• United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile

Personal Statement

Originally from Sunderland, England, I completed a BSc in Chemistry at Durham University in 1997, before graduating with a PhD in adsorption science from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 2000. I undertook several post-doctoral research positions in Newcastle, and a one year lectureship in physical chemistry, before moving to the University of Strathclyde in 2008 to take up a lectureship in the Department of Chemical and Process Engineering. I was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2015 and Professor in 2020.

I now lead a research team of six, as primary supervisor, with a focus on adsorption processes; this includes materials development and characterisation with applications from the removal of gas and liquid phase contaminants to gas storage and sensor development.  Also interested in pedagogic research, I currently co-supervise a project aimed at developing skills for enhanced employability within engineering disciplines.

Research Interests

My current research involves the use of a range of nanoporous adsorbents, including activated carbon, zeolites and metal organic framework materials, with particular focus on the adsorption properties of such structures.   Kinetics of adsorption are key to understanding the mechanisms involved in processes such as gas purification/separation, effluent removal and adsorbent recovery.  The future direction of my work involves the development of nanoporous materials for use in biomedical applications.  For example highly porous carbonaceous materials currently used in water purification processes for dialysis units require extensive improvement to reduce complications produced by persistent species (e.g. chloramines) that can contaminate patients’ blood, thus reducing associated therapeutic medication costs; or the removal of glycation end products for the reduction of diabetes in susceptible groups.  Another area for future research is in bio-terrorism with the need for improved personal protection devices and integrated decontamination processes.  These targets are all achievable by developing an appropriate nanoporous adsorbent possibly with tailored surface character.

Accepting PhD Student Applications in the following topics:

New methods for removal of pollutants from water

New methods of carbon capture using green materials

Expertise & Capabilities

  • adsorption capacity measurements for most gases and vapours
  • determination of adsorption kinetics
  • surface area determination, including pore volume and pore size distribution analysis
  • specialised equipment to study adsorption systems under flow and at high temperature
  • furnace capabilities for pyrolysis and activation methods
  • thermal stabilities of materials
  • surface chemistry determination by Fourier transform infrared and Boehm titration
  • liquid phase adsorption analysis including leaching tendencies, small scale column studies and solvent phase extraction for determination by gas chromatography

Industrial Relevance

My work has significant industrial relevance, especially in the water and air purification industries. I regularly undertake studies into materials characterisation for industrial parties and have been engaged in a number of knowledge exchange activities, both with commercial partners and in university and UK wide consortia working on projects with specific end goals for applications or commercialisation, for example Dr Jan Sefcik and I were the recipients of the 'best new commercial opportunity' 2013 at the University's enterprise awards for our project looking at continuous manufacture methods.

Teaching Interests

I am the Deputy Head of Department for Teaching and Learning, which means that I am responsible for the strategic planning of teaching within the Department, assisting colleauges in the delivery of an excellent teaching experience for all of our students. My teaching duties include the full time courses of basic principles in chemical engineering (CP101), chemical principles (CP203), chemical engineering design (CP407) and the final year chemical engineering project (18530). I also teach on several distance learning modules: chemical engineering principles and thermodynamics (CP211), and MSc research project (CP936). In addition to this, I am have undertaken an MSc in advanced academic studies and a PhD in engineering education, which involved research projects that fit with my ongoing pedagogic research interests, which include the effects of peer tutelage, embedding skills for employability, course redesign and inclusive curricula.

Academic / Professional qualifications

  • PhD: The Compensation Effect in Adsorption/Desorption of Gases/Vapours on Porous Materials (University of Newcastle, EPSRC funded, supervisor Prof. K.M. Thomas, 2000)
  • PhD: Development and evaluation of open-ended learning activities to support chemical engineering students’ development (University of Strathclyde, supervisor Dr. K. Sypek, 2020)
  • MSc Advanced Professional Studies (University of Strathclyde, 2016)
  • 2:1 BSc Honours in Chemistry (University of Durham, 1997)
  • FRSC (Royal Society of Chemistry, 2021)
  • SFHEA (Higher Education Academy, 2017)
  • CSci (Royal Society of Chemistry, 2004)
  • CChem (Royal Society of Chemistry, 2002)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Development and evaluation of open-ended learning activities to support chemical engineering students’ development, University Of Strathclyde

Award Date: 3 Jul 2020

Master in Science, Advanced Professional Studies, University Of Strathclyde

Award Date: 9 Nov 2016

Doctor of Philosophy, The Compensation Effect in Adsorption/Desorption of Gases/Vapours on Porous Materials, University of Newcastle

Award Date: 6 Dec 2000

Bachelor of Science, Electrospray Mass-Spectrometry of Lanthanide Metal Ion Solutions, University of Durham

Award Date: 3 Jul 1997

External positions

External Examiner UG Chemical Engineering, Queens University Belfast

Oct 2023Sept 2027

External Examiner UG Chemical Engineering, University of Cork

Oct 2023Sept 2026

hydro Nation Chair Research Leader Fellow, University of Stirling

Dec 2021Jan 2024

Editor in Chief of Adsorption Science and Technology, Wiley Publishers

Aug 2020Jan 2024

Young Academy of Scotland (Emeritus), Royal Society of Edinburgh

2019 → …

Editorial Board Member of Gels, MDPI Open Access Journals

2018 → …

External Examiner UG/PGT Chemical Engineering, University of Teesside

Sept 2017Dec 2022

Young Academy of Scotland, Royal Society of Edinburgh



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