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
Advanced Research Centre (ARC)
Level 5, Digital Chemistry
University of Glasgow
11 Chapel Lane
Glasgow G11 6EW
Tel: +44 141 330 6650

Latest Publications


497. An integrated self-optimizing programmable chemical synthesis and reaction engine


496. Autonomous execution of highly reactive chemical transformations in the Schlenkputer


495. Universal chemical programming language for robotic synthesis repeatability


494. Bringing digital synthesis to Mars


493. An Autonomous Electrochemical Discovery Robot that Utilises Probabilistic Algorithms: Probing the Redox Behaviour of Inorganic Materials


492. Reaction Kinetics using a Chemputable Framework for Data Collection and Analysis


491. Assembly theory explains and quantifies selection and evolution


490. Digital design and 3D printing of reactionware for on demand synthesis of high value probes


489. Robotic Modules for the Programmable Chemputation of Molecules and Materials


488. Science opportunities with solar sailing smallsats

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