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Fulbright Award

26 March 2014

Mark Levenstein from Old Dominion University, Virginia, USA will spend the next academic year in Leeds working with Prof Fiona Meldrum in Chemistry and Prof Nik Kapur in Mechanical Engineering.

Mark said "I'll be working with a mechanical engineer and a chemist, in that area between applied and pure science. It's very interdisciplinary, which is part of what appealed to me."

Old Dominion University have published a longer article about this award.


Travel grant winner

24 March 2014

Congratulations to PhD student George Burslem on receiving an international travel grant to attend the EMBO Chemical Biology Conference.

George who works with Profs Wilson and Nelson is one of six recipients of the first round of funding from the Biological and Medicinal Chemistry Sector (BMCS) of the Royal Society of Chemistry. The scheme enables talented younger chemists to benefit from the experience of participating in high-impact international conferences.

The BMCS judging panel was delighted by both the quality and numbers of applications to this first funding call; the chair of the panel Dr. Andrew Williams commented "I think it's a great reflection on the quality of chemistry research in Britain that the job of selecting the six awardees was so difficult. My thanks and congratulations go to all the applicants."

Geo Fuel Cells

13 March 2014

A new approach to simulating the energetic processes that may have led to life on Earth has been published in the journal Astrobiology.

In collaboration with colleagues from California, including NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech, researchers from the School of Chemistry & the Centre for Computational Fluid Dynamics here in Leeds have built reactors which simulate the relatively low levels of electrical energy that emerge from geological environments such as hydrothermal vents. These reactors are based on the principles of a fuel cell and more closely model the type of energy transduction processes that take place at the heart of every living cell. It is hoped that this new approach to simulating prebiotic processes may lead to a better understanding of how life could have emerged on earth.

UoL press release and contextual video can be found at: ‘Simulating how the Earth Kick-started metabolism’. The article in Astrobiology is here

Final year research

27 February 2014

Our final-year Integrated Masters students unveiled their research results in a lively poster presentation event. Fifty-five posters were presented.

The research on display was of the highest quality and covered the length and breadth of chemistry: from atmospheric to medicinal, from analytical to synthetic to computational. The objects of study were very diverse; biocatalysts, cosmic dust, and electrically conductive inks are but three examples.

The students themselves voted for the best posters on display. Mohammed Jeraal (right) won the top prize with his work on self-optimising continuous reactors. Alexandra Parker (left), who is developing a new method for the trace analysis of metaldehyde, was awarded the runner-up prize. Congratulations to Mohammed, Alex, and to their research groups (the Bourne and Ansell groups, respectively).

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.

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