Drs Matthew Langton, Michael Booth and Mohammadali Foroozandeh (L-R) have all been awarded University Research Fellowships (URFs) by the Royal Society to start independent research groups in Oxford Chemistry.
The University Research Fellowship scheme aims to provide outstanding early career scientists who have the potential to become leaders in their chosen fields with the opportunity to build an independent research career. The scheme is highly competitive, and URFs are expected to be strong candidates for permanent posts in universities at the end of their fellowships. Many have gone on to enjoy significant national or international recognition for their work.
Michael Booth completed his PhD at Cambridge before moving to Oxford for a Junior Research Fellowship at Merton College. He will be working on the generation and use of controllable nucleic acids to enable the control of multiple biotechnologies. His URF research project is titled ‘Development of light-activated synthetic cells for controllable, targeted modulation of mammalian cells'.
Mohammadali Foroozandeh completed his BSc and MSc degrees in Physical Chemistry in Iran, before moving to Geneva, Switzerland for his doctoral work in NMR method development with Dr Damien Jeannerat in 2009. In 2013 he was appointed as Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Manchester, working with Professor Gareth Morris and Dr Mathias Nilsson. Mohammadali’s URF research project entitled ‘Next-Generation Magnetic Resonance Experiments: Evolution, or Intelligent Design?" revolves around the design and applications of novel magnetic resonance methodologies and data processing tools, especially drawing on numerical methods, optimisation techniques, and computational learning theory.’
Matthew Langton studied for his first degree and DPhil here at Oxford (Part II with Prof. Harry Anderson FRS, and DPhil with Prof. Paul Beer), before undertaking post-doctoral research in Cambridge with Prof. Chris Hunter FRS. His research interests are in supramolecular chemistry and lipid bilayer membrane chemistry. He is returning to this department where his Fellowship research program will develop ‘membrane-confined artificial molecular machines’, with the aim of harnessing molecular motion of synthetic molecules embedded in lipid bilayer membranes to remote-control the functions of artificial cells. Matthew said: “I am delighted to have received this University Research Fellowship, and I am very grateful to the Royal Society for funding my research into synthetic molecular machines bound within membranes. This award will provide the opportunity to establish my independent research group here in the Chemistry Department, and the freedom to develop my research program at the interface of synthetic chemistry, supramolecular and coordination chemistry, and membrane science.”