Department of Chemistry events

Semester 1 & 2 all Departmental Seminars are held in Dainton Building - LT1 unless stated otherwise.

Semester 1 (September - December 2018)


There are currently no events planned for September. For any upcoming events contact the webmaster.


1 October 13:00
Hicks LT7

Level 4 Safety Briefing

4 October 12:00
Dainton Building LT1

Level 1 Safety Briefing

9 October 12:00
Hicks LT1

CoSHH Lecture

10 October 14:00
Dainton Building LT1

Speaker: Prof. Andy Lewis

Host: Dr Joe Gaunt

CDT Industrial Seminar:
Polymeric Materials: A Backbone to a Career in Industr

Abstract: Andy Lewis first became fascinated by polymer systems during his degree and then PhD at Aston University. Since then, polymers have formed a consistent theme that has shaped a career spanning nearly thirty years in largely R&D roles in small, medium and large industrial enterprises. In this CDT seminar, Andy will describe his journey to date, showcasing some of the polymer technologies he has developed, whilst reflecting on some of the key decision points and lessons learned along the way.

16 October 12:00
Hicks LT1

Experimenting with Danger


2 November 12:00
Dainton Building LT1

Speaker: Prof. Joe Harrity
University of Sheffield

Host: Prof. Iain Coldham

Departmental Seminar:
New Strategies for the Synthesis of Boronic Acid Derivatives

Abstract: Aromatic and heteroaromatic boronic acid derivatives are one of the most valuable classes of intermediates in synthetic chemistry. Their value lies in their unique combination of high stability and rich reactivity, allowing them to participate in a wide range of functionalisation reactions. This lecture will describe benzannulation reactions of simple fragments that contain a pre-existing boronic ester moiety, leading to new reaction pathways and high value products.

9 November 12:00
Dainton Building LT1

Speaker: Dr Helen Willcock
Loughborough University

Host: Dr Seb Spain

Departmental Seminar:
Synthesis of Polymer Particles, from Nanometre to Micron Sized

Abstract: Control over the architecture and functionality of polymers gives us exquisite control over their solution properties and can often be achieved using commercially available starting materials. By incorporating responsive groups, such as charged or zwitterionic monomers, the solution properties of the polymer can be finely tuned and controlled by application of an external stimulus, such as pH or temperature. However, the incorporation of responsive groups by their very nature introduces complexity and can cause problems during synthesis and application. Zwitterionic, or betaine polymers such as PDMAPS exhibit unique properties including anti-polyelectrolyte and low protein fouling behaviour, as well as biocompatibility.
Here, the synthesis of betaine polymers by both Reversible Addition Fragmentation chain Transfer (RAFT) polymerisation and dispersion and emulsion techniques will be discussed, demonstrating how the architecture and functionality of the polymer can affect both particle formation and the responsive behaviour of the polymer. Specifically, the first reported synthesis of micron-sized, discrete cross-linked polybetaine particles, using polymerisation in scCO2 with methanol as a co-solvent will be presented. The effect of crosslinking density, monomer loading, and reaction conditions will be discussed. A spherical morphology and extremely low size dispersity is observed by SEM analysis, and importantly the particles can be readily re-dispersed in aqueous solution and light scattering measurements confirm their monodisperse nature.
Current examples of the Willcock group research demonstrating the incorporation of functionality into polymeric scaffolds for various applications will also be highlighted.

16 November 12:00
Dainton Building LT1

Speaker: Dr David Lennon
University of Glasgow

Contact: Dr Marco Conte

Departmental Seminar:
The Development of a Next-generation Methyl Chloride Synthesis Catalyst

The talk will describe an academic/industrial partnership where the process of catalyst design was applied to a methyl chloride synthesis catalyst. Building on initial efforts to discern the active site distribution of a prototype catalyst, chemical modification techniques were successfully employed that minimised by-product formation, leading to improvements in the atom economy of the industrial operation.

21 November
location tbc

Careers Day

21 November
location tbc

Speaker: Vanessa Locsenski-Rose

Host: Dr Joe Gaunt

CDT Industrial Seminar: An insight into a scientific career in industry

Dr Vanessa Loczenski Rose received her Diplom-Ingenieur in Medicinal Biotechnology from the Technische Universität in Berlin. After roles in the pharmaceutical industry at OSI Pharma and Novartis, she joined the Centre for Doctoral Training in Targeted Therapeutics and Formulation Science at the University of Nottingham. She obtained her PhD from the School of Pharmacy, where she focused on the synthesis of novel phosphonium-based polymers by CRP for RNA delivery. After completing her PhD she started working as a Technical Specialist at Syngenta focusing on the formulation of biologicals for agrochemical applications. Vanessa will give a brief overview of Syngenta as a company, the formulation department and the work she is currently undertaking within the Biocontrols area. Her talk will also provide some insight what it means working for a company like Syngenta, her work responsibilities as well as some up and downs working in Industry.

23 November 12:00
Dainton Building LT1

Speaker: Prof. David Leigh, FRS
University of Manchester

Contact: Dr Jona Foster

Departmental Seminar:
Making the Tiniest Machines

Over the past two decades some of the first examples of synthetic molecular level machines and motors—albeit primitive by biological standards—have been developed. Perhaps the best way to appreciate the technological potential of controlled molecular-level motion is to recognise that nanomotors and molecular-level machines lie at the heart of every significant biological process. Over billions of years of evolution Nature has not repeatedly chosen this solution for achieving complex task performance without good reason. When we learn how to build artificial structures that can control and exploit molecular level motion, and interface their effects directly with other molecular-level substructures and the outside world, it will potentially impact on every aspect of functional molecule and materials design.

30 November 12:00
Dainton Building LT1

Speaker: Prof. Helen Fielding

Contact: Prof. Julia Weinstein

Departmental Seminar:
Liquid-microjet Photoelectron Spectroscopy of Biochromophores

Much of our detailed understanding of the intrinsic electronic relaxation dynamics of photoexcited molecules has come from gas-phase experiments and calculations involving isolated molecules, free from interactions with solvent or protein environments. However, electronically excited states are sensitive to their microenvironment, particularly in polar solvents such as water, the most important medium in chemistry and biology. Experimentally, photoelectron spectroscopy (PES) is an ideal tool for probing the electronic structure of molecules through the measurement of electron binding energies. This presentation will describe recent work from our group employing the emerging technique of liquid-microjet PES to unravel the electronic structure and relaxation dynamics of biologically important chromophores following photoexcitation in aqueous environments.

30 November
Department of Chemistry

Skills Fest

A day celebrating projects carried out by L3 students aimed at developing transferable skills. Events include a quiz show, debates and presentations by students.


5 December
location tbc

Speaker: Robert Sayer

Host: Dr Joe Gaunt

CDT Industrial Seminar:

Abstract: to be confirmed

7 December 12:00
Dainton Building LT1

Speaker: Prof. Saiful Islam
University of Bath

Contact: Dr Natalia Martsinovich

Departmental Seminar:
Atomic-Scale Insights Into Energy Materials (Batteries Included)

Breakthroughs in clean energy technologies require advances in new materials and underpinning science. A greater fundamental understanding of energy materials depends upon characterization of their underlying structural and transport behaviour. With the aid of 3D glasses, this talk highlights the use of advanced modelling methods in synergy with experimental work to gain atomic-scale insights into novel materials for lithium-ion batteries and perovskite solar cells.

12 December 13:00
Department of Chemistry

L4 Presentations

L4 MChem students present their initial findings from their final year research projects.

Semester 2 (January - May 2019)


8 January
Richard Roberts Auditorium 

Sheffield Stereochemistry 2019

For more information and registration see here.


8 February 13:00
Dainton Building LT1

Speaker: Dr Sami Rtimi
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL)

Contact: Dr Adrien Chauvet 

Departmental Seminar: Bacterial Inactivation On Photocatalytic Surfaces Without Ion Leaching: Photo-Generated Intermediates and Possible Mechanism.

Abstract: During the last few decades, the increase of infections by toxic pathogens/biofilms leading to hospital-acquired infections (HAI) has motivated many scientists in the area. More advanced antibacterial films presenting uniform particle distribution, high adhesion to the substrates, mechanical resistance and faster bacterial/biofilm inactivation under light or in the dark are needed due to health concerns. TiO2 films have been used under light < 387 nm generating highly oxidative radicals as bactericide films for many years. However, its restricted absorption of solar/visible light and slow bacterial inactivation kinetics has motivated workers to dope TiO2 with metals or to use bimetal coated surfaces (i.e. Cu, Ag or Fe) to shift the absorption of the films to the visible region. In this talk, I will show the coupling of TiO2 with copper oxide killing bacteria on a timescale of minutes and give a brief illustration of the bactericidal activity of Ag-Cu bimetal/oxide system.

22 February 13:00
Dainton Building LT1

Speaker: Dr Rachel Evans
University of Cambridge

Contact: Dr Seb Spain

Departmental Seminar:
Light-Controlled Self-Assembly and Function of Azobenzene Photosurfactants

Abstract: tbc


1 March 13:00
Dainton Building LT1

Speaker: Prof. Andrew Slark
University of Sheffield

Contact: Prof. Steve Armes FRS 

Departmental Seminar: Solving Sticky Problems with Polymer Chemistry, Science & Technology

Abstract: This talk will summarise challenges in adhesive bonding, emphasise the importance of linking applied and basic properties to develop valuable new polymer architectures and enhance sustainability, including examples from our current research.

8 March 13:00
Dainton Building LT1

Speaker: Dr Kim Jelfs
Imperial College London
RSC Harrison-Meldola Prize Lecture

Contact: Dr Grant Hill

Departmental Seminar:
Computational Molecular Materials Discovery

We have been developing an evolutionary algorithm targeted upon the discovery of optimal structures and properties for molecular materials. Whilst initially we have focused upon porous molecular materials, we will also address the ways in which our approach is generalisable to other molecular materials and their applications, including as organic semiconductors or for photocatalysis. We will also explore the use of machine learning for the rapid prediction of materials properties.

15 March 13:00
Dainton Building LT1

Speaker: Prof. Barrie Wilkinson
John Innes Centre, Norwich
RSC Interdisciplinary Prize Lecture

Contact: Prof. Anthony Meijer

Departmental Seminar:
Evolving Molecular Diversity

Abstract: Natural products (NPs) represent a hugely important source of pharmaceutical and agrochemical agents. For example, most of the antibiotics in clinical use are of natural origins and, remarkably, around half of these come from a single bacterial genus (Streptomyces). Despite these successes many NPs do not have the physical properties required to make them successful as a pharmaceutical agent without some structural modification, but their structural complexity makes this task difficult. To address this problem we developed an approach we term ‘biosynthetic medicinal chemistry’ where synthetic chemistry methods are augmented with biosynthetic engineering to enable the optimization of NP lead molecules. In my lecture I will provide some background to this area and provide examples of successes, and discuss limitations, from our work of the last two decades. I will finish with recent work in which we take inspiration from how nature evolves biosynthetic pathways.

22 March 13:00
Dainton Building LT1

Speaker: Prof. John Hartwig
University of California, Berkeley, USA
RSC Centenary Prize

Contact: Prof. Joe Harrity

Departmental Seminar:

Abstract: tbc

29 March 13:00
Dainton Building LT1

Speaker: Dr Rebecca Melen
Cardiff University

Contact: Dr Ben Partridge

Departmental Seminar:

Abstract: tbc


3 April 13:00
Department of Chemsitry

L4 Poster Session

L4 MChem students present posters about research from their final year research project.


3 May 13:00
Dainton Building LT1

Speaker: Dr Daniele Leornori
University of Manchester

Contact: Prof. Iain Coldham

Departmental Seminar:
Photoinduced Generation of C–N Bonds

In this talk I will discuss the work that my group has done in the generation and use of nitrogen radicals by photoredox catalysis.I will also present mechanistic studies and applications in late-stage functionalisation.

Summer (2019)


There are currently no events planned for June. For any upcoming events contact the webmaster.


There are currently no events planned for June. For any upcoming events contact the webmaster.

Previous Seminars

For a list of previous seminars from the 2015/2016 academic year, click here.
For a list of previous seminars from the 2016/2017 academic year, click here.
For a list of previous seminars from the 2017/2018 academic year, click here.