding

Congratulations to Professor Karl Ryder and Dr Steve Ball who were successful in their applications for University Proof of Concept funding.

There were around 8/9 awards out of a total of 22 applications from across the University for this funding, meaning that for this round of funding approximately a third of the University HEIF spend (for proof of concept) has gone to Chemistry.

For more information on Proof of Concept please see the link here .

Department of Chemistry celebrates first Family Fun Day

Fun day 1

On the afternoon of Friday 25th August 100 members of the department’s community enjoyed its first family fun day held in Victoria Park.

Fun day 3

 

Departmental staff, students and their families brought along food and drink to a picnic in the park as part of the event. There was also liquid nitrogen ice-cream, made by PhD students, science experiments, ball games, badminton, cricket and tennis for all the family to enjoy.

Fun day 2

Thanks go to the members of the Athena SWAN committee for organising the event. This is part of a Departmental strategy to improve the work/life balance for members and staff and builds on our recent success in the Athena SWAN silver award. Thanks also go to all department members who helped to make the event successful, whether by bringing along food and/or family members. It was a great event which celebrated the diversity of staff working in the Chemistry department and enabled students and staff to socialise together in a relaxed, family-friendly environment.

Please see below more photos from the day.

Fun day 4Fun day 5

 

Fun day 6

Fun day 7

 

Fun day 9

Careers webinar for Chemistry postgraduates.

In response to feedback from the postgraduate cohort at the annual Athena SWAN event in 2017 members of the Athena SWAN committee arranged a screening of the ChemCareers 2017 webinar for early career researchers.  The Royal Society of Chemistry event aimed at PhD, Post-Docs and Early Career Researchers gave an overview of things to consider when considering a career in academia. Early Careers Network members shared their career stories, and gave advice on how to make yourself more employable outlining some of the essential skills and qualities of successful academics. The event was attended by a range of postgraduate students and Post-Docs. Several students reflected after the webinar that it was useful to find out more about grant application processes, and also highlighted how useful teaching experience and supervision of final year project students could be when seeking employment in the future.

 

webinar

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Contact Details

Department of Chemistry
University of Leicester
Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK

Email: chemistry@le.ac.uk

Tel: [+44] (0)116 252 2100

Fax: [+44] (0)116 252 3789

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Further Information

Undergraduate Brochure

This brochure has been prepared for the courses as they will run for 2018 entrants. The majority of the content is appropriate for 2017 entrants and will give you an excellent feel for the department and the experience on offer.

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