Tag Archives: Chemistry

Acidic oceans research gains prize for chemistry PhD student

Christina C. Roggatz, third year Chemistry PhD student at the University of Hull, won 1st prize for her presentation entitled “Quantum chemical methods help unravel the effects of pH on marine communication” at the 30th Molecular Modelling Workshop 2016 in Erlangen, Germany. The annual meeting provides a platform for PhD students and early post-doctoral researchers to present their research to the molecular modelling community.  She will also be recommended to obtain one of the twelve available slots to present her work at the prestigious MGMS Young Modeller’s Forum in London in November.

In her interdisciplinary PhD project, Christina is using a innovative combination of methods to reveal the hidden effects of ocean acidification on communication molecules used by marine organisms. She uses quantum chemical calculations (Dr. David M. Benoit) paired with NMR spectroscopy (Prof. Mark Lorch) to investigate and visualise effects of pH on communication molecules. The calculations and NMR measurements were backed up with behavioural tests with marine invertebrates (Dr. Jörg D. Hardege) that assessed the biological functionality of the molecules.

The presentation summarized how quantum chemical methods can be used to investigate the influence of pH on chemical properties and conformations of peptides used by marine animals. But Christina’s work has even wider applications, modelling the characteristics of small molecules in solution presents one of today’s main challenges, especially with regard to pharmaceutical applications. Hence the broad appeal and international interest that Christina’s presentation found.

This is the second presentation prize that Christina has received for her work. The innovative nature and importance of this interdisciplinary work had previously been acknowledged with an outstanding presentation award at the ALSO 2015 Aquatic Sciences Meeting in Granada, one of the largest international meetings in the field.


Grants awarded in November 2015 (over £10k)

Miss K L Hemingway, Mr N D Cutts, Prof M Elliott, £10,000, Environment Agency, Assessment of Saltmarsh Development in the Alkborough MR Site for WFD Compliance

Prof L Ingle, £16,532, City Health Care Partnership CIC, Research Assistant in Exercise

Dr M Hird, £51,385, EPSRC, The British Liquid Crystal Society Annual Training Workshop

Dr B Hänfling, Dr L Lawson Handley, £55,829, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, The Development of an eDNA-Based Approach for Fish Sampling in Lochs for WFD – Phase 2

University of Hull offers clusters of science and engineering PhD Scholarships

University of Hull sign

We are pleased to announce 15 science and engineering full PhD Scholarships for 2016 entry.

The University of Hull are offering over 40 Scholarships in total to UK, EU and international students, as part of its ongoing commitment to research.

The PhD Scholarships will be combined with investments in Post-Doctoral positions to build robust expertise in key research cluster areas. Each of the PhD projects are distinct and many are interdisciplinary or in collaboration with industry.

The Scholarships cover full fees for UK, EU and international students. UK and EU students also receive a tax-free maintenance stipend that is in line with Research Councils UK Doctoral Training Centre levels. The closing date for applications is 29 February 2016.

Professor Dan Parsons, Associate Dean for Research and Enterprise in the Faculty of Science and Engineering, said: “We are delighted to announce these PhD Scholarship opportunities and to  build a robust research environment around these important clusters of research. We look forward to many applications for these excellent projects.”

PhD Scholarships

The Scholarships offered within the Faculty of Science and Engineering are available in the following five research clusters:

Gender, Place and Memory, 1400-1900

These PhD projects form part of the Gender, Place and Memory 1400-1900 research cluster at the University of Hull which draws in academics and researchers from History, English and Geography:

Women walking the world: emotions, place and memory in English court records, 1400-1800

Women, property and the law: mapping sexual inequality in the East Riding of Yorkshire, 1708-1974

3D Printing of Bio-inspired Composites as a Cross-Cutting Capability

We are investing significant resources in creating a 3D printing research cluster which combines the expertise of chemists, engineers and physicists to create novel materials through rational design.

3D printing of functionally graded complex composites

3D printing: Bio-inspired self-healing composite materials

Catastrophic Flows

Catastrophic flows have shaped and reshaped our physical environment, and the humans that reside on them since the planet was first formed. The lessons we glean from these epic events in the past have the power to change the way we predict and survive future occurrences.

Scaling flood events and ecohydraulics in experimental models

Coastal system resilience under increased storminess

Simulating catastrophic flows on Mars

Quantifying the sedimentation of ignimbrites: understanding the behaviour of pyroclastic density currents through experimental modelling

Origins: From the Sub-Atomic to Clusters of Galaxies

We are pleased to announce four new PhD studentships within the University’s E.A. Milne Centre for Astrophysics, spanning the sub-atomic to the largest scales in the Universe.

Nucleosynthetic yields and artificial stars

The cosmic distance ladder

Star formation in cluster galaxies

Extreme solar flares

Directed Self Assembly

These PhD positions are part of a major research initiative from the University of Hull to create a directed self-assembly cluster combining the expertise of chemists and physicists to create novel materials.

Directed self-assembly for metamaterials: physics and devices: geometries for nanophotonic applications

Directed self-assembly for metamaterials: physics and devices: optical and electrical properties of self-assembled metamaterials

Novel chiroptical organic/metal nano systems


For more information about the University of Hull Scholarships 2016, and to apply, visit www.hull.ac.uk/phd

New brochure showcases world-leading science and engineering research

A new brochure from the University of Hull offers an insight into the pioneering research undertaken by staff and postgraduate research students across its Faculty of Science and Engineering.

Research in Focus 2016 showcases the work of a range of leading-edge researchers and its real life impact.

Following interest in the first publication of this type from 2014 – ‘Inspired in Hull’, which highlights examples of exciting research from all departments in the Faculty – the new brochure also features PhD students describing the research they are undertaking, and a selection of exciting research news from across the Faculty.

Research in Focus 2016The publication, available online or in print format, has already been shared with other Universities and their students, from as far afield as China and Malaysia.

Professor Stephen Kelly, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering said: “Our 2016 research brochure highlights some of the novel and exciting research being conducted across the Faculty. I am immensely proud of our diverse and collaborative research that is addressing real world problems, from understanding how the Earth is responding to climate change to breakthroughs in ‘bench-to-bedside’ cancer treatments.”

Professor Dan Parsons, Associate Dean for Research and Enterprise, added: “We are committed to conducting excellent, world-leading research that addresses critical challenges in today’s world. Our most recent 2014 Research Excellence Framework results reflect the work of our staff, researchers and research students in pushing the boundaries of science and engineering that is making a difference in the world.”

Research in Focus also includes the latest information about the high quality research environment at the University, and the investment in facilities such as the world-class Brynmor Jones Library and the Allam Building which houses a revamped biomedical research facility with two research centres – one focusing on cardiovascular and metabolic disease and the other on cancer. These are just two of the areas in which the University has an international reputation.

To request free printed copies of the brochure please email science@hull.ac.uk

How Minecraft could help teach chemistry’s building blocks of life

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on The Converation.

By Mark Lorch, Senior Lecturer in Biological Chemistry, and Joel Mills, technology enhanced education

Children should be playing more computer games in school. That idea might enrage you if you think kids today already spend too much time staring at screens or if you are already sick of your offspring’s incessant prattling about fighting zombies and the like. But hear me out. Read more

Lab on a Chip research wins digital award

The University of Hull’s pioneering ‘Lab on a Chip’ research has been recognised at the inaugural Hull and East Yorkshire Digital Awards.

Lab on a Chip won the award for Best Emerging Technology at the ceremony at the new C4Di headquarters on 22nd October.

Lab on a Chip is an innovative technology that enables scientists to build their ‘labs’ on chips – shrinking a whole laboratory, and all basic functions carrier out there, to chip size.

The research has led to significant developments in the fields of chemistry and biology, having been an international leader in the field for over 20 years.

Best Emergency Technology award, winner Lab-on-a-Chip. Pictured, from left, Amy Dawson, Rory Cellan-Jones, presenting the award James Greenwood digital director Strawberry and John Greenman Picture: Jerome Ellerby

Best Emergency Technology award, winner Lab-on-a-Chip.
Pictured, from left, Amy Dawson, Rory Cellan-Jones, presenting the award James Greenwood digital director Strawberry and John Greenman
Picture: Jerome Ellerby

Lab on a Chip has a range of applications, which includes producing individualised treatment plans for patients with cancer, heart or lung disease by studying living tissues on the chip.

It is also being developed to test for pathogens in water in resource-poor countries where water monitoring facilities are scarce.

The multidisciplinary research is carried out by academic staff from the areas of chemistry, engineering, physics, biology and medicine.

Professor John Greenman, a researcher in the Lab on a Chip group and Head of the School of Biological, Biomedical and Environmental Sciences said, “It’s fantastic that the pioneering work of many spread across the Faculty of Science and Engineering was recognised.”

“Understanding how biological processes work is the start of us being able to design new ways of treating disease, as well as enabling us to use existing drugs in a smarter way.”

The University had a strong presence in the awards with six shortlisted entries in total.

These included Adam Boyne, a Computer Science graduate who helped found video game firm BetaJester, who was shortlisted in the Young Digital Person of the Year Award.

Seed Software, based in the Department of Computer Science, which develops high-end software for UK fire services, was shortlisted in the Best Digital innovation category.

Computer Science graduates were also shortlisted for their software firm Arc Studio, which has expanded 50 per cent since launching a year ago, being shortlisted in the Best Digital Start-up category.

Lab-on-a-chip was also shortlisted in the Best Hardware category.

Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded for work on natural DNA repair

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on The Conversation.

By Benjamin Burke, Molecular Imaging Post-Doctoral Research Assistant

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2015 has been awarded jointly to Sweden’s Tomas Lindahl, USA’s Paul Modrich and Turkish-born Aziz Sancar for their discoveries in the field of natural DNA repair.

Natural DNA repair is necessary for our survival. Every day, damage occurs to our DNA, whether from external factors such as UV light, smoking, radiation or carcinogens or from the natural mistakes that happen continuously in replication of such large amount of code. If these mistakes were not repaired the DNA would decay into chaos – a word not usually a good sign for successful biology.

Lindahl, Modrich and Sangar beat off strong competition from the team behind the genome editing technique CRISPR/CAS9 which many had been considered the strongest contender in the area of molecular biology. Read more

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