Personal profile


After graduating with BSc Hons Chemistry from the 'old' Paisley College of Trechnology in 1986, I stayed on to carry out my PhD (Use of Laser Flash Photolysis in the study of Photodymanic Therapy) under the supervision of Prof T.G. Truscott. The highlight of this research was a Cancer Letts paper reporting the first observation of triplet excited transient states that underwent reaction with molecular oxygen following pulsed laser excitation of HpD in cellular enviroments. There then followed a three year post-doctoral stint with Prof M.A.J Rodgers at the Centre for Photochemical Sciences, Ohio, USA where I studied the more fundamental aspects of photo-oxidation mechanisms. These studies resulted in three J. Am. Chem. Soc. papers.

At that point I was contacted about an academic position that became available in Physical Chemistry at the now-called University of Paisley. I took up that position in late 1993 and started using photochemical reactions as a probe of the solvation properties and mechanistic influence of room temperature ionic liquids (RTILs). This resulted in several publications, among them 5 Chem Comms, two of which were highlighted as HOT papers and were feaured in Chemistry World as well as C & E news.

There then followed a period of particularly intensive teaching duties that had to be focussed on and developed. I taught the majority of BSc 1 Chemistry, Forensic Cases Studies, Pharmaceutical Science Case Studies, Introductory Chemistry for Health Science, Introductory Chemistry for Occupational Safety and Health, BSc2 Physical Chemistry labs and tutorials, BSc 3 Physical Chemistry for Pharmaceutical Science, as well as components of BSc3 and 4 physical chemistry. In addition I acted as module coordinator of up to 8 modules per year, including the Hons project module. Finally, over much of this time I sat on the local committee of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

In recent years (at the now-called University of the West of Scotland), an interest in modelling the opto-electronic properties of dyes and pigments has been developed. This involved developing methods to utilise molecular modelling software in the systematic manipulation of 3D molecular structure such that interaction energies, charge transport and optical properties of various rigorously defined dimer species could be computed.

This work has been presented in many national as well as international conferences over the years with particular highlights being invitations to present talks to the Am. Chem. Soc. (2003 & 2004)  and E. M. R. S. (2015) conferences.

Overall, I would describe myself essentially as an active Physical Chemist with enthusiasm for teaching (and teaching myself about) the subject.

Finally, as a graduate of Paisley College of Technology, it is a genuine pleasure to be collaborating with (amongst others) a former student of University of Paisley who is supervising the PhD of one of my UWS hons students - thereby bridging all the institutional changes that the 'old' PCT has undergone over the last 30 years within a single research collaboration!


Area of academic expertise - outline

Reaction kinetics & mechanisms, photophysics & photochemistry, electrochemistry, UV-VIS absortion and fluorescence spectroscopy, laser flash photolysis and molecular modelling as applied to:

  1. Photo-oxidation mechanisms associated with (photo- and) chemotherapeutic agents.
  2. Understanding of the basic action and influence of room temperature ionic liquids (RTILs) on reaction rates and mechanisms involving both charged and neutral reacting species.
  3. Photophysics and photochemistry of dyes and pigments.
  4. Understanding of molecular structural factors responsible for the opto-electronic properties of crystalline dyes and pigments.
  5. The relationship between computed molecular vibrational properties and charge transport / chemical reactivity.
  6. The use of molecular modelling in developing structural identfication protocols and enviromental distribution of organic materials.


Current research activities

  1. Re-developing interest in the detailed role of RTILs in controlling mechanisms of charge transfer.
  2. Understanding the role of counter ion identity and location in systematic control of the opto-electronic properties of cationic dyes in their (quasi) crystalline state.
  3. Understanding the detailed relationship between molecular vibrational modes and (photo-) chemical reactivity.

Desired research direction

  • broaden the applications of our molecular modelling studies via the improvement of our computer software and hardware.
  • to develop a state of the art laser flash photolysis lab capable of supporting multiple users, collaborators and disciplines over this and local institutional(s).
  • explore the links between computed vibrational spectra and experiment.

Target collaborative companies

  • fujifilm
  • 3M
  • ultrafastsystems


Target collaborative organisations

  • Wellcome Trust

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

External positions

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Center for Photochemical Sciences



  • QD Chemistry


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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