Leading scientists take over new green lab

The University of Nottingham has appointed three top experts to lead the new GlaxoSmithKline Carbon Neutral Laboratory

The University of Nottingham has appointed three top experts in sustainable chemistry to lead the world-changing research taking place at the new GlaxoSmithKline Carbon Neutral Laboratory for Sustainable Chemistry.

The University has recruited Professor Jairton Dupont, Professor David Amabilino and Professor Professor Hon Wai Lam to work at the new laboratory which is due for completion early next year (2015). 

Located on the award-winning Innovation Park, the new Carbon Neutral Laboratory building will provide unrivalled facilities for chemistry. The focus on sustainability will be reflected in the building itself, which will incorporate the latest technologies to allow it to be carbon neutral over its lifetime.

The new recruits are a coup for the University, as they are all leading experts in their fields who have worked at some of the most prestigious institutions across the globe.

Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: “We are delighted that Professors Dupont, Hon and Amabilino will be joining Nottingham to strengthen our expertise in the area of sustainable chemistry.  The three appointments indicate this is a priority research area for us, and establishes the University as one which truly wishes to make a world-changing impact on this global issue”.

Professor Jairton Dupont (EPSRC/GSK Professor of Sustainable Chemistry) received his PhD at The University of Strasbourg (France) and after postdoctoral research at The University of Oxford he became Professor of Chemistry at the Institute of Chemistry, UFRGS (Brazil).

He has been a visiting Professor at various European Universities (France, Germany and Spain), is a member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences and World Academy of Sciences, and among various distinctions, he has received the Humboldt Research Award, the Conrado Wesel Science Award, the Brazilian Gran Cruz and TWAS Chemistry Award. His research interests are mainly centred on ionic liquids, with special emphasis on catalysis, nanomaterials and alternative energies.

Professor Dupont said of his appointment: “I was interested in joining Nottingham for three main reasons: the people, the team involved in the project, the leading vision, the commitment and the prestige of the University and the possibility to participate in a project that will make a difference not only in research, but also in the education of a new generation of scientists committed with a sustainable society.”

Professor Hon Wai Lam (GSK Professor of Sustainable Chemistry) works in the area of organic synthesis. He received his M.Chem degree in chemistry from Oxford University in 1998. He then moved to Nottingham to carry out his PhD studies, where he completed the total synthesis of the proposed structure of amphidinolide A.

Professor Hon Wai Lam works in the development of new catalytic reactions for organic synthesis. He received his M.Chem degree in chemistry from The University of Oxford in 1998 and his PhD from The University of Nottingham in 2001. Hon then moved to Harvard University as a GlaxoSmithKline Postdoctoral Fellow in 2002.

In October 2003 he joined the School of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh as a lecturer. Recognition of Hon’s work has come in the form of the RSC Harrison-Meldola Memorial Prize (2008), the RSC Hickinbottom Award (2011) and an AstraZeneca Excellence in Chemistry Award 2011.

Professor Lam said: “I am thrilled to be part of this exciting initiative to establish a new centre of excellence for sustainable chemistry. It is a fantastic opportunity to work in a brand new state-of-the-art research laboratory which is being built to the highest environmental standards. I am also looking forward to the opportunity to work in a strategic partnership with GSK on a variety of scientific problems.”

Professor Amabilino received his PhD at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College (University of London), then did postdocs at the University of Birmingham and the Université Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg before settling in Barcelona in 1996 at the Materials Science Institute (ICMAB), part of the CSIC (the Spanish Research Council), first as a postdoc and then working up to research professor. He was awarded the Hermanos Elhuyar-Hans Goldschmidt prize (given jointly by the Spanish and the German Chemical Societies) in 2011.

Professor Amabilino’s research focuses on the potential of organic materials to be used for more sustainable products and processes.

Delivering world-class research

In their new roles, the team will contribute to the strategy and delivery of world-class research and scholarships in sustainable chemistry, particularly with relevance to the fine chemicals and pharmaceutical sectors.

Professor Peter Licence, Director of the GlaxoSmithKline Carbon Neutral Laboratory for Sustainable Chemistry, said: “To recruit not one, but three leading experts in the field of sustainable chemistry is fantastic news for Nottingham. Their individual expertise and experience will allow them to lead innovative teams that will deliver changes to the way we currently approach chemical challenges and processing.”



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