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Dr. Filipe Vilela


Dr Filipe Vilela completed in 2008 his PhD in the field of polymer chemistry under the supervision of Professor David C Sherrington FRS at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland. Following this, Filipe joined the group of Professor Peter J. Skabara at the University of Strathclyde in the topical field of organic electronics. He remained here until January 2011, when he became a research group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces (MPI), Potsdam, Germany. Whilst at MPI Filipe worked on “Organic Energy Molecules – Development of Nanostructure Materials for Energy Storage, Conversion and Catalysis”. In 2013 Filipe took up the position of Assistant Professor at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, with research interests centred on developing photoactive polymers for photocatalytic applications, with special focus on application under flow conditions.   

PhD. Students
Cathryn Shepherd


Research Project: 1,3,4,2-Dioxazaboroles in Dynamic Covalent Chemistry

Cathryn was born in Huntly, a small town in the northeast of Scotland and began her chemical journey at the young age of 7, when she started creating 'potions' in her parents garden shed. After school Cathryn then began her MChem degree at Heriot-Watt University and graduated in 2016 after completing her Masters project in the upper-rim functionalisation of calix[4]arenes, supervised by Dr. Scott Dalgarno. Continuing at Heriot-Watt university, she then began her PhD under the supervision of Dr. Gareth Lloyd, before moving to the Vilela group after Dr. Lloyd moved to the Lincoln University. In her spare time, Cathryn enjoys bouldering, long summer walks and gardening.

Manos Broumidis


Research Project: Development of Hydroxamic Acid-Based Materials for Homogeneous (Photo)Catalytic Applications

Manos studied at the University of Athens, Greece where he graduated with a BSc in Chemistry. His Diploma capstone research project took place under the supervision of Prof. Gimisis and focused on the organic synthesis of potential inhibitors of glycogen phosphorylase. He participated in the EU-funded Erasmus+ traineeship program as a research intern at the University of Cyprus with Prof. Koutentis, focusing on the organic synthesis of Canthin-4-one alkaloids. His CRITICAT PhD project will focus on the development of hydroxamic acid-based hosted catalysts enabled by mechanochemistry and flow chemistry techniques. In particular, catalysis enhancement will be achieved using supramolecular cage encapsulation, photocatalysis along with computational chemistry guidance. Besides chemistry, Manos enjoys reading science fiction, motorbike trips and trying out new beers.

Mary Jones


Research Project: Supramolecular and Polymeric Gel Materials Enabled By and Enabling, Photochemical Transformations

Mary grew up on a wee island off the coast of Scotland, she graduated from Heriot-Watt University in 2018 with a first class honours in MChem Chemistry with a European Language and was awarded the Watt Club Medal. As an integral part of her degree she completed an Erasmus+ year in Spain, where she worked with Dr Olga Crespo on the synthesis of copper complexes and the study of their emissive properties. On return to Heriot-Watt she studied thermoelectric materials under the supervision of Dr Jan-Willem Bos. In October 2018 she joined the Vilela group, working on combining the disciplines of gel materials and photocatalysis, in collaboration with Dr Gareth O. Lloyd. In her spare time, Mary enjoys travelling, dancing and spending time with friends.

Dominic Taylor


Research Project: Development of Novel Molecular and Polymer Supported Photocatalysts Utilising Calixarene Chemistry

Dominic completed his MChem in chemistry with materials at Heriot-Watt University in 2018 graduating with first class honours and winning the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) prize. For his final year project he focused on the development of polymer supported photoredox catalysis under the supervision of Dr. Filipe Vilela. He is currently undertaking a PhD as part of the CRITICAT PhD. program, focusing on developing novel molecular and polymer supported photocatalysts based on calix[4]arene building blocks under the supervision of Dr. Vilela and Dr. Scott Dalgarno. Legends say that if Dominic ever stops workings he enjoys filling this "spare time" by cooking and listening to very loud music.

Chris Thomson


Research Project: Polymer Supported Photocatalysis for Organic Transformations In Flow

Chris was born in Paisley, Scotland, but grew up near Grassington in the Yorkshire Dales, England. After A-levels and working part time as a Commis Chef, he returned to Scotland and obtained his MChem Chemistry with Biochemistry degree, as well as the William H Perkin Prize for organic chemistry, from Heriot-Watt University. He spent his final year developing heterogeneous organic photoredox catalysts for organic synthesis under the supervision of Dr Filipe Vilela. His PhD will see him return to the VilelaLAB under the joint supervision of Dr Ai-Lan Lee and Dr Vilela, to continue developing photoactive materials for organic synthesis. Besides the PhD, Chris enjoys playing guitar, cooking, travelling and going to gigs.

Sam Patterson


Research Project: Development of Polymeric Nanocarriers in Continuous Flow for the Controlled Release of Agrochemicals

Sam hails from the City of Lancaster in the northwest of England where he completed his A-levels before moving to Edinburgh in 2014 to study chemistry with a year in industry at Heriot-Watt University. Sam achieved a first class MChem degree after a master’s project under the supervision of Dr Valeria Arrighi on the preparative techniques and thermal analysis of polymer nanocomposites. Now, he has joined VilelaLAB as a post graduate research student under Dr Filipe Vilela and Dr Arrighi. He will be utilising flow chemistry to develop biodegradable polymer based nanocarriers for chemicals used in the agricultural industry, doing so in collaboration with Dr Leonardo Fraceto of São Paulo State University, Brazil. Outside of the lab, Sam enjoys woodwork, playing drums, camping and learning Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Final Year Undergraduates
Melanie Nutter


Melanie grew up in Lancashire, England and moved to Scotland to carry out her undergraduate degree in Chemistry with Pharmaceutical Chemistry. As a final year MChem student, she is working on developing photoactive polymers and calixarenes to be employed in the Vortex Fluidic Device under the supervision of Dr Filipe Vilela and Dr Scott Dalgarno. When she isn’t working or studying, Melanie’s interests include cooking, listening to music, travelling and walking up hills.

Brendan Gallagher


Brendan was born in Denver Colorado in the US and moved at a young age to Bury St. Edmunds in the UK. After his A-levels he moved up to Scotland for University where he is now currently doing my MChem project in the investigation of the ring contraction of thiadiazines to thiadiazoles under UV light. In his spare time he is usually skateboarding, playing guitar or baking.

Stuart Angiolini


Stuart was born and raised in Stirling, and is in his final year of the MChem 'Chemistry with Industrial Placement' degree.   His placement year was spent working for FiberLean Technologies on the application of microfibrillated cellulose in paper and packaging.  He now joins the Vilela group for a mini-project based around the synthesis and application of acridinium-based conjugated porous polymers.  In his free time, he likes weightlifting, listening to music, and hill-walking.

Former Group Members

Dr. John Tobin - MChem. Student, PhD. Student, PDRA (2015 - 2019)
Blair Kennedy - MChem. Student(2018 - 2019)
Matthew Thornton - MChem. Student (2018 - 2019)
Reece MacDiarmid - MChem. Student (2018 - 2019)
Lousie-Marie Craigie - BSc. Student (2017 - 2018)
Sarah Holzer - Erasmus Student (2016 - 2017)
Martin Demleitner - Erasmus Student (2015 - 2016)
Roman Steinbach - Erasmus Student (2016 - 2017)