We’re 17! We’re 17!

The mysterious cabal of QS University Rankers have deemed us (i.e. the University of Edinburgh) to be the 17th best University in the known universe. That’s a pretty impressive accomplishment! This international reputation was a significant part of why I was inspired to come here in the first place, so it’s great to see that the ranking hasn’t fallen off of a proverbial cliff since my arrival, and has actually improved…17

More Kool-Aid Drinkers!

The air in Edinburgh is crisp and clean, jackets are being zipped up and the winds of change blow. Seasons always lend themselves to overly dramatic statements, as do new arrivals. This September marks a major change in the Green Materials Laboratory, with a full six new starters joining our team.

PhD-1. Genny Keefe has arrived from Canada. She worked in the Canadian arm of the GML for several years as an undergraduate and has now started her PhD supported by an NSERC scholarship. She’ll be working on anti-microbial polymers.

PhD-2. Fern Sinclair has stayed on after an undergraduate degree at the University of Edinburgh with a prestigious Principal’s Scholarship. She’s working on polymer functionalisation (pre and post!).

PhD-3. Emily MacDonald joins us after an undergraduate degree at the University of Manchester. She’ll be looking at some phosphorus-containing polymers of commercial importance.

PhD-4. Kailong (Kevin) Zhu has come all the way from China to join our team. He’s the lucky one, though, with THREE supervisors (myself, Stephen Thomas and Jason Love) helping him with his work on carbon dioxide catalysis.

PhD-5. David Ferrier is (gasp) an Engineer supervised by Philip Hands in the School of Engineering. He’s working with us on some novel swellable polymers for sensing applications.

MSc-1. Finally, Shuyu (Echo) Yang has also come to us from China and will look at epoxidised soybean oils.

Thanks so much to everyone who decided to join our team! Now get in the lab and make some magic happen! And have fun!

Welcome to Love Chao

Chao Wei has joined our group for the next few months as a Masters project student. He’ll be working on expanding the monomer scope of our iron amine bis(phenolate) catalysts active in ATRP/OMRP. Chao is super keen to learn every detail of controlled radical polymerisation and has already gained quite a few nicknames after only a couple of weeks. My favourite is “Love Chao”!

Welcome LC!


Congratulations to Gayan and Genny who both successfully defended their graduate and undergraduate theses last week. Gayan talked about his work on cyclodextrin-based polymer stars, including some interesting comparative studies on core-first vs. arm-first synthetic methodologies. Genny defended her efforts to synthesize a new family of monomers that we think have great potential in anti-microbial and anti-fouling applications.

Gayan is soon off to the University of Toronto where he’ll pursue his passion for the interface between science and business whilst Genny is soon off to… HERE!

Well done!

Green Materials

Green Materials

One of my duties that extends beyond the GML is my role as Editor-in-Chief of the new journal Green Materials. This is a pretty unique journal publishing key scientific and engineering advances extending from renewable polymers to green materials processing to new biodegradable materials. I’m supported in this role by an excellent Editorial Board including leading scientists like Chris Ober, Geoff Coates, Andrew Dove and Jaime Grunlan amongst many others. Green Materials had a big presence at the recent American Chemical Society conference in New Orleans. I saw (and presented!) lots of fantastic talks on Green Materials, and our journal sponsored the POLY/PMSE poster session. Several members of our team took a quick break for this photo-op. Pictured (from L to R) are editorial board members Jaime Grunlan (Texas A&M) and John Gavenosis (DuPont), the dorky Editor-in-Chief (that’s me!) and our publishing team Sohini Banerjee and Victoria Rae from ICE Science.

Check out the journal now! Online access is FREE for 2013!

Glen Briand and MtA

Congrats to Glen Briand, my indium collaborator at Mount Allison University. We screened some of Glen’s indium complexes for activity in ring-opening polymerisations of cyclic esters when we were still back in Canada and a paper based on these results has just been accepted in the Journal of Organometallic Chemistry. I miss good ol’ Mt. Allison. My alma mater for my undergraduate degree (oh so long ago), I look back fondly at the excellent training and personal attention I received at this small liberal arts college. I wouldn’t be the scientist I am today without those experiences. Bru!