Archive for the ‘Emerging Investigator’ Category

Emerging Investigator Series – David Nelson

Dr David Nelson studied chemistry at the Universities of Edinburgh (MChem, 2008) and Strathclyde (PhD, 2012 with Prof. J. M. Percy). He was then a Research Fellow at the University of St. Andrews (2012-14 with Prof. S. P. Nolan) before taking up a Chancellor’s Fellowship at the University of Strathclyde (2014), where he was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2018. He received a Bürgenstock Junior Scientists Programme Fellowship in 2019 and a Thieme Chemistry Journals Award in 2020. David joined the editorial board of Communications Chemistry in 2020.

David and his team use tools and techniques from physical (in)organic, organometallic, organic and computational chemistry to understand reaction mechanisms and structure/reactivity relationships in homogeneous catalysis mediated by transition metal complexes. Current areas of focus include nickel-catalysed cross-coupling reactions and iridium-catalysed C-H activation reactions.

 

Read his Emerging Investigator article “Are rate and selectivity correlated in iridium-catalysed hydrogen isotope exchange reactions?” and read more about his in the interview below:

How do you feel about Catalysis Science & Technology as a place to publish?

I’ve always found publishing with the journal to be quite painless. The review process is smooth, the tracker is excellent (and provides more/more up-to-date information than other publishers do), and we’ve always had constructive comments from reviewers and editors that have allowed us to improve our manuscripts.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment and what do you find most challenging about your research?

We are really interested in understanding reaction mechanisms and how this understanding can be used to optimise reaction conversion and selectivity, and to make reactions more efficient. I really enjoy working with reactions where there is a lot to discover, and where there are still some big questions to be answered. It’s often quite challenging to move beyond empirical observations of “this reaction gives X% yield” or “this is the order of reactivity” to truly understand why this is observed.

In your opinion, what are the most important questions to be asked/answered in this field of research?

For C-H activation I think, depending on the specific reaction, there still remain some challenges around decreasing catalyst loadings and around understanding and predicting selectivity. When I teach C-H activation to our undergraduates I like to point towards iridium-catalysed C-H borylation as an excellent reaction that’s widely used across academia and industry, exactly because we can often work at reasonably low catalyst loadings and predict selectivity quite reliably.

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early career scientists?

Advice is always tricky to give out, because everyone has a different experience of life and a different career path, but I would encourage early career scientists to consider empathy as an important attribute. It’s always worth considering things from multiple perspectives, when you interact with people directly or indirectly: your students, senior colleagues, technical staff, reviewers, the authors of the papers and grants you review, and so on. What would you want from that interaction, if you were in their shoes? What else might they be dealing with?

Keep up to date with David and his research by following his Twitter @TheNelsonGroup

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Emerging Investigator Series – Sophie Carenco

Sophie Carenco graduated from Ecole Polytechnique, Palaiseau, in 2008. She obtained her PhD in 2011 from University Pierre & Marie Curie, Paris, for her work on the synthesis and applications of metal phosphide nanoparticles. From 2012 to 2013, she was a post-doctoral fellow at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Berkeley, California, in the group of Prof. Miquel Salmeron, where she used synchrotron-based in situ spectroscopies to monitor the surface state of metallic nanoparticles during catalytic reactions.

In 2014, she joined CNRS as a researcher in Laboratoire de Chimie de la Matière Condensée de Paris (LCMCP), associated with Sorbonne Université, CNRS and Collège de France. She works on novel synthetic routes of exotic nanomaterials for energy-relevant challenges such as CO2 valorization. In 2017, she was awarded an ERC Starting Grant to work on small molecules activation at the surface of nanoparticles.

She was awarded the European Young Chemist Award from EuCheMS in 2010 and the C’Nano National Award in 2012 for her PhD work. More recently, she was awarded the Bronze Medal of CNRS, the Jean Rist Medal of SF2M. In relation with the interdisciplinary character of her research, she received the Young Researcher Award of Physical Chemistry division of SCF-SFP (2018) and the Young Researcher Award of the Catalysis Division of the French Chemical Society (2021). In 2020, she was the recipient of the Clara Immerwahr Award, from the German consortium UniSysCat. In 2021, she received the Researcher Award from the Solid State Chemistry division of the French Chemical Society. She is also involved in science outreach: she published in 2012 a short book about nanomaterials and chemistry.

Read her Emerging Investigator article “Influence of the copper precursor on the catalytic transformation of oleylamine during Cu nanoparticle synthesis” and read more about her in the interview below:

How do you feel about Catalysis Science & Technology as a place to publish?

As my work deals with reactivity and catalysis at the frontier of homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis, this journal is a nice venue to publish our latest results. I enjoy the fact that mechanistic works, focused on deciphering the underlying processes rather than on the catalysts performance, are welcome in CatSciTech.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment and what do you find most challenging about your research?

I am excited about our research line on colloidal catalysis, which is neither traditional homogeneous catalysis nor typical of heterogeneous catalysis studies. In the ERC project “NanoFLP”, we focus on the interface of metal-containing nanoparticles with solutions containing strong ligands. Nowadays, a range of tools are available to monitor this interface, which provides us with new insights on the dynamics of the interface, and an opportunity to enhance the reactivity toward small molecules.

In your opinion, what are the most important questions to be asked/answered in this field of research?

I believe we should pursue a fundamental approach that properly characterizes the amount and nature of surface ligands, while also considering the exchanges with the surrounding solution and the metal core restructuring. Both phenomena are intertwined. We should expand the variety of examples, beyond the typical CdSe or gold nanoparticles, reaching to multimetallic nanoparticles but also less common phases such as metal carbides or metal oxysulfides.

Can you share one piece of career-related advice or wisdom with other early career scientists?

I would mention two things: First, don’t work in a bubble, seek feedback from your advisors but also from your peers, which you can do at your university or through younger chemists networks such as IYCN or YEuCAT. Second, target the core question in your research topic sooner than later: you will be able to optimize yields or performance only if you get an in-depth understanding of the catalyst you work with.

 

Follow @SophieCARENCO on Twitter to keep updated with her and her research!

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Emerging Investigator Series – Takashi Toyao

Takashi Toyao obtained his PhD from Osaka Prefecture University under the supervision of Prof. Masaya Matsuoka for the development of photocatalysts based on metal–organic frameworks and porous coordination polymers. Since 2015, He has served as Assistant Professor at Hokkaido University, where he enjoys catalysis research in an international research group with fantastic collaborators. His research interests include CO2 utilization, automotive emission control, and lower alkanes upgrading using spectroscopic, theoretical and data science approaches.

Read his Emerging Investigator article “Reverse water-gas shift reaction over Pt/MoOx/TiO2: reverse Mars–van Krevelen mechanism via redox of supported MoOx” and read more about him in the interview below:

How do you feel about Catalysis Science & Technology as a place to publish?

I am very excited because Catalysis Science & Technology is a leading journal in the field of catalysis. I am also grateful to the co-authors who not only made this possible but made it an extremely pleasant and joyful journey.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment and what do you find most challenging about your research?

I am looking forward to continuing my work on the low-temperature reverse water-gas shift (RWGS) reaction we explored in this most recent publication as well as on reactions that would help to solve energy and environmental issues. We try to seamlessly integrate experiment, theory and data science to realize catalysts development and to gain a better understanding of on structure-performance relationship. I hope these activities would lead to establishing a new methodology that accelerate paradigm shift away from the use of traditional catalysis research where trial-and-error methods are already reaching the limit

In your opinion, what are the most important questions to be asked/answered in this field of research?

I think that rational catalyst design would be the most important. The discovery of truly novel catalysts and catalytic reactions is a formidable task, and as a result, many of the advances in this field of catalysis have arisen from trial-and-error investigations which are often too resource intensive and intellectually frustrating. Establishing effective and accurate catalyst design guides through the fundamental understanding of catalytic processes could accelerate the development of novel catalysts.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Emerging Investigator Series – Chunfei Wu

 

Dr Chunfei Wu is a Reader at the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and the Chemical Engineering Programme Lead at Queen’s University Belfast. He has worked in the areas of converting renewable and waste resources to energy, fuel, and chemicals through catalytic thermo-chemical routes for more than 15 years. Dr Wu has also been involved in several EPSRC, Innovate UK, Royal Society and EU projects. He has published more than 150 peer reviewed journal papers with >6000 citations (H index of 45, Google Scholar) in the areas of catalytic thermo-chemical conversion of wastes and carbon capture and utilisation. He is the founding Editor-in-Chief of Carbon Capture Science & Technology, the Managing Editor of Biomass and Bioenerg. He is a Charted Scientist and a Member of Royal Society of Chemistry.

Read his Emerging Investigator article “Coked Ni/Al2O3 from the catalytic reforming of volatiles from co-pyrolysis of lignin and polyethylene: preparation, identification and application as a potential adsorbent” and read more about him in the interview below:

How do you feel about Catalysis Science & Technology as a place to publish?

Catalysis Science & Technology is a high profile journal in the research area of catalysis. Its fast processing of manuscripts is attracting me to publish papers. I definitely recommend the journal to my colleagues.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment and what do you find most challenging about your research?

I am excited about developing novel and applicable technologies to upcycle waste plastics. However, the key challenge is to demonstrate its commercial potential and deploy the technologies.

In your opinion, what are the most important questions to be asked/answered in this field of research?

In the area of waste plastic recycling, the key question is whether the recycling technology is robust, economically feasible and environmentally friendly.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)