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Undergraduate Project Work on the Cover of AFM

19 December 2013

Final year undergraduate project work by James Cattle has appeared on the cover of the top materials journal ‘Advanced Functional Materials’.

The paper in Vol. 23, pages 5997-6006 describes a new method for aligning the columnar phases of discotic liquid crystals using microchannels made with the photoresist SU8. An earlier method of aligning columnar phase of discotic liquid crystals, based on controlled dewetting of thin films, arose out of a collaboration between two Leeds PhD students: Dan Tate in Chemistry and Jonathan Bramble in Physics. This was published in AFM, 2010, Vol. 20, 914-920.

Right at the end of their PhDs Dan and Jonathan discovered the alternative, microchannel method but they only had time to carry out the briefest possible investigation. As a result, most of the systematic investigation was left to a final year project student, James Cattle. He was able to show that this method of alignment has significant advantages over all previous methods with potential applications in both the organic electronics and LC display fields. James is now working for his PhD with Professor Rik Brydson in SPEME.

Poster prize for new antibacterials

9 December 2013

Sarah Narramore won first prize for her poster at the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC) antimicrobial resistance mechanisms workshop for researchers held last week.

The poster entitled “In silico design of bacterial type II topoisomerase inhibitors: new “dual-target” antibiotics” presented an overview of the work Sarah carried out in the first year of her PhD. Her prize consists of a year’s membership to BSAC and free attendance at their next meeting, which is to be held in London in March.

Ricky Cain and Sarah Narramore from the Fishwick group both attended the two-day workshop which was held in Birmingham. The workshop has been running annually for 8 years providing an opportunity for researchers investigating any aspect of antimicrobial resistance to meet and share knowledge and expertise between different labs and disciplines. The workshop included lectures from experienced researchers in the field and from PhD students and young researchers, as well as poster sessions and networking and discussion activities. The discussion session for PhD students on the first evening was particularly beneficial as it encouraged collaboration between researchers from different fields.

Early Career Scientist Award

18 November 2013

Shahrzad (Shezi) Mohamadi has recently been presented with an ‘Early Career Scientist’ award following her presentation at the In Vitro Toxicology Society meeting.

The meeting was held at the University of Leicester on 4/5th November. Shezi, seen receiving her award from Karl Herbert (IVTS committee member) and Penny Jones (Unilever and IVTS committee member) described her work on an electronic device for screening biomembrane activity towards specific pharmaceuticals. This is yet another success for Shezi who is in the final year of her PhD research under the supervision of Prof. Andrew Nelson; more information is available on his web page.

Summer placement successes

22 October 2013

Eighteen undergraduate students presented research carried out during summer placements at a specially organised symposium on Wednesday 16th October.

There was a variety of different talks ranging from synthetic organic and bioorganic chemistry to materials chemistry, physical and atmospheric chemistry. The event was sponsored by the RSC and Proctor and Gamble, with Tony McMeekin from P&G also giving a talk. Prizes were awarded for the best talks to Megan Herbert who carried out a placement in the group of Prof. Whitaker (Title: Photodissociation of CH3ONO through the application of REMPI and Velocity Map Imaging) and Paul Cowling who carried out a placement in the group of Dr. Turnbull (Title: Rescuing capsid formation of lumazine synthase mutants).

The School of Chemistry at Leeds hosts several undergraduate students in the research laboratories over the summer (29 students in 2013). Funding is provided by the School, Wellcome Trust, RSC, EPSRC, Society of Biology, Industry and the Clothworkers Innovation Fund. For more details please contact Dr. Charlotte Willans (

Unit Cell - art and science collaboration

1 October 2013

Unit Cell is an immersive sound sculpture inspired by the work of the Braggs who first proposed using x-rays to study crystal structures 100 years ago in Leeds

In Unit Cell, the x-rays are replaced by sound waves and the crystal is an array of 125 beach balls suspended in space. The viewer is immersed in a sound field, sometimes loud, sometimes quiet, that fills the space around the sculpture. It was conceived and designed during the ASMbly arts, science, maker laboratory in Leeds (Sept 16-21, 2013) by members of The Superposition collective (, Prof Ben Whitaker and Dr Mike Nix (scientists), Lawrence Molloy and Dominic Hopkinson (sculptors).

Unit Cell will be showing in the Parkinson Court, University of Leeds, Oct 4 6-10 pm during Leeds Light Night.

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