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The University of Southampton
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Dr Lynda J Brown BSc PhD

Associate Professor

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Dr Lynda J Brown is an Associate Professor in Chemistry at the University of Southampton.

As an organic chemist, my research involves the discovery of novel chemical entities for imaging applications. Designing efficient synthetic routes to labelled molecules incorporating fluorophores or stable isotopes (13C , 2H, 15N, 17O) enables the development of new imaging methods for widespread applications in industry and academia.

Lynda graduated with BSc degree in Applied Chemistry from the University of Aston in 1996, spending a research placement year with GlaxoSmithKline. She then moved to the University of Southampton for doctoral research on novel fluorescent oligonucleotide probes under the supervision of Prof. Tom Brown. After obtaining her PhD in 2000, she worked as a research scientist for the Life Sciences company Eurogentec. In 2003 she returned to the University of Southampton as a postdoctoral research fellow developing new strategies for the production of imaging agents for use in positron emission tomography, and then working on the total synthesis of cis-sylvaticin. In 2009, she secured a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellowship to pursue projects centred on enhancing the selectivity of organic reactions by synthesis within nanopores, developing new catalytic materials. In 2015 she moved to her current post of a Senior Research Fellow investigating the synthesis of multiply isotopically labelled molecules for imaging applications.

Research interests

My research involves the discovery of new catalytic materials based on mesoporous silica’s, where selectivity can be affected by spatial restrictions around the catalytic centre imposed by nanocavities. The criteria for success are identification of efficient and recyclable heterogeneous catalysts that give enhanced chemo-, regio- or enantioselectivities relative to their homogeneous counterparts. In turn, this project has led to the development of homogeneous catalysts for epoxidation of a range of olefins. Current research focuses on developing these catalysts further to favour enantioselective epoxidations. Another area of interest is the development of isotopically labelled molecular probes for application in medical imaging.

I have collaborated in and led research projects spanning the areas of natural product synthesis, solid phase chemistries, heterogeneous catalytic materials and fluorescent DNA analysis. My current research involves the design and synthesis of isotopically labelled molecules to enable development of new methods in medical imaging. These molecules can be used to create hyper-polarised contrast agents that deliver enormously enhanced NMR signals (potentially many orders of magnitude over currently available technologies) with extended lifetimes allowing brighter images, higher resolution and access to remote organs not currently possible. Designing practical and efficient routes to these isotopically labelled molecules is challenging from a synthetic perspective due to constraints of limited availability of labelled starting materials and specific positioning of isotopes. Our ambition is to develop the next generation of contrast agents that incorporate water solubility and biocompatibility whilst retaining the extended lifetimes and enhanced signals.

Research theme: Organic Synthesis

Developing new heterogeneous catalytic materials
Developing isotopically labelled materials for medical imaging
Synthesis of novel oxidation catalysts

Research group

Organic Chemistry: Synthesis, Catalysis and Flow


Departmental Business Fellow (part of UIST team, Southampton)

Member of Equality and Diversity Chemistry group, Southampton.



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Book Chapters


Lecturer for CHEM3002 Medicinal Chemistry

Lecturer for CHEM1032 Organic Chemistry, tutorials and workshops

UG project supervision



Dr Lynda J Brown
Chemistry, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1BJ

Room Number: 30A/5035

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