The Cronin Group

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.

Cronin Group take robotic steps towards “Artificial Chemical Evolution”

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

Prof. Leroy (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

Latest Publications


452. [Fe15]: a frustrated, centred tetrakis hexahedron


451. Robotic Stepwise Synthesis of Hetero-Multinuclear Metal Oxo Clusters as Single-Molecule Magnets


450. Standardization and Control of Grignard Reactions in a Universal Chemical Synthesis Machine using online NMR


449. A robotic prebiotic chemist probes long term reactions of complexifying mixtures


448. Identifying molecules as biosignatures with assembly theory and mass spectrometry


447. A molecular computing approach to solving optimization problems via programmable microdroplet arrays


446. Influence of the Contact Geometry and Counterions on the Current Flow and Charge Transfer in Polyoxometalate Molecular Junctions: A Density Functional Theory Study


445. Elucidating the Paramagnetic Interactions of an Inorganic-Organic Hybrid Radical-Functionalized Mn-Anderson Cluster


444. Automatic Generation of 3D-Printed Reactionware for Chemical Synthesis Digitization using ChemSCAD


443. Optimization of Formulations Using Robotic Experiments Driven by Machine Learning DoE

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