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The University of Southampton

Recognition for high achieving Chemists at Southampton

Published: 1 August 2016

Three new Chemistry professors and a Professorial Fellow (Enterprise) have been announced at the University of Southampton. The promotions recognise the achievements of Dr Simon Coles, Dr Syma Khalid, Dr John Langley and Dr Robert Raja at one of the UK’s leading Chemistry departments.

Commenting on the promotions within Chemistry, Head of Chemistry, Professor Gill Reid said: “I am delighted to offer my congratulations to Simon, Syma, John and Robert in Chemistry whose contributions to our portfolio of research, education and enterprise have been recognised in this way. Chemistry in Southampton provides a stimulating environment in which to conduct research and to train the future generation of Chemists. The continued successes of our newly promoted staff and their groups will further enhance our international reputation for excellence.”

Simon Coles, Professor of Structural Chemistry, says: “Southampton has been the right environment to help me build the National Crystallography Service, the most powerful and productive crystallography facility in the world. I am proud to be one of the top 30 most published crystallographers and look forward to achieving more in years to come. I was also pleased to establish new MSc programmes in our advanced teaching laboratories in recent years.”

Syma Khalid, Professor of Computational Biophysics, uses computational methods to understand how bacteria protect themselves; an important area of research which will aid scientists developing new antibiotics. She says: “I am extremely proud of my hardworking research group, they are achieving great results through a combination of innovation, persistence and co-operation; they are a pleasure to work with. Our research has strong links with experimental groups in biophysics, biochemistry, chemical biology and structural biology which enables us to adopt a truly multidisciplinary approach to our science.”

John Langley is now a Professorial Fellow (Enterprise). Among his collaborations, he has worked for more than four years with the Waters Corporation on supercritical fluid chromatography and mass spectrometry: “We are taking this tried and tested technology and making it more robust and reliable for the analysis of a wide range of chemistries including petrochemicals and biodiesel aviation fuel.” John also has valuable connections with BP, Innospec and AstraZeneca.

Robert Raja, Professor of Materials Chemistry and Catalysis, says: “Over the last 10 years, we have established a research programme for the discovery and design of catalytic materials that addresses fundamental challenges in the chemical, environmental and energy landscape. Our collaborations with the UK Catalysis Hub and the Optoelectronics Research Centre have led to a unique understanding of catalytic processes at the molecular level, leading to advances in renewable energy generation. The wide-range of industry-funded programmes and partnerships that we have initiated and sustained has demonstrated that our distinct approach to research can be suitably exploited and implemented in large-scale chemical technologies.”

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