Top prizes for our Chemistry academics

Congratulations to Dr Sarah Staniland and Professor Michael Ward from our Department of Chemistry who have both been awarded prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry prizes.

Sarah, Senior Lecturer in Bionanoscience,  received the Royal Society of Chemistry Harrison-Meldola Memorial Prize prize 2016.

Michael, Head of Department, Chemistry, was announced as the Supramolecular Chemistry Award winner for 2016.

The Royal Society of Chemistry’s prizes and awards recognise achievements by individuals, teams and organisations in advancing the chemical sciences.

Prize winners are evaluated for the originality and impact of their research, as well as the quality of the results which can be shown in publications, patents, or even software.

The awards also recognise the importance of teamwork across the chemical sciences and the abilities of individuals to develop successful collaborations.

47 previous winners of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Awards have gone on to win Nobel Prizes for their pioneering work, including Sheffield alumnus, the late Professor Sir Harry Kroto.

sarahThe Harrison-Meldola Memorial Prizes are awarded for the most meritorious and promising original investigations in chemistry and published results of those investigations.

The prizes are named after Edward Harrison and Raphael Meldola, commemorating their contributions to chemistry.

Sarah said: “I am thrilled to be awarded this prize. Multidisciplinary science can be very challenging to approach but it is worth it. It breaks the conventional moulds of established disciplines and thus is more able to be free and creative in ideas and thinking, leading to really exciting and original science.

"With this in mind, I would like to offer my thanks and appreciation to my research group. They are brave and open-minded to begin this work and very talented and resilient to see their projects through.”

Sarah’s research focuses on how living things are able to make hard materials and minerals. She has been investigating how this process works and how we can harness it to form customised magnetosomes for use in biomedicine.

Sarah is fascinated by the way that living things are able to make incredible hard materials and minerals. For example magnetic bacteria can make magnetite nanoparticles, known as magnetosomes, of precise size and shape within their cells. Sarah has been investigating how this process works and how we can harness it to form customised magnetosomes for use in biomedicine.

mikeThe Supramolecular Chemistry Award recognises studies leading to the design of functionally useful supramolecular species

Michael will receive £2,000, a medal and certificate, and will complete a UK lecture tour.

Michael said: “I was very pleased to hear that I have been selected for this award. There is a lot of very good supramolecular chemistry going on in the UK so this came as a surprise, but a very welcome one.

“The ability to manipulate supramolecular assemblies – rather than just individual molecules – is becoming a field of immense promise and importance in fields as diverse as materials science and chemical biology and it is exciting to be a part of it.

“The recent work from my group, which is behind this award, has involved an outstanding group of PhD students and academic collaborators to whom I express my sincere thanks: you know who you are!”

Professor Ward’s research has involved the self-assembly of hollow cage molecules, in which a large number of simple components spontaneously come together to form a large, hollow, roughly spherical array called a coordination cage. Self-assembly allows large and complicated molecules with elaborate structures to form under their own steam from very simple components.

Apart from their interesting structures, these cages can trap small molecules in the central space, allowing a small molecule to hide inside a large one – like nested Russian dolls. This may have many useful applications, from carrying drug molecules into cells, to allowing toxic molecules to be trapped and destroyed inside the cage cavity.