Research in the Cronin Group is motivated by the fascination for complex chemical systems, and the desire to construct complex functional molecular architectures that are not based on biologically derived building blocks.
Prof. Lee Cronin

Prof Leroy (Lee) Cronin
Regius Chair of Chemistry
Cronin Laboratory
School of Chemistry
Joseph Black Building
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QQ
Tel: +44 141 330 6650
Full Biography
Latest News

Sep 2016 - Cronin Group develop affordable robotic 3D-printed antibiotic testing devices

Featured Member(s):     Prof. Lee Cronin     Dr. Stefan Glatzel     Dr. Piotr Gromski     Dr. Phil Kitson    

Researchers in the Cronin group have demonstrated the development of a cheap 3D-printed device for quickly testing which drugs are most effective at treating a specific bacterial infection. The system is portable and can be used by untrained personnel in hospitals, in the offices of general practitioners, at home, or in the field. It is hoped that devices such as this could be valuable weapons in the war against multidrug-resistant "super bugs".

Link to open-access paper in Chem

Jul 2016 - New Equation Helps Estimate the Probability of Alien Life Elsewhere in the Universe

In a new paper in PNAS, Lee Cronin and Caleb Scharf put forward a new equation that could help predict the likelihood of life arising on other planets in the universe. Inspired by the Drake equation, which was put forward in the 60s to estimate the number of extraterrestrial civilizations in the galaxy, the equation developed by Cronin and Scharf incorporates factors such as the potential available chemical building blocks in a planet, and the number of building blocks required for a living system. By examining plausible values for these parameters, the likelihood of origin of life events on different planets could be estimated, giving astronomers additional guidance on where to direct their attention. One particularly interesting observation from this approach has been that the exchange of materials between planets within a solar system, as is known to have happened between Earth and Mars, could significantly accelerate the rate of origin of life events within the system through the exchange of complex materials. This insight could allow astronomers to focus on systems with multiple suitable planets as being of particular interest in the search for alien life.

Link to PNAS Paper

Link to Mail Online Article

Link to Gizmodo Article

Jun 2016 - Lee Cronin and Sara Walker discuss reconceptualising the origin of life in Science

Featured Member(s):     Prof. Lee Cronin    

In a recent issue of Science, Lee Cronin and Sara Walker discuss a new approach to understanding the transition from non-living to living systems. In the article, “Beyond Prebiotic Chemistry”, they put forward the case for expanding the search beyond the biochemistry of known life, focusing instead on the information and processes that can lead to complex systems. By challenging historical assumptions and taking a multidisciplinary approach, they suggest that researchers could develop a new type of complexity-first based model, expanding the types of chemistries to be explored, which would allow a comprehensive understanding of what it means for a system to be alive.

Link to Science article

May 2016 - Lee Cronin “Searching for Complexity” feature profile in Chemistry World

Featured Member(s):     Prof. Lee Cronin    

Lee Cronin and Cronin Group Research has been featured in an article in RSC Chemistry World. In “Searching for Complexity”, the article discusses Lee’ s work, research group, and personal background, including input from Lee, the Cronin group, colleagues and collaborators.

The full article can be found on the Chemistry World website.

May 2016 - Cronin Group Member Lorna Christie in Nature Chemistry's News and Views

Featured Member(s):     Lorna Christie    

Lorna Christie has written an article for the May 2016 edition of Nature Chemistry. The News and Views piece entitled ‘Captivating COFs’ summarises a recent JACS paper, discussing the synthesis of a new covalent organic framework (COF) which can detect and remove mercury ions from solution.
The article was produced during a week of work experience at Nature Publishing Group where she gained a valuable insight into the process of academic publishing and got the chance to try her hand at editing.

The full article can be found here

Apr 2016 - 3D printing of versatile reactionware for chemical synthesis brings digitalization of chemistry a step closer

Featured Member(s):     Prof. Lee Cronin     Dr. Phil Kitson    

A new paper by the Cronin group has been published in Nature Protocols describing methods for the 3D printing of reactionware for chemical synthesis. The team show how the Cronin group invention of 3D printed reactionware can lead to a general approach for the production of bespoke chemical reactors. The protocol describes the combination of reactionware with embedded catalysts, fluidic control and also in-built purification as well as the development of electrochemical cells. The steps of the process describe the design and preparation of a 3D digital model of the desired reactionware device and the preparation of this model for use with fused deposition modeling (FDM) type 3D printers.

Mar 2016 - Autonomous chemical synthesis seen as a game-changing technology for food production

Featured Member(s):     Prof. Lee Cronin    

Cronin Group technology being developed towards the digitization of chemical space has been highlighted as a potential game-changer for global food production. The ability for farmers to produce essential chemicals such as pesticides and veterinary medicines on demand has the potential to revolutionise agriculture, according to a report published by Global Food Security (GFS). The report highlights a number of ways that cutting-edge technology could be used to meet increasing demands on global food supplies.

Read the full article on the GFS website

Feb 2016 - Lee Cronin in Brainwaves transmission

Featured Member(s):     Prof. Lee Cronin    

Prof Cronin has appeared on the BBC Radio Scotland "Brainwaves" program, in which he discusses his work, the origin of life, and his development as a scientist.

Link to programme on BBC iPlayer (available for a limited time)

Jan 2016 - Cronin Lab hosts one-day PRESTO symposium

Featured Member(s):     Prof. Lee Cronin    

Researchers at the Cronin Lab welcomed four young Japanese Academics - Associate Prof. Sayaka Uchida (University of Tokyo), Dr Yasuhide Inokuma (Fujita Group, University of Tokyo), Dr Masakazu Higuchi (Katagawa Group, Kyoto University), and Dr Tomoki Ogoshi (Kanazawa University) - for a fascinating symposium on supramolecular materials chemistry. The presentations sparked many positive discussions and exchanges of ideas, which should enable meaningful collaborations in the future.

Nov 2015 - Cronin Group member Jonathan Grizou awarded prestigious prize

Featured Member(s):     Dr. Jonathan Grizou    

Jonathan Grizou has been awarded the “Prix Le Monde de la Recherche Universitaire” for his doctoral thesis. This prize is awarded to 5 young French scientists across all scientific fields and emphasises work with both a scientific and societal impact. This year Cedric Villani chaired the jury.

Jonathan's thesis was in the field of robotics and machine learning and was related to building calibration-free interactive systems. His work lead to practical applications in brain-computer interaction and allows interacting with such system without an explicit phase of calibration.

Oct 2015 - Digitalization of Chemistry

Featured Member(s):     Prof. Lee Cronin    

Prof Lee Cronin has featured on the Thomson Reuters “State of Innovation” website, where he discusses 3D-printing medicine and the development of the “chemical internet”.

The vision is to develop cheap, universal, and accessible chemical robots that will allow the Design, Discovery and Digitization of Chemical Space. One of the things that made the internet possible was that html, the standard language to create web pages, was very cheap and easy. In the same way, the Cronin Group is focused on developing cheap and easy-to-use robots that can do chemistry. “If the robots are too complicated they will fail and no one will use them,” Cronin pointed out.

The digitalization of the chemical space may represent a major change in the discovery process in chemistry. In the future, it might be possible to develop an application for a robot to create a molecule and do design according to a specification. Once a discovery is made, the coordinates of the new molecule in the chemical space could be stored as a code, making reproducibility cheap and easy, and hence changing the manufacturing process as we know it. The code could be used again and again. The potential of this system in the pharmaceutical industry is massive. Complicated drug manufacturing processes could be simplified and done at once. Drug discovery and formulation is a very complex process that demands a significant investment in effort, time and money. By using inexpensive robotics and improving reproducibility, the cost of either drug discovery, formulation or manufacture could be greatly reduced.

Full Article

Oct 2015 - Cronin Group Develop Chemical Search Engine to search for the simplest routes to life

Featured Member(s):     Prof. Lee Cronin     Marc Rodriguez     Irene Suarez Marina     Dr. Andrew Surman    

In a paper published in Nature Communication, researchers from the Cronin Group have unveiled a new approach to synthesising complex peptides by using a robotic "search engine" to search through chemical space.

Professor Cronin said: “Proteins are some of the basic building blocks of life, and we’ve long known that they make up the working machinery of living cells. However, we’re still struggling to determine whether proteins came first or if the genetic machinery of DNA or RNA did.

“Our research aimed to help answer this question by creating a robot capable of creating many different random combinations of conditions, and them focusing in on the promising ones. Very quickly, we found that it was possible to assemble the building blocks just like the way we find them in modern proteins. Our chemical search engine is able to search large amounts of chemical space, similar to how systems like Google search the internet. Instead of reading HTML, however, the system performs chemical reactions.”

Article on RSC Chemistry World website

Article on University of Glasgow website

Aug 2015 - The ultimate answer to the ultimate question is... 42

Featured Member(s):     Dr. Vincenza Dragone    

Congratulations to Vincenza Dragone, who has successfully completed her PhD in the Cronin Group. This takes the total number of completed PhDs within the Cronin Group up to 42, and with 24 remaining PhD students, and more starting in October, we should see many more successes in the years to come.

Jul 2015 - Lee Cronin in "People Behind the Science"

Featured Member(s):     Prof. Lee Cronin    

Prof Cronin has appeared on the "People Behind the Science" podcast, where he shared his views on the Origin of Life, and on how chemistry gets complicated, as well as discussing his life as a scientist.

The full podcast can be found at

Jul 2015 - Congratulations to Cronin Group member Christoph Busche on being awarded a prestigious RSE fellowship

Featured Member(s):     Dr. Christoph Busche    

Dr Christoph Busche has been awarded a prestigious Royal Society of Edinburgh Personal Research Fellowship founded by the Scottish Government, which is tenable for 5 years and commences in October 2015. The RSE Personal Research Fellowship Scheme aims to provide outstanding researchers, who have the potential to become leaders in their chosen field, with the opportunity to build an independent research career.

The project is entitled “Incorporation of magnetically and redox active molecules in complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) devices”. Molecular electronics is set to revolutionise device manufacture in the coming decade and will lead to a dramatic increase in data storage capacity. This research will focus on designing molecules, which can be incorporated and used to improve existing electronic devices and develop new nano-electronic devices to overcome many of the problems associated with current molecular electronics. Due to the nature of the proposed compounds, these themselves are of great interest in the interdisciplinary area of molecular magnetism, with possible applications in quantum informatics.

Jul 2015 - Lee Cronin Awarded 2.5 M Euro Advanced European Research Council grant

Featured Member(s):     Prof. Lee Cronin    

The European Research Council (ERC) has announced the award of its prestigious Advanced Grants to 190 senior researchers. The funding, worth in total €445 million, will enable the researchers and their teams to pursue ground-breaking ideas. These are the first ERC Advanced Grants awarded under the 'excellent science' pillar of Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation programme launched in 2014. This year’s competition was particularly fierce with only 7.9% of applicants in Physical Sciences being funded. Lee’s ERC grant is titled: SMART-POM: Artificial-Intelligence Driven Discovery and Synthesis of Polyoxometalate Clusters, and will focus on the use of AI to understand and control chemical systems, with a particular focus on mechanism and fundamental understanding of how algorithms can be used to explore complexity in chemistry.

ERC Press Release

Jun 2015 - Congratulations to Cronin Group member Laia Vilà-Nadal for being named ´Vallenc of the Year´

Featured Member(s):     Dr. Laia Vilà-Nadal    

Laia Vilà-Nadal has been awarded the ´Vallenc of the Year´ award at the 32nd Awards Night of Valls. This is the most prestigious award given in the city of Valls, Spain, and was awarded in recognition of her work within the Cronin Group in discovering a molecule capable of improving flash memory devices, which was published in Nature.

This year for the first time in its history the prize has been shared between two people.
Laia Vilà Nadal and Josep Maria Poblet Rius. They both appeared on stage at the ceremony to collect the award from the mayor of Valls, Albert Batet, and the government delegate in Tarragona, Joaquin Nin. On receiving the award, Laia Vilà said "We must reclaim science as a cultural activity," while Josep Maria Poblet stressed that the awards "are a good way to find the contact with civil society".

Jun 2015 - Lee Cronin in Disruptive intervew

Featured Member(s):     Prof. Lee Cronin    

In an interview for the 3D printing magazine "Disruptive", Lee Cronin discusses his approach of using 3D printing technology for drug discovery and pharmaceuticals, and the digitalisation of the chemical world.

Full Interview

May 2015 - Cronin Group Goes Through the Wormhole

Featured Member(s):     Prof. Lee Cronin    

Lee Cronin and Cronin group research were featured on the latest episode of Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman. Lee explained his theory of chemical evolution that pre-dates biological evolution without genes. The episode was broadcast on the Science Channel, and the Cronin Group research can be seen in the first section of the 1-hour episode.

May 2015 - Prof Cronin wins prestigious RSC Tilden prize

Featured Member(s):     Prof. Lee Cronin    

Prof Lee Cronin has won a prestigious Tilden prize, awarded by the Royal Society of Chemistry for advances in chemistry. The prize, named after British chemist Sir William Augustus Tilden, is awarded to chemists who have excelled in areas such as originality and impact of research, quality of publications, and innovation. The prize was awarded to Prof Cronin for his work on the synthesis and understanding of the self-assembly, electronic structure and nanotechnology device applications of polyoxometalate architectures. Three Tilden prizes are awarded each year.

Further details from the RSC website

Apr 2015 - Prof Cronin lecture tour in April from Energy, to Complex Chemical Systems and Theories of Chemical Evolution.

Featured Member(s):     Prof. Lee Cronin    

On the 20th April Lee gave the RSE / BP Hutton Prize lecture for Energy Innovation at the Royal Society of Edinburgh. This was a public lecture where he spoke about “Removing the fossil from the fuel” which aims to develop a closed-carbon-cycle that works using renewables and therefore can effectively limit or even reverse atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. On 23rd April he gave the 70th Inaugural Lecture of the Chemical Society at University College Dublin, where he spoke about Cronin group work “towards a new theory for chemical evolution” explaining how chemistry pre-dated biology and used this to define a new series of experimental approaches to understanding the emergence of biology or biologies. Finally, on the 27th April, Cronin gave the prestigious 1st Annual Pearlman Lecture at the Weizmann institute, where he spoke about “Exploring complex chemical systems”. As part of the invitation he spent two days at the Institute speaking with faculty and students.

Apr 2015 - Joint Padgett-Cronin Mini-Maker 3D printer system published in Scientific Reports

Featured Member(s):     Dr. Geoff Cooper     Prof. Lee Cronin    

Researchers in the Cronin Chemistry and Padgett Optics group have worked together to design, build, and test a new type of high resolution 3D printer system. This uses stereo-lithography ‘light printing’ and large build areas at micron resolution are possible due to the ability to ‘stitch’ sections together. The system is cheap, flexible, and modular. Right now the teams are developing this for microfluidics and optics applications.

Link to Open Access Article

Mar 2015 - Lee Cronin features in EPSRC Rise video

Featured Member(s):     Prof. Lee Cronin    

Prof Cronin has featured as EPSRC Rise leader in a video produced for the EPSRC Rise Awards. He is featured alongside EPSRC Rising Star Oren Scherman and industry champion Dave Allen, Senior Vice President of respiratory research at GSK.

Full video on YouTube

Feb 2015 - Why the Terminator Is Not Coming Any Time Soon

Featured Member(s):     Prof. Lee Cronin    

In his latest blog entry for the Huffington Post, Prof Cronin discusses spontaneous novelty and the origins of life. Is artificial intelligence really a threat to our continued existence? Read the full blog entry on the Huffington Post website.

Dec 2014 - Cronin Group take robotic steps towards “Artificial Chemical Evolution”

Featured Member(s):     Prof. Lee Cronin     Juan Manuel Parrilla Gutierrez     James Taylor    

In a breakthrough published in Nature Communications, Prof Cronin and his group have described the robotically-facilitated evolution of oil droplets. The group used a custom built robot based on a RepRap 3D printer which generates the droplets, measures their fitness against a fitness function, and then uses a genetic algorithm to generate a new population. By demonstrating that these could be viable “chemical protocell models” as they can be evolved yet are based upon simple chemical ingredients, Prof Cronin hopes that we can start to answer some important questions about the origin of life.

Open Access paper in Nature Communicatsions

News item on University of Glasgow website

Article in Wired

Article at

Article in Nature Chemistry News and Views

Dec 2014 - Cronin Group in Dial-a-Molecule advance

Featured Member(s):     Prof. Lee Cronin     Dr. Vincenza Dragone     Luzian Porwol    

A news article in Chemistry World has highlighted the recent work of the Cronin Group in development of a self-optimising flow system using NMR. The article describes the feedback and real-time adjustment of the system as being a “key requirement in the concept of dial-a-molecule synthesis” and states that thanks to this research, flow reactors are “edging towards self-regulation”.

Nov 2014 - Cronin Group in Molecular Flash Memory Breakthrough

Featured Member(s):     Prof. Lee Cronin     Dr. De-Liang Long     Dr. Haralampos Miras     Dr. Laia Vilà-Nadal     Dr. Christoph Busche    

In the latest issue of Nature, the Cronin group have described a new molecule with unprecedented characteristics that could revolutionise flash memory storage. This breakthrough has the potential to bust Moore’s law, and allow for ground-breaking improvements in storage technology, potentially resulting in multiple bits of storage on a single molecule.

The team, led by Prof Cronin, also included researchers from the University of Glasgow School of Engineering and Rovira i Virgili University in Spain. This work has been reported in several major media outlets, including the BBC, the Hindu, RTVE, and Wired.

Link to journal article at

News item in the Hindu

News item on

News item on the BBC Website

Nov 2014 - Nature Chemistry News and Views: 3D-Printed hydrothermal reactionware

The Cronin Group's work on 3D Printed hydrothermal reaction vessels is featured in Nature Chemistry's "News and Views" sections for November 2014. The manufacture of the low-cost 3D-Printed chambers is described as a "potentially exciting development for many researchers, including those working on high-temperature crystallizations of MOFs". Compared to the traditional stainless steel vessels, 3D-Printed reactionware could offer great advantages in terms of cost-effectiveness and flexibility.

Oct 2014 - Lee Cronin Discusses Cybernetic Synthetic Biology in New Huffington Post Blog

In his first blog post for the Huffington Post website, Lee Cronin discusses "Cybernetic Synthetic Biology", and the emergence of living technology.

Lee Cronin's blog page on

Sep 2014 - Lee Cronin Discusses Chemputing with Naked Scientists

Lee Cronin has appeared in the Naked Scientists podcast to describe the Cronin Group's work on Chemputing, aiming at developing a new paradigm in synthetic chemistry using 3D printing and configurable robotics

Naked Scientists Podcast

Naked Scientists Interview

Sep 2014 - Cronin Group in Hydrogen Production Breakthrough

The production of hydrogen via the electrolysis of water is the subject of considerable research activity as, coupled with renewable sources of electricity, it can provide a route to “green” hydrogen but the high cost, the need for precious metals, and extra infrastructure to cope with fluctuating power supplies are all important problems that need to be solved. Writing in this week’s issue of Science, researchers in the Cronin group report on a new way to split water using a redox mediator that allows the one-step electrolysis of water with an electrical input, followed by the on demand release of hydrogen simply by adding a catalyst after the redox mediator has been reduced, and oxygen evolved. This process not only allows the amount of precious metals to be reduced, or the speed of hydrogen production to be increased, but also gives a new route to the temporal and spatial split of the water splitting reaction providing new fundamental insights and new potential electrolyser systems for hydrogen.

BBC News Story

Full paper in Science

Jul 2014 - 3D-Printed Electrolyser breakthrough for Cronin Group

Researchers from the Cronin group have succeeded in making the world’s first 3D printed electrochemical device, having successfully printed and tested an electrolyser for the production of hydrogen. The electrolyser was printed from polypropylene and the conductive areas were electrocoated with silver to provide a suitably conductive surface. The ability to 3D print such devices has the potential to revolutionise the prototyping, manufacture and deployment of the electrolysers, fuel cells and flow batteries that are essential in ushering in a new era of renewable energy and energy storage.

RSC Chemistry World story

Jun 2014 - Prof Cronin attends RISE reception at House of Commons

Prof Cronin has attended an evening reception at the House of Commons to celebrate the winners of the EPSRC RISE awards. Prof Cronin was named as an EPSRC RISE Leader in April, one of 10 scientists shortlisted for their inspirational work. The evening was attended by Andrew Miller MP, Chair of the Science and Technology Select Committee, and by Philip Nelson, CEO of EPSRC.

Apr 2014 - Cronin Group member Dr. Victor Sans appointed to Lectureship at the University of Nottingham

Congratulations to Dr. Victor Sans for being appointed to a Lectureship in Chemical Engineering at the University of Nottingham.

Apr 2014 - Prof Lee Cronin named as one of UK's most inspirational scientists

Prof Lee Cronin is one of 10 the UK’s most inspirational scientists and engineers named as RISE Leaders for 2014 by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Their contribution to science covers a broad range of disciplines and highlights the diversity and impact of the engineering and physical sciences.

The RISE campaign, in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering, was launched by the Science Minister David Willetts in November 2013 to mark the 20th anniversary of EPSRC.

For more information see the University of Glasgow press release, and the EPSRC RISE awards announcement page.

Jan 2014 - Lee Cronin featured in the "100 leading UK practising scientists" list published by the Science Council

Lee Cronin featured in the top 100 practising UK Scientists list published by the Science Council. To identify its list of 100 , the Science Council organised a competition around 10 different ‘types’ of scientist roles. The list of 100 has 10 different examples of each of the 10 types and gives a broad picture of the many different ways people work with science, making valuable contributions across UK society and the economy. Lee is listed as a science explorer along with 9 others including two recent Nobel Prize winners.

Dec 2013 - Lee Cronin awarded RSE/BP Hutton Prize in Energy innovation

Lee Cronin has been awarded the 2013 RSE/BP Hutton Prize in Energy Innovation by the Royal Society of Edinburgh. The £10,000 award is in recognition of the Cronin Group's work in developing PROMISE: A Fuel-Cell-Electrolyzer Platform for Sustainable Energy Storage Realized via renewable “Inorganic Fuel”.

Nov 2013 - Lee Cronin in Wired Magazine December edition (UK)

The Cronin Group's work on 3D printing drugs and creating artificial life is featured in the December 2013 issue of Wired Magazine.

Sep 2013 - Great PROMISE from the Cronin Group (Programmable RedOx Materials for Inorganic Sustainable Energy), £0.5M Scottish Enterprise Award

Professor Lee Cronin and Dr Mark Symes recently published the results of a revolutionary new route to the splitting of water into hydrogen and oxygen. This novel technology utilises an inorganic material known as an Electron Coupled Proton Buffer (ECPB) to capture the hydrogen in its intermediate state of separated protons and electrons and stores them in a stable form for later release (read more in this BBC news item)

Jul 2013 - Three more completed PhDs in the Cronin Group

Congratulations to Antoine Boulay, Tommy Boyd, and Pedro Molina Sanchez for successfully completing their PhDs in the Cronin Group.

Jun 2013 - Professor Lee Cronin appointed Regius Chair of Chemistry

Professor Lee Cronin has been appointed as the Regius Chair of Chemistry at the University of Glasgow. The Chair is one of 13 Regius Professorships at Glasgow, and was founded in 1817 by King George III. A copy of the Royal Warrant confirming the appointment, signed the Queen and First Minister Alex Salmond, can be found here.

Notice in the Edinburgh Gazette

University News Item

Apr 2013 - Cronin Group researchers use plants to provide blueprint for cheap, green energy

In a new paper in the journal Nature Chemistry published today (Monday 14 April), Professor Lee Cronin and Dr Mark Symes of the University of Glasgow outline how they have managed to replicate for the first time plants’ ability to decouple the production of hydrogen and oxygen from water using what they call an electron-coupled proton buffer (ECPB).

Read more on the University of Glasgow website, or see coverage in The Independent or The Scotsman.

Feb 2013 - Cronin Group 3d printing technology featured in Discover Magazine 'Top 100 Stories of 2012'

The pioneering work of the Cronin Group in developing 3d printing technology for assembling chemical compounds has been featured in Discover Magazine as part of 100 top stories of 2012 (number 19). The article can be found on the discover magazine website.

Feb 2013 - Cronin group research Highlighted in 'Chemistry & Industry'

The Cronin Group's research into the use of 3D printing techniques to create bespoke 'reactionware' has been highlighted in the Society of Chemical Industry's magazine "Chemistry & Industry". Entitled 'Print Your Own Lab', the article looks at the leading role the Cronin Group is playing in the development of 3D printing techniques applied to the field of chemical research. The full article can be read online here and in pdf format here.

Dec 2012 - Two Cronin group polyoxometalate articles back-to-back in Angewandte Chemie

Two papers from the group appeared in the latest issue of Angewandte Chemie covering very different approaches to polyoxometalate chemistry. In "Directed Assembly of Inorganic Polyoxometalate-based Micrometer-Scale Tubular Architectures by Using Optical Control", laser-induced flow patterns are used to direct the self-assembly of dissolved inorganic polyoxometalate clusters into robust, hollow tubular networks and micro-materials in real time. This technique where tubes 'go with the flow' allows development of devices in which the self-assembled tubes act as microscopic flow channels. This work is also featured on the cover of the journal. A few pages later, in "Assembly of a Gigantic Polyoxometalate Cluster {W200Co8O660} in a Networked Reactor System", a networked reactor system is used for the first time for the discovery and synthesis of new polyoxometalates, including a gigantic {W200} tungstate. The system comprising three interlinked reactors was used to screen multiple one-pot reactions and reaction variables to discover conditions for cluster synthesis in an automated way.

Nov 2012 - Cronin Group featured on Beilstein TV

Prof Cronin and several of his key researchers have described the revolutionary potential of 3D printing in two videos produced by Beilstein TV, an project funded by the Beilstein Institute for the Advancement of Chemical Sciences. In the video Prof. Cronin and his team describe the process of using 3D printing technology to design and fabricate millifluidic reactionware which can be easily interfaced with an array of analytical techniques. The video demonstrates how this process can provide devices which prove to be powerful and convenient tools for both synthetic and analytical applications. The
first video
and the
second video
can both be found on the Beilstein TV website.

Sep 2012 - Cronin group involved in major EU project to make smart chemo-robots!

The EU project, named MICREAgents (EU contribution €3.4 M), plans to build autonomous self-assembling electronic micro-reagents that are almost as small as cells. These micro-reagents will exchange chemical and electronic information to jointly direct complex chemical reactions and analyses in the solutions they are poured into. Together with teams from Germany, Denmark, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Israel and New Zealand, the MICREAgents project heralds a major step beyond Lab-on-a-Chip devices towards the integration of chemistry and information technology.

See more on the main project website

Aug 2012 - 3D-printed Miniaturised Fluidic Devices

The Cronin Group's 3D Printing techniques have been featured in 'RSC Chemistry World'. The full article can be found here.

Jul 2012 - Lee Cronin featured in 'The Observer' newspaper

In an article published in The Obsever, Lee Cronin shared his vision of a "personal chemputer" for printing prescription drugs. See the full article on the Observer website.

Jun 2012 - Lee Cronin speaks about 3D printers and chemistry at TED Global 2012

The TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conferences are world renowned for bringing together great thinkers. The force behind TED is in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives, and ultimately the world. Last year Lee spoke to the TED Global conference on the Cronin group's work on inorganic biology. This Year Lee has given a short talk about the Group's work in developing 3D printing technologies for use with chemistry, asking “Could we make a really cool universal chemistry set? Could we ‘app’ chemistry?”.

Read more about Lee's talk at the TED blog

Jun 2012 - Cronin Group in 2012 Nobel Campus

Two Cronin group PhD students invited to present at the 2012 CEICS Nobel Campus in Tarragona (Catalonia, Spain). Miss Hong-Ying Zang and Mr Andreu Ruiz have both been selected to take part in this prestigious student Nobel Campus and both students will be presenting their work to Nobel Prize winners.

May 2012 - The 81st Joseph Henry Lecture by Lee Cronin

Lee Cronin gives the 81st Joseph Henry Lecture at the Philosophical Society of Washington on the 25th May 2012. This prestigious lecture, given every year since 1931 (except 1943), was given by Lee with the title ‘Synthesizing Life’ in which he described our efforts to explore complex chemical systems beyond ‘organic-biology’ to set up inorganic-chemical-systems capable of Darwinian evolution. Lee was also made a member of the society which is the oldest scientific society in Washington, being established in 1871.

May 2012 - Lee Cronin wins a RSC-2012 Corday Morgan Prize!

First awarded in 1949, this prestigious prize is awarded annually to the best chemist under the age of 40 and several Nobel Prize winners including Derek Barton and Frederick Sanger were awarded the prize in the past and Cronin is the first Chemist at Glasgow to win the award in 35 years.

The citation for Cronin’s prize reads “Cronin is recognized for his pioneering and creative studies in the field of inorganic chemistry, specifically the self-assembly and self-organization of inorganic molecules and the engineering of complex systems leading to the emergence of system-level behaviours.”

May 2012 - Downloadable Drugs

Cronin group ‘reactionware’ research, featured on the front cover of Nature Chemistry in May 2012 has caught the imagination. Covered all round the world, on the BBC, in BBC Click and numerous online, TV, and newspapers the story went global in just a few days. Such was the interest a two page news item was published in NewScientist on 21st April 2012, p8-9 and the work was again described in the editorial on page 5 of the same issue entitled ‘Aps beyond the digital’ with the strap line ‘Chemicals on demand from 3d printers are an exciting prospect’.

Apr 2012 - Cronin Group Nature Chemistry Article on 3D Printed Reactionware Highlighted.

The Cronin Group’s article published this week in nature chemistry has been highlighted around the media. This ground-breaking article develops the concept of 3D printed reactionware, where chemical reactors can be printed ‘on-demand’ for specific chemical tasks, such as catalysis or spectroscopy. These reactors incorporate chemically active elements into the very structure of the reaction vessel itself providing flexible and easily reconfigurable reactor architectures for chemical synthesis. The article has attracted much attention for this emerging field and the potential implications of this work for chemical industries and society as a whole.

As well as being highlighted in a News & Views article in Nature Chemistry itself, the work has been featured in the prestigious science journal Nature as well as in publications such as the RSC’s Chemistry world and the ACS’s Chemical & Engineering News.

Outside the Scientific community the article has been featured in the popular science magazine New Scientist and on the BBC news technology website. The Authors discussed this pioneering work and its implications on the BBC’s current affairs programme Newsnight Scotland(available here until Tuesday the 24th April for viewers inside the UK) and on the BBC Scotland news website.

Apr 2012 - Lee Cronin Delivers Lecture on “New Formats for Molecular Discovery and Complex Chemical Systems” At RSC Dalton meeting.

On 11th April, Professor Cronin Delivered a lecture entitled “New Formats for Molecular Discovery and Complex Chemical Systems” at the latest meeting of the Scottish division of the RSC Dalton division held in University of Strathclyde. The lecture highlighted the advantages of new flow setups and 3D printing for discovery of complex chemical systems.

For more information, please visit our 3D printing page.

Feb 2012 - Lee Cronin Discusses the group's work on Solar Fuel production and storage on BBC News

The work of the Cronin Group in collaboration with the Glasgow Solar Fuels team of researchers has been featured on Scottish current affairs programme Newsnight Scotland. The article features a report on the work of the Glasgow Solar Fuels team with Co-Directors Lee Cronin and Prof. Richard Cogdell, and a live discussion with Lee Cronin about the work. The BBC's report can be found on the BBC News website.

Jan 2012 - Cronin Group paper featured as a 'Hot Article' in the current issue of Dalton Transactions

The RSC journal Dalton Transactions has chosen a Cronin Group publication as one of its featured 'Hot Articles', meaning that access to the article is free until 31 January 2012.

The article by Laia Vilà-Nadal, Scott G. Mitchell, De-Liang Long, Antonio Rodríguez-Fortea, Xavier López, Josep M. Poblet and Leroy Cronin combines the Group's expertise in both theoretical investigation and ESI Mass spectrometry to investigate the rotational isomerism of non-classical Wells-Dawson POMs. The article can be found on the Dalton Transactions website.

Jan 2012 - Cronin Group comes of age with our 21st successful PhD student!

Congratulations to Dr. Feng Xu who has become the 21st successful PhD candidate to graduate from the Cronin Group. Dr. Xu is moving on to a post-doctoral position with Professor Yufei Song at the Beijing University of Chemical Technology.

Dec 2011 - Lee Cronin to Deliver the 2011 Bob Hay Lecture at MASC 2011

The Bob Hay Lectureship is awarded at the RSC Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry Group annual meeting.

This prestigious lecture is given annually by a younger chemist working in the area of macrocyclic and/or supramolecular chemistry in its widest sense.

The award lecture is given in memory of Professor Bob Hay, one of the pioneers of macrocyclic chemistry in the UK.

Professor Cronin's Lecture will be titled "Creationism in Inorganic and Supramolecular Chemistry".

More info:

Oct 2011 - Lee Cronin Featured on Dr. Kiki's Science Hour

Prof. Lee Cronin recently appeared on the popular American science program 'Dr. Kiki's Science Hour' to talk about his research. In an episode entitled "The Living Dead" Prof. Cronin talks about inorganic chemistry and his research. Also available on YouTube.

Oct 2011 - Lee Cronin featured in an 'Author Profile' appearing in Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

To recognise the publication of Lee Cronin's 25th article appearing in Angewandte Chemie since 2000, the prestigious chemistry journal has published a profile of professor Cronin in which he discusses his motivations as a scientist and the nature of the Cronin Group's research. For the full profile visit the article at Angewandte Chemie here

Sep 2011 - Lee Cronin's TED Global 2011 Talk Available Free Online

The TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conferences are world renowned for bringing together great thinkers. The force behind TED is in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives, and ultimately the world. Lee spoke in the first session at TED Global “The Stuff of Life” entitled “beginnings” on the Cronin group work on inorganic biology. To view the talk for free online, please visit the TED Global 2011 site.

Sep 2011 - Cronin Group Work on Inorganic Chemical Cells Published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition

The paper entitled ‘Modular Redox Active Inorganic Chemical Cells: iCHELLs’ by Geoffrey J. T. Cooper, Philip J. Kitson, Ross Winter, Michele Zagnoni, De-Liang Long & Leroy Cronin will appear in the online issue of Angewandte Chemie International Edition today and will also be featured on the back cover of the printed issue. Interfacial membrane formation by cation exchange of polyoxometalates produces modular inorganic chemical cells with tunable morphology, properties, and composition. These inorganic chemical cells or iCHELLs, which show redox activity, chirality, as well as selective permeability towards small molecules, can be nested within one another potentially allowing stepwise reactions to occur in sequence within the cell. These are the first demonstration of modular fictionalization and application of Traube-like inorganic precipitation membranes since their discovery in 1867.

Aug 2011 - Lee Cronin Interviewed in UK newspaper 'The Observer'

Lee Cronin has been interviewed for in the UK sunday newspaper The Observer as part of their Science and Technology series 'My Bright Idea' in which leading scientists and researchers discuss the driving ideas behind their work. The full article can be accessed on the Observer website here

Jul 2011 - CAS & SciFinder Student Information Exchange Program

Cronin group member Thomas Boyd has been selected to attend the forthcoming information exchange meeting in Columbus, Ohio on August 16-20. The program will give an opportunity for students to exchange ideas and experiences with CAS staff on the subject of chemical information and informatics. In addition, attendees will tour local research facilities such as Battelle Memorial Institute and the Ohio State University James Cancer Research Facility before travelling to Boston for the Fall 2010 American Chemical Society National Meeting on August 22-26.

Jul 2011 - PDRA awarded prestigious RSE Fellowship

Dr Haralampos (Harry) N. Miras has been awarded a prestigious Royal Society of Edinburgh RSE/Scottish Government Personal Research Fellowship that he will take up in the group later this year. The competition for these Fellowships is intense and gaining this award is a great achievement. This fellowship, co-funded by Marie Curie actions, supports Dr Miras' project on "Non Equilibrium Engineering Methods of Assembling Functional Metal Oxides"

Jun 2011 - Cronin Group research highlighted in Chemistry World Magazine

Research from the Cronin group has been highlighted by Philip Ball in his popular column 'The Crucible' In the RSC's chemistry magazine 'Chemistry World'.Discussing the fascinating processes in the crystal garden phenomenon, Ball discusses some of the Groups work on emergent mesoscale structures: “Cronin hopes to see whether such structures can be developed into inorganic proto-cells with life-like characteristics - one might say, with a vegetative soul”. The full article can be read here.

Jun 2011 - Lee Cronin to speak at TED Global 2011

The TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conferences are world renowned for bringing together great thinkers. The force behind TED is in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives, and ultimately the world. Lee will be speaking in the first session at TED Global “The Stuff of Life” entitled “beginnings” on the Cronin group work on inorganic biology. For a list of speakers at the event please visit the TED Global 2011 site.

Jan 2011 - Cronin Group research featured in "New Scientist" magazine

The Cronin Group's research has been featured in a recent edition of the popular science magazine "New Scientist". In an in-depth article Prof. Cronin discusses the group's interest in the development of complex chemical systems and the possibility of evolving inorganic systems.

Jan 2011 - Cronin Group Hosts EPSRC sponsored "WetFAB" workshop

The Cronin Group Has recently hosted an EPSRC sponsored workshop which brought together chemists, engineers, artists and architects amongst others to explore the use of 3D fabrication equipment in a research chemistry environemnent. For more information on the participants and concepts examined, see the workshop programme

May 2010 - Cronin Group Work Published in the First Issue of Chemical Science

The paper entitled 'Following the self assembly of supramolecular MOFs using X-ray crystallography and cryospray mass spectrometry' by Georg Seeber, Geoffrey J. T. Cooper, Graham N. Newton, Mali H. Rosnes, De-Liang Long, Benson M. Kariuki, Paul Kögerler and Leroy Cronin will appear in the first issue of Chemical Science, the new flagship journal from the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Link to Journal

The manuscript can already be viewed online by following the above link - watch out for the fully animated graphical abstract!

Jan 2010 - Cover of Science

Latest issue of Science features on the cover:

Crystal structure of a molybdenum oxide nanowheel, 2.6 nanometers in diameter, around a smaller molybdenum oxide cluster.

Miras et al. used a controlled-flow reactor to show that the central core serves as a transient template for the self-assembly of the nanowheel and is ultimately ejected to yield a hollow finished product.

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