University of Sheffield researcher named in Forbes 30 under 30 Europe list for Science and Healthcare

  • University of Sheffield researcher featured on Forbes 30 under 30 Europe list
  • PhD student Kirsty Smitten has been recognised for her work in antimicrobial resistance
  • The Forbes 30 under 30 list showcases young visionaries across ten industries

Kirsty SmittenA University of Sheffield researcher has been named in the Forbes 30 under 30 Europe list for Science and Healthcare.

Kirsty Smitten, a PhD researcher from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Chemistry, has been honoured for her work which is helping to combat antimicrobial resistance.

Her research is focussed on developing metal-based therapeutic compounds derived from ruthenium to create new antibiotics. So far, she has synthesized over 20 new antimicrobial compounds and is continuing to develop two of them.

The two novel ruthenium antimicrobial compounds have shown higher antimicrobial activities than current clinically available antibiotics, across several strains of bacteria, and have been found to completely clear a bacterial infection in a living model.

Kirsty, who also did her undergraduate degree in chemistry at the University of Sheffield, said: “It feels amazing to be featured on the list with such inspirational people and for my work on antimicrobial resistance to be globally recognised. To be featured alongside one of my favourite actors, Ncuti Gatwa, was particularly exciting.”

One compound developed by Kirsty could be a potential new treatment for gram-negative bacteria such as E. coli.

Professor Jim Thomas, from the University of Sheffield, said: "Over the years, I have really been blessed with some great students, but Kirsty is outstanding in both ability and her attitude to work. She has the potential to be an internationally leading scientist."

This is the fifth annual Forbes 30 under 30 Europe, which showcases 300 young visionaries boldly redefining ten industries across 32 European countries. The 2020 edition includes household names including musician Lewis Capaldi, model Cara Delevigne and environmental activist Great Thunberg.

Additional information

The University of Sheffield

With almost 29,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2018 and for the last eight years has been ranked in the top five UK universities for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.


For further information please contact:

Emma Griffiths
Media and PR Assistant
University of Sheffield
0114 222 1034