News & Events


A list of Chemistry Department seminars can be downloaded from the link below.

Seminar Schedule Semester 1 2017

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).


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

Chemistry PhD student has work featured in local art exhibition

Materials Centre CRUPPAIL project is shortlisted for Surface Engineering Association (SEA) Biannual Industry Award

Chemistry Department holds second annual Fun Day

The Materials Centre gets its new Atomic Force Microscope (AFM)

Leicester fluorine chemist guests on radio show

Teaching Focused Academics Present Innovation in the USA

Chemistry MChem student wins prize at SCI Undergraduate Symposium

Exciting Research Published: Parasites under the Spotlight: Applications of Vibrational Spectroscopy to Malaria Research

Leicester Chemist Appears on BBC OneShow

Exciting new research project, CureCN aims to cure the ultra-rare Crigler-Najjar Syndrome

Teaching Excellence Recognised in Student-Nominated Awards

Leicester chemist wins prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry Award

Dr Kal Karim discusses 'The Importance of Education in Developing our Community' on Vision 2030

Nucleic Acids Research Breakthrough article describes novel mechanisms associated with mammalian splicing enhancers

Research selected as ChemBioChem VIP paper

Digital Innovation Partnerships Announced for Chemistry

Chemistry PhD students selected to present at house of commons event

Dr Hopkinson awarded IBDG Young Investigator Award

Prof Cullis selected for RSC Golden Anniversary Award

University of Leicester research network: "Identification"

Prof Emma Raven completes lecture tour in the US

Chemistry Research Fellow exhibits at the NERC Environmental Showcase in Edinburgh

Discovering Excellence Awards success

Dr Kal Karim attends British Bangladeshi Who's Who gala event

Prof. Rob Hillman presents lectures at the International Fingerprint Research group meeting

Chemistry PhD student presents at 6th leather conference in the Netherlands

Department researchers present at First International Conference on Soft Chemical Ionisation Mass Spectrometry and Applications to Trace Gas Analysis

Chemistry Professors awarded the Westinghouse prize 2016/17

PhD student Simran Minhas wins prize at RSC Fluorine Postgraduate Meeting

17th RSC Fluorine Postgraduate Meeting held at the University of Leicester

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

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


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:

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.

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:

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















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:


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

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 

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:

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 ( 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:

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 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.


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:

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:

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 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: 


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:


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

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.


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


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.


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



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.


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.


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.


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



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



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.


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.



17th RSC Fluorine Postgraduate Meeting held at the University of Leicester

Dr Alison Stuart, Chair of the RSC Fluorine Subject Group, hosted the 17th RSC Fluorine Postgraduate Meeting at John Foster Hall on 18th/19th September 2017. There were 10 presentations from postgraduate students and three keynote lectures from Dr Petr Beier, Czech Academy of Sciences, who was the winner of the 2017 RSC Fluorine Prize, as well as Dr Tanja Gulder, University of Munich, and Dr Sebastien Thibaudeau, University of Poitiers.



We would also like to thank all of our sponsors: Advion, Apollo Scientific, AstraZeneca, fluorochem, Manchester Organics and radleys.

PhD student Simran Minhas wins prize at RSC Fluorine Postgraduate Meeting


Congratulations to Simran Minhas who won 2nd prize for her oral presentation at the 17th RSC Fluorine Subject Group Postgraduate meeting, held at the University of Leicester on 18th/19th September 2017.

Simran is a 2nd year PhD student working with Dr Alison Stuart and she talked about her latest research on "Fluoroiodane: A new hypervalent iodine(III) reagent for atom transfer reactions".

Chemistry Professors awarded the Westinghouse prize 2016/17


Profs. Ryder and Abbott have been awarded the Westinghouse prize 2016/17 (Sponsored by Riley Industries Ltd) by the Institute of Materials Finishing.  This award is for the best paper published in Transactions of the IMF, that has shown the most valuable development in the science and practice of electrochemistry in general and electro deposition in particular. The paper is entitled “Electrodeposition of Copper-Tin Alloys using Deep Eutectic Solvents”, Andrew P. Abbott, Abubakr I. Alhaji, Karl S. Ryder, Michael Horne and Theo Rodopoulos, Trans IMF, 2016, 94, 104. Congratulations to Profs. Ryder and Abbott for this great achievement. 

Department researchers present at First International Conference on Soft Chemical Ionisation Mass Spectrometry and Applications to Trace Gas Analysis


Dr Bob Blake, Saleh Ouheda and Prof Chris Mayhew, the conference organiser, above Dornbirn in Austria


Dr Bob Blake and PhD student Saleh Ouheda presented at the First International Conference on Soft Chemical Ionisation Mass Spectrometry and Applications to Trace Gas Analysis in Austria from 18th to 20th September 2017. Bob gave a talk on his group's investigations into the chemistry of Fluorocarbon-sourced precursor ions reacting with n-Alkanes and a range of Volatile Organic Compounds.

Saleh presented a related poster in which he described the use of this technique to analyse the breath of cigarette smokers. Bob reported that they generated interest in the subject, that the conference was one of the most enjoyable he has attended that that he is looking forward to the next conference which will be held in Prague in 2019.

Chemistry PhD student presents at 6th leather conference in the Netherlands

A third year Chemistry PhD student, Omaymah Alaysuy, presented at the 6th leather conference in Oisterwijk, the Netherlands. Her research on processing leather using deep eutectic solvents, discussed in her talk, was published in World Leather Magazine. Originally from Saudi Arabia, the doctoral student told the conference deep eutectic solvents will allow tanners to save large volumes of water and reduce the amount of effort and expense required to manage tannery waste.


Omaymah’s presentation captured the attention of even the most senior technical experts and representatives of the global leather industry at Oisterwijk. At the conference, she spoke about her work on how deep eutectic solvents (DES) can be used in leather production.

She explained that she has spent time recently at the tannery that the University of Northampton runs as part of its Institute for Creative Leather Technologies putting her ideas to the test on materials including sheepskin. She evaluated the performance of DES in tanning, retanning, tatliquoring and dyeing. Ms Alaysuy described DES as a mix of two simple salts that combine to form a liquid. "The main concept is to place an active ingredient, with high concentration and low waste, inside the hide," she explained. "We can take a piece of hide or skin, apply our mixture to the surface and see the hide absorb it with no apparent loss of the collagen structure."

Obvious benefits include a large saving in water and a large reduction in the amount of effort and expense required to manage tannery waste. Fielding a lengthy series of questions from the floor, Omaymah Alaysuy assured delegates that the DES will not rinse out during processing and produces material with an attractive, soft touch. She also said using DES will not hinder the use of other important leather chemicals, including basifying agents.

She confirmed that work is ongoing to increase the shrinkage temperature of the hides and skins processed using DES, which is currently around 80°C compared to around 100°C for chrome-tanned leather produced in the traditional way. A major leather chemicals firm told World Leather at the event that it has signed a non-disclosure agreement to work with the University of Northampton on deep eutectic solvents.

World Leather

Prof. Rob Hillman presents lectures at the International Fingerprint Research group meeting

Rob Hillman recently attended the International Fingerprint Research group (IFRG) meeting, hosted by the People’s Public Security University in Beijing. This is a biennial gathering of researchers and practitioners from Europe, North America, Australia and Asia where emerging technologies meet new challenges in this pivotal aspect of forensic science. During the main conference, Rob Hillman presented lectures on recent research on the physical developer method for revealing latent fingermarks on paper (notably currency) and the translation to a practitioner environment of electroless metal deposition for revealing latent fingermarks on copper-containing surfaces (notably bullet casings and as found in cases of metal theft). This highlighted experimental work carried out in the Department by Jodie Coulston and Leisa Nichols-Drew.

Rob 5

Rob 6

Rob giving his lectures as part of the meeting

Five of the overseas delegates were invited to give an additional evening lecture to undergraduate forensic science students. These students are part of the police service, as evidenced by their smartly presented uniforms. This group of students were given a lecture on the use of electrochromic polymers as reagents for revealing latent fingermarks on the surfaces of such objects as knives and other sharp weapons. Their professional interests generated questions and a lively discussion. Unlike lectures in Leicester, the lecturer was presented with a bouquet of flowers at the end of the session.

Rob 1

Rob 2

Rob 3

Rob 4

Rob giving his invited evening lecture to undergraduate forensic science students

Dr Kal Karim attends British Bangladeshi Who's Who gala event

Dr Kal Karim attended the British Bangladeshi Who's Who gala event at The Meridian Grand, London on 9th November. The event celebrated the publication of the tenth ‘Who’s Who’ to acknowledge the most influential individuals from various sectors from the British Bangladeshi community.

Kal has been included in the annual publication since 2015 and is pictured with the Editor of the publication Abdul Karim Goni.

Kal Who's Who

Discovering Excellence Awards success

Discovering Excellence Awards logo

The annual University Discovering Excellence Awards ceremony was held last night (Thursday 16th November). The Chemistry department had 5 people shortlisted (each shortlist had 3 people), which is quite an achievement in itself, and they were as follows:

Sandeep Handa                  Student Experience

Dylan Williams                    Teaching Excellence

Emma Raven                       Research Excellence

Alison Stuart                        Equalities Champion

Andy Abbott                        Enterprise Award

Sandeep Handa and Andy Abbott won in their categories and so congratulations go to them from the department, but congratulations must really go to all five for work recognised at the highest level within the University. 

Sandeep discovering excellence

Dr Sandeep Handa

Andy Abbott discovering excellence

Prof Andy Abbott

Chemistry Research Fellow exhibits at the NERC Environmental Showcase in Edinburgh

Zoë Fleming organised the Environmental chemistry stall at the UnEarthed NERC Environmental Science Showcase ( event in Edinburgh, 17-20th November 2017. This event was free to the public.


The Royal Society of Chemistry’s Environmental Chemistry Group (ECG) interest group (Chaired by Zoë) has run several outreach activities over the last few years. We ran soil and water testing activities, showcased a variety of low-cost air quality sensors, demonstrated an ocean acidification experiment using dry ice and even had a lego workshop talking about microbial degradation of paracetamol in the environment. A group of 14 environmental chemists and local chemistry or environmental science volunteers worked on the stall over the 4 days. There were 27 other environmental science-themed stalls and the public and school groups had free entry to the Dynamic Earth exhibit at the same time. 7000 people came to the exhibit and the #unearthed2017 was the top twitter trend in Scotland over the weekend. A good time was had by all and we hope to have inspired some of the future generation of scientists and told them that chemistry is an exciting subject to help us understand and tackle the world’s environmental challenges. Follow the environmental chemistry group for future events, articles, meetings and information about the topics we are interested in: @RSC_ECG (or speak to Zoë).

Please see below for more photos from the event.





Zoë and the team

Prof Emma Raven completes lecture tour in the US

Emma Raven recently visited Princeton University in the USA to give a lecture on “The Role of Heme in Biology: from Catalysis to Regulation”. The lecture was an invitation from Prof John T Groves, who is pictured with Emma in the new Chemistry Building at Princeton (the spheres above their heads are not thought bubbles, but designed as being electron clouds). Emma also visited Maryland University in Baltimore and Albert Einstein College in New York as part of the same trip.

Prof Emma Raven completes lecture tour in the US


The University has recently established a research network on the theme of “Identification”. The Network, led from the Department of Chemistry, involves collaboration between researchers in all three Colleges: Prof Rob Hillman (Chemistry), Prof. Jeremy Levesley (Maths), Prof Turi King (Genetics), Prof Guy Rutty (Cancer Studies/East Midlands Pathology Unit), Dr Steve Morley (Toxicology), Dr Jo Appleby and Dr Richard Thomas (Archaeology), Dr Tracey Elliott and John Hartshorne (Law) and, as the first external member, Prof Sarah Hainsworth (recently to the University of Aston).

The Network will integrate molecular, mathematical, (bio)medical, imaging, anthropological and legal concepts and expertise to create a uniquely powerful machine for the identification of an individual. They may be the victim of violent crime, a casualty of conflict, a victim of natural disaster or an historical figure, or a living individual of unknown identity and origin. The research will impact on legal, financial, security and societal activities. Obvious opportunities include investigation of violent crime and terrorism, identification of victims of natural disasters, human tragedies, war crimes and historical events.

Recent global events have triggered large scale migrations of individuals who often wish to conceal their identity. To address this and the established crime of people-trafficking, governments require enhanced means of immediate identification at national borders. Later, re-uniting of “lost” individuals requires establishment of familial relationships. Financial transactions require proof that an individual  is the legitimate owner of the funds, commodity or property. While financial institutions employ various technologies – signature, fingerprint or voiceprint - the absence of a freely available individual-to-individual technology is notable. All these require improvements in physical technology, better means of handling the “big data” challenges and their integration within the legal system.

Prof Cullis selected for RSC Golden Anniversary Award

Professor Paul Cullis has been awarded the 2018 RSC Golden Anniversary Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry’s East Midlands Local Section. This award was first made in 1936 by the East Midlands Section of the Royal Society of Chemistry to commemorate the 50th anniversary of its founding. The current Chair of the East Midlands Section, Dr Chris Satterley in his citation says “It has been awarded to you, a chemist in the East Midlands Section, this year for meritorious service to chemistry. In particular for your endless dedication to widening participation and ensuring that anyone with an interest in Chemistry is given the opportunity to pursue that interest.” Professor Cullis will receive this award at the RSC Local Section AGM on the 8th March at the Carbon Neutral Laboratory, University of Nottingham. He has also been invited to present a talk at one of the RSC Local Section meetings later in the year.

Dr Hopkinson awarded IBDG Young Investigator Award

Doctor Richard Hopkinson has been awarded the 2018 Inorganic Biochemistry Discussion Group Young Investigator Award. The biennial award is designed to highlight and promote the next generation of outstanding UK-based researchers working in the inorganic biochemistry field. Richard will receive the award at the 14th European Biological Inorganic Chemistry Conference (EuroBIC14) in August at the Medical School, University of Birmingham. He will also give a prize lecture at the conference.

Chemistry PhD students selected to present at house of commons event

Two PhD students from the Materials and Interfaces Research Group in our department have been selected to present their work at the House of Commons on 12th March 2018.

STEM for BRITAIN (formerly SET for Britain) is an annual poster competition in the House of Commons which was first hosted in in 1997 by the late Dr Eric Wharton. The aim of the competition 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.

There were over 500 posters submitted this year for this prestigious event and the Department has been very successful in getting 2 posters shortlisted for the Chemistry section:

Emma Palin will be presenting her poster entitled “A Novel Electrochemical Method for Investigating Metal-Metal Interdiffusion in Electronic Devices.” She will be presenting her research on the development of techniques to analyse metal mixing in Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs), so as to improve efficiency in the production of electronics.

Francesca Bevan will be presenting her poster entitled “Mineral Processing Using Deep Eutectic Solvents.” She will be presenting her research on the direct and indirect leaching and recovery of different metals from their ores, in order to provide an alternative to typical mining processes.

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 (RSC.)  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 non-specialist audience. There are gold, silver and bronze medals and significant 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.


Third year student selected for England Universities Rugby Team

Congratulations to Pharmaceutical Chemistry student Munashe Fumhanda who has tackled the competition to be join the national 26 strong England Univerisities squad for 2018.

Read the full story here

Digital Innovation Partnerships Announced for Chemistry

Staff and students from Leicester’s Chemistry Department and Natural Sciences program are working in partnership to enhance chemistry education through the development and support for the use of digital technology. The projects are overseen by the digital advocate Dr Richard Blackburn (Lecturer in Chemistry) who is supporting two staff-student partnerships as they develop and disseminate their digital innovations. To both projects Richard will be bringing his prior experience of implementing and evaluating innovative digital teaching innovations such as the use of dynamic laboratory simulations as part of practical classes at Leicester.

Digital Innovation Partnerships (DIP) Homepage

DIP Team: (L-R) Duncan Parker, Nikita Lack, Richard Blackburn, Tabitha Watson, Paul Cullis

Project One

Digital Innovator: Prof. Paul Cullis (Chair of Organic and Biological Chemistry)

Digital Associate: Ms Nikita Lack (2nd Year Chemistry Undergraduate)

Project Title: Flipped Model Making – Visualising Organics and Biomolecules

Paul and Nikita are working on a series of short instructional animations to facilitate student building of chemical structures and transition states that can be deployed ahead of lectures. It is hoped that students will be able to utilise their pre-built models to improve their understanding of molecule shapes/orientations and their spatial distribution of atoms.

Project Two

Digital Innovator: Dr Duncan Parker (Teaching Fellow for Natural Sciences and Chemistry)

Digital Associate: Ms Tabitha Watson (3rd Year Natural Sciences Undergraduate)

Project Title: Text-based Adventures in the Undergraduate Laboratory

Together, Duncan and Tabitha are exploring the challenges that face undergraduate students in the laboratory. They seek to increase students' confidence in the laboratory by raising awareness of issues of safety and experimental technique by creating a text-based adventure game that requires students to make key decisions in a safe context, not only could this be of benefit to Chemistry students but those from across the rest of the experimental SET subjects.

Research selected as ChemBioChem VIP paper

Recently published research by Dr. Richard Hopkinson and co-workers has been selected as a VIP article in ChemBioChem. The article describes biochemical studies on an oxygen-dependent formaldehyde-producing demethylase, KDM4A, which contains a key lysine residue in its active site. Combined MS and NMR analyses suggest this lysine residue (lysine-241) is essential for ensuring efficient demethylation activity, but does not affect KDM4A’s reaction with oxygen. The work implies that small molecule binders to lysine-241 in KDM4A may induce catalytic inactivation.

Nucleic Acids Research Breakthrough article describes novel mechanisms associated with mammalian splicing enhancers

A recent article published in Nucleic Acids Research, co-authored by Prof Ian Eperon and Dr Andrew Hudson (University of Leicester) and Dr Glenn Burley (University of Strathclyde) has been designated a Breakthrough article by the journal editors. The paper describes studies that provide important new insight into the mechanisms that regulate pre-mRNA splicing in mammalian cells. The study exploits single molecule techniques (multi-colour, co-localization, fluorescence imaging) to quantify stable binding of proteins to pre-mRNA in a nuclear extract that supports splicing, and chemical biology to dissect the subsequent activation process. The research project was supported by the Leverhulme Trust.

Reviewers and editors familiar with the work have stated that the study "re-addresses long-standing open questions”; that the results are "unexpected and contrast with the interpretation of (historical) data"; utilise “approaches that would have been impossible twenty years ago "; and that the work "provides interesting new insights that could not have been obtained by conventional ensemble methods and that will be of wide interest in the field of splicing regulation and its mechanisms."

"The mechanisms of a mammalian splicing enhancer"

(Andrew M. Jobbins, Linus Reichenbach, Christian M. Lucas, Andrew J. Hudson, Glenn Burley and Ian C. Eperon; Nucleic Acids Research, Volume 46, Issue 5, 16 March 2018, Pages 2145–2158,

Dr Kal Karim discusses 'The Importance of Education in Developing our Community' on Vision 2030

Kal was a guest panel member on Channel S TV on Monday 29th January on SKY 814 discussing “The Importance of Education in Developing our Community – Vision 2030”.

Vision 2030 is a community development talk show of the Bangladeshi Regeneration Council working in partnership with Channel S. The aim of Vision 2030 is that by 2030, the Bangladeshi community is no longer regarded as one of the most disadvantaged and deprived social groups.

Challenges currently faced by the Bangladeshi community are:

  • 28% live in deprived neighbourhoods
  • 65% of families are living in low income households
  • 58% of Bangladeshi women are not in employment
  • 40% of men are in low skilled employment
  • The community has the lowest level of English language proficiency.

Kal says “We discussed many topics that affect our community and deliberated on how we could use our knowledge, and experience to help the community overcome some of these barriers in education for children and adults”

Anam Choudhury, Presenter of Vision 2030, says “This is not acceptable especially to the third generation of Bangladeshis. This is why we have introduced this show so that by connecting with the community at large, we can identify the real issues and work towards finding local and national solutions to our community's problems”.

YouTube: (part A) (part B) (part C)

Other links:

Teaching Excellence Recognised in Student Nominated Awards

Congratulations to Martin Mugglestone and Dr Dylan Williams for being awarded the department’s two student nominated teaching awards for 2018. 14 different members of academic staff and 13 different postgraduate students received nominations for the awards.

PhD student Martin received the Demonstrator of the Year award for the excellent level of support he provided for students in physical chemistry laboratory and maths sessions. Dr Dylan Williams received the Academic of the Year award for providing students with an excellent standard of teaching and support.

Exciting new research project, CureCN aims to cure the ultra-rare Crigler-Najjar Syndrome

The new European research project CureCN focuses on developing a curative gene therapy for the ultra-rare liver disease Crigler-Najjar syndrome (CN) and to make the treatment available to patients. CN is a life-threatening, so far incurable liver disease that affects about one in a million individuals at birth. Caused by the deficiency of a liver-specific substance (uridine diphosphate Glucuronosyltransferase 1A1), toxic unconjugated bilirubin is accumulated in serum and body tissue leading to irreversible neurological damage in the brain. Currently, there is no curing treatment available apart from liver transplantation. Treatment with phototherapy reduces the symptoms, but is very debilitating and loses its efficacy over time.

Eleven partners from six European countries of CureCN consortium join forces to prove the safety and efficacy of the gene therapy in a clinical trial and to make the treatment available to patients. “Our goal is to provide a healing treatment for very young patients, as well as for older patients with a possible pre-existing immunity to AAV that has to be eradicated in the gene therapy process,” said Dr Federico Mingozzi, CureCN coordinator and Head of the Immunology and Liver Gene Therapy team at the laboratory Genethon. “If validated in our clinical trial, AAV-mediated gene therapy could not just cure CN but also heal other inherited liver diseases. Our results could thus change the entire field of in vivo gene therapy.”

The Leicester team represented in the CureCN project by Prof Sergey Piletsky and Dr Elena Piletska from the Department of Chemistry contributes to the project with their expertise in design and preparation of nano-sized molecularly imprinted polymers (nanoMIPs) which will be used as synthetic recognition elements in a novel, polymer-based anti-AAV Ig-specific plasmapheresis resin to selectively remove NAbs from the bloodstream of seropositive subjects. In the frame of the CureCN project Leicester team will supervise and train two PhD students who will benefit from their participation in the cutting-edge multi-disciplinary and multi-national project.

Leicester Chemist Appears on BBC OneShow

Dr Shengfu Yang presented on BBC OneShow on 23rd July, 2018, talking about the chemistry and the recycling of chewing gums.


This was filmed at the first floor Chemistry Lab, where Dr Yang explained the polymeric nature of chewing gums, why they are so sticky and how difficult it is to breakdown the gum waste. He also performed interesting experiments which compared the degradation of apple and chewed gum in gastric acid (HCl acid with PH ranging from 1.5 – 3.5), and how these can be destroyed by burning. Although chewing gum waste can be burnt, this is not an ideal solution for its removal as this method clearly has both environmental and energy indications.

Our streets and pavements are now suffering from a monstrous plague of spat-out chewing gums, and it costs ~£60 million per annual for removal each year in the UK. Chewing gum wastes have now raised a great concern. The major component making the “chew” of the gums is plastics, which is flexible, stretchable but hard to break down into small molecules. Once they are spat on the street and stepped on, they become little disks that stick strongly with the surfaces, making it very difficult for removal. At the molecular level, this is due to the hydrophobic nature of plastics and the road surfaces, which defines the strong attractive interaction between them.

Exciting Research Published: Parasites under the Spotlight: Applications of Vibrational Spectroscopy to Malaria Research

Drs Evans and Hudson from the Department of Chemistry have co-authored a paper together with long standing collaborators from Monash University, an institution in Victoria, Australia.

The article published in Chemical Reviews (2018, 118 (11), pp 5330–5358), a journal of the American Chemical Society contains insights from research on the application of vibrational spectroscopic techniques for monitoring and detecting malaria infection at high sensitivity and specificity. New technologies to diagnose malaria are urgently needed in the developing world where the disease continues to pose a huge burden on society. Although the article is primarily a review, it also contains some new data recorded during a recent visit made by Dr Hudson to Monash University (supported by a Royal Society International Exchanges grant), which was analysed using multivariate algorithms back in Leicester by both Drs Hudson and Evans.

Chemistry MChem student wins prize at SCI Undergraduate Symposium

Congratulations to Joshua Smalley who collected the runner-up prize for best oral presentation in the 2018 SCI undergraduate symposium in Liverpool. The event aimed at sharing undergraduate research invites final year undergraduate students to give a short talk on their research project. This year's event hosted 16 speakers from 10 different universities. Josh presented his project, which he undertook with Dr James Hodgkinson, on the 'Design and Synthesis of PROTACs for targeted degradation of epigenetic regulators'. Josh will start a Ph.D with James this September.

Teaching Focused Academics Present Innovation in the USA.

Dr Richard Blackburn and Dr Dylan Williams recently attended the he 25th Biennial Conference on Chemical Education (BCCE) hosted by the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IL. This conference is a national meeting sponsored by the Division of Chemical Education of the American Chemical Society aimed at promoting research, practice and general innovation in the teaching of chemistry.

Whilst at the conference both lecturers made two presentations each, showcasing their research and innovations in problem based learning, student skills perceptions, pre-laboratory simulations and alternative ways to teach organic chemistry (titles below). Additionally, both also participated in a number of networking and internationalisation events and workshops.

Talk Titles:

  1. Open Ended team-based induction task to support the development of project skills.
  2. Measuring the expectations of new chemistry students.
  3. Impact of pre-laboratory simulations on student attitudes of a first year laboratory course.
  4. Effectiveness of flipped problem classes and discussion to assist case-study teaching of synthesis.

More about the pedagogic research and education innovation at Leicester can be found on the LeCLEP group webpages:

Leicester fluorine chemist guests on radio show

Professor Andrea Sella from University College London has presented a series on Radio 4 called “In Their Element”.  In the episode on “Fluorine: Chemistry’s Tiger”, Dr Alison Stuart, Chair of the RSC Fluorine Subject Group, provided commentary on the role of fluorine in modern day pharmaceuticals:

The Materials Centre gets its new Atomic Force Microscope (AFM)

Installation and commissioning of the new Atomic Force Microscope took place in late August in the Materials Centre. This is an exciting development adding more cutting-edge technology to the comprehensive suite of surface characterisation facilities already assembled in the MC and the Advanced Microscopy Facility. The new AFM has the capability to create 3D images of a surface at the nanometre scale. It is also capable of imaging the positions of arrays of individual atoms giving scientific insights into the structure of materials that could only have been dreamt of even 10 years previously!

Delivery, installation and training for the new Bruker Atomic Force Microscope in the Materials Centre

The microscope, costing nearly a quarter of a million pounds, arrived from the USA weeks earlier packed in huge wooden crates that, in a heart-stopping moment, almost literally fell off the back of the lorry!  The manufacturer, Bruker, installed the instrument and initial training was completed just after the August bank holiday.

The new AFM was funded from a Faraday Institution grant won recently by Profs. Abbott and Ryder in the Materials Centre that focusses on the recycling of battery waste and the recovery of strategic metals such as nickel, cobalt, cooper, aluminium and other reusable components.  The microscope will be used to study the surfaces of battery—related materials as they are dissolved away and deposited in electrochemical processes (charging and discharging).  This will help us to understand and optimise how we treat battery materials and minimise waste, as well as provide insights into new battery cell chemistries.  In addition, the new microscope will be used to support range of materials related projects funded by the EU Horizon 2020 (project SAlBaGE), Innovate UK (projects CRUPPAIL, CHROMFREE), the Home Office and a range of industry partners and commercial contractors.  The AFM will also support work on forensic materials (Prof. Hillman), minerals processing and recovery in collaboration with colleagues in the School of Geography, Geology and the Environment as well as energy related research currently being developed by the University of Leicester in the College of Science and Engineering in partnership with Midlands Universities and energy stake holders under the major funding initiative of the Energy Research Accelerator (ERA).

Chemistry Department holds second annual Fun Day

The department’s Chemistry Fun Day took place on Friday 24th August.

Even the wet and windy weather couldn’t dampen spirits, and thanks to the great team work of everyone involved the party seamlessly relocated indoors.

Quizzes, liquid nitrogen ice cream, and a chemistry ‘magic’ show were among the activities that ensured this year’s event was a huge success.

The Chemistry Fun Day takes places every summer. All departmental staff are welcome to invite along family and friends as part of the Athena SWAN work/life balance initiative.

Materials Centre CRUPPAIL project is shortlisted for Surface Engineering Association (SEA) Biannual Industry Award

The Materials Centre project ‘Cadmium Replacement Using Pulse Plating And Ionic Liquids’ (CRUPPAIL) has been shortlisted for an Environmental achievement award at The Surface Engineering & Heat Treatment 2018 Awards.

The CRUPPAIL project intends to produce a more environmentally friendly replacement for cadmium plating by developing a new chemical process which can plate zinc-nickel (ZnNi) alloy. Cadmium is a coating for metals that gives excellent anti-corrosion and lubrication properties but the feedstock material is very toxic. Use of Cd is still allowed in the EU but only for some strategic aerospace and military applications.  The global economy is searching for an alternative to cadmium and this has been achieved through the use of novel ionic liquid non-aqueous chemistry and deep eutectic solvents which create a safer coating while maintaining the technical properties of cadmium.

The CRUPPAIL project is a small consortium including a Birmingham-based commercial electroplating company, experts in waste minimisation, treatment and surface engineering and is funded by Innovate UK.  The role of the University of Leicester is to develop and produce the novel electrolyte.  This task is being led by Dr Chunhong Lei and Prof. Karl Ryder in the Materials Centre, Department of Chemistry.

The SEA Awards bring together the entire surface and heat treatment industry, including customers, suppliers and members of the organization.

The awards ceremony will be held in Manchester on Friday 12th October 2018.


Chemistry PhD student has work featured in local art exhibition

PhD student Stylianos Spathariotis’ artwork, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ has been selected for display in the annual open exhibition at New Walk Museum.

The piece combines the science of metal recovery with a state-of-the-nation political message. Using the cementation process (the precipitation of a noble metal when it comes into contact with a less noble one), Stylianos dissolved a variety of metal salts in an ionic liquid before brushing them onto galvanised steel. The reactions resulted in a patchwork of fifty grey deposits forming the figure of the Union Jack.

Stylianos intends for the piece to highlight the multicultural and multinational nature of Great Britain, while also promoting social equality via the uniform ‘grey’ quality afforded to both valuable and inexpensive metals.

‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ will be on display at New Walk Museum until 2nd February 2019PhD student Stylianos Spathariotis’ artwork, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ has been selected for display in the annual open exhibition at New Walk Museum..

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