Neil Champness is the Norman Haworth Professor of Chemistry at the University of Birmingham. He began his academic career at the University of Southampton with a B.Sc. (1989) and PhD (1993) under the supervision of Prof. Bill Levason. Following postdoctoral studies under the supervision of Prof. Gill Reid, he moved to the University of Nottingham in 1995 as a Teaching Fellow in Inorganic Chemistry. He took up an appointment as a Lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry (1998), was promoted to Reader in Chemistry (2003) and to the Chair of Chemical Nanoscience (2004). He took up his current position at the University of Birmingham in 2021.
In recognition of his research he has been awarded the Bob Hay lectureship of the RSC Supramolecular Chemistry Group (2005); the RSC Corday Morgan Medal (2006); the RSC Supramolecular Chemistry Award (2010) and the RSC Surfaces and Interfaces Award (2016). He is a Member of Academia Europaea, a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, the European Academy of Sciences, IUPAC and the Royal Society of Chemistry and was a Royal Society Wolfson Merit Awardee (2011-2016). In 2011 he was named as one of the top 100 most cited chemists of the previous decade and he has been recognized as a Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher. He is currently an EPSRC Established Career Fellow (2019-2023).
Dr. Sarah Griffin
Sarah completed her BSc(Hons) in Chemistry at the University of Glasgow in 2015, undertaking her final year project under the supervision of Prof. Ross Forgan, working on the introduction of alkyne-functionalised ligands into Zr and Hf metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). Following this, Sarah continued in the group carrying out her PhD as part of the Continuous Manufacturing and Crystallisation DTC, studying the kinetics and processes of crystallisation of Zr and Y MOFs. Sarah joined the Champness group in 2019 as a postdoctoral researcher working on complex-containing MOFs for single crystal X-ray study of reactions within the framework.
Dr. Georgia Orton
Georgia completed her MChem (Europe) at the University of Sheffield in 2015 which included research projects on molecular sensors and thermoresponsive polymers. Following this, she joined the Hogarth group at King’s College London for a PhD focusing on producing biomimics of the iron-only hydrogenase enzyme as electrocatalysts for Hydrogen oxidation. In 2019 Georgia joined the Champness group to work on MOFs for mechanistic studies of reactions within the framework.
Dr. Nic Pearce
Nic arrived in Nottingham in 2008 to study Biochemistry with Biological Chemistry. During his third year of study, Nic heard about the research that took place within the Champness group and joined the team for his Masters year. His project investigating five-fold symmetric molecular tiles was awarded the Masson Gulland prize.
He has continued his research in the Champness group working towards his PhD producing supramolecular systems of perylene and naphthalene diimide molecules.”
Alex is originally from Brighton. He completed his undergraduate degree from the University of Nottingham in 2018 where in his masters year his research was the synthesis and characterisation of molecular handcuffs. His current work consists of creating 2D molecular arrays using thiolated pillararenes on gold surfaces.
Asia joined the Champness research group in 2017 studying for her Master’s degree in organic chemistry. Her project focussed on synthesising soluble perylene diimides (PDIs) and attaching them to the surface of nanodiamonds to give nanocomposites with interesting optical properties. Currently she is continuing her research in the Champness group working towards her PhD producing supramolecular systems of perylene diimide molecules.
Jen completed her MChem degree at the University of Bath in 2019. In her final year research project she studied intermolecular interactions in crystalline photoactivated linkage isomers, supervised by Prof. Paul Raithby. She joined the Champness group for her PhD, where her research is based on the synthesis and analysis of complex-bearing metal-organic frameworks.
Musa holds a B.Sc. in Chemistry (2010) M.Sc. in Analytical Chemistry (2015) all from the University of Maiduguri where he worked on organochlorine, organophosphorus and pyrethroid pesticide residues in soil and watermelon samples grown in Gashua, Bade Local Government Area, Yobe State, Nigeria. He started working with Mai Idris Alooma Polytechnic Geidam, Yobe State as an academic staff from 2013. In 2020, he joined the Champness group studying for a PhD on Lanthanide MOFs.
Georgia graduated with an MChem degree from the University of Lincoln in 2020 after spending her Master’s year at the Lubrizol Corporation. During her undergraduate degree, she conducted a project into the supramolecular behaviour of salen-type ligands and completed a 2-month internship researching hydrotalcites at VSCHT in Prague. She joined the Champness group in October 2020 to begin a PhD within the Faraday Institution’s LiSTAR project: investigating porous materials, including MOFs and porous POMs, for next-generation Li-S batteries. She is co-supervised by Dr Graham Newton from the NAMI group at the University of Nottingham.
Originally from southern California, Danielle got her B.Sc. in Chemistry/Materials Science in 2020 from the California State University of Long Beach. She did her undergraduate research studying MOF based separations of rare-earth ions, supervised by Prof. Xianhui Bu. In September 2021, she moved to Birmingham to do her PhD in the Champness group where she’s focusing on the synthesis and characterization of metalloporphyrin based MOFs.
Previous Group Members
Former Postdoctoral Fellows
Dr. Ana Geer Ramos
Dr. Connie Pfeiffer
Dr. Lixu Yang
Dr. Andrea Laybourn
Dr. Anna Slater
Dr. Stephen Argent
Dr. Junhua Jia
Dr. Maria Gimenez-Lopez
Dr. Gudrun Goretzki
Dr. Dorothee Lahaye
Dr. Xiang Lin
Dr. De-Liang Long
Dr. Elef Kassianidis
Dr. Jackie Hamblin.
Former Ph.D. Students
Olukayode was trained as a Science Laboratory Technologist at The Polytechnic, Ibadan (2000) prior further training as chemist at the University of Ibadan (BSc 2004). In 2009, He took an MSc in Industrial Chemistry at the same university and worked on ‘the biosorption of cadmium and Lead ions from aqueous solution by Musa Paradisiaca Stalk using Flame Atomic Absorption Spetrophotometry as analytical technique’. Babarinde obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Education at Usman-Danfodio University, Sokoto (PGDE 2013) and has taught Chemistry at Nigerian Military School (NMS), Zaria, Nigerian Army School of Education, Ilorin and Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, Nigeria. He took a further MSc in Analytical Chemistry and Environmental Science at Loughborough University, United Kingdom (2014). During this programme, Olukayode was appointed Researcher [Secondee], Inorganic Analysis and Speciation Team at LGC, Teddington, UK and has worked on the Application of Ultrasonic-Assisted Liquid-Liquid Extraction for preconcentration and subsequent determination of Polybrominated diphenyl ethers [PBDEs] by inductively coupled plasma-isotope dilution mass spectrometry in environmental water samples. He joined the Champness group for his PhD in February 2018 exploring the synthesis and applications of Metal Organic Frameworks and other supramolecular architectures.
Joseph became a member of the academic staff of the Department of Chemistry, University of Calabar in 2013 after graduating from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He proceeded to do his Master’s Degree in Inorganic Chemistry under the supervision of Professor Ayi A. Ayi at the University of Calabar. In his quest for further academic progress, he joined Professor Neil Champness’ Group at the University of Nottingham in 2017 where he studied for his PhD. His research interests include, but are not limited to; the synthesis of novel naphthalene/perylene diimides, and using them to make highly porous open framework materials and putting guest molecules in the materials.
Mark was a student at Nottingham from 2013, where he completed an MSci in Chemistry. In his fourth year research project, Mark worked on naphthalene diimide-containing metal organic frameworks. Upon the commencement of his PhD, his focused switched to producing Rotaxane-containing metal-organic framework.
Rosemary undertook a joint PhD between the Champness Group at the University of Nottingham and the Sumby-Doonan Group at the University of Adelaide (Australia). She was born and raised in rural South Australia and completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Adelaide. She joined the Sumby-Doonan Group for her honours project which focused on investigating the antibacterial properties of silver coordination polymers. This led to her PhD research which involved studying bonding and reactions inside metal-organic frameworks.
Ellie did her MSci in chemistry and her final year project in the Champness group studying the synthesis of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) using naphthalene diimides as ligands and using X-ray crystallography to determine their structure. For her PhD she is supported by the Low-Dimensional Materials and Interfaces Doctoral Training Program (LDMI DTP) and worked on an interdisciplinary project co-supervised by Neil and Alex Saywell from the School of Physics. Her research focussed on understanding self-assembly of porphyrins and she spends a lot of her time doing STM in Alex Saywell’s group. She has an Instagram account aimed at young women interested in a career in the sciences called @morethanascientist to showcase what life as a PhD student is like.
Arjun spent his masters year in the Champness group working on pillararene rotaxanes. After he graduated in 2016, he decided to stay in the Champness group to pursue a PhD in the synthesis of pillararene based mechanically interlocked molecules.