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Integrated Catalysis (iCAT) CDT

Student in white lab gear peering down a microscope, in front of a backdrop of beakers and molecule

Research projects

iCAT research projects connect the disciplines of chemocatalysis, chemical engineering and biocatalysis in creative ways to solve problems in molecule making.

Lewis Caiger

The iCAT programme lets me engage with the vast chemistry department at Manchester, allowing me to make a more educated choice when choosing which group I want to work with. I also think iCAT is an excellent opportunity as it encourages us to work at the borders of chemistry with other sciences to achieve important advances in science and sustainability.

Lewis Caiger / iCAT CDT student

iCAT supports interdisciplinary fundamental research in bio and chemocatalysis; projects include science and engineering aspects to ensure that the solutions developed are applicable and sustainable.

The portfolio of CDT projects on offer encompasses a diverse range of approaches to integrated catalysis, including:

  • synergistic chemo and biocatalysis cascades;
  • iCAT approaches to new chemical reactivity;
  • technology-driven solutions to iCAT system design;
  • reaction monitoring in bio and chemo catalysis systems;
  • integrating emerging areas of chemocatalysis (eg electro and photo catalysis) with biocatalysis;
  • smart catalysis and molecular robotics.

Cohort 1 PhD project titles

PhD research projects from cohort 1 students:

  • A versatile biocatalytic platform for therapeutic oligonucleotide synthesis (Supervised by: Dr Sarah Lovelock)
  • Design and Evolution of Photo-Enzymes for Stereoselective Transformations of Nitrogen Radicals (Supervised by: Professor Anthony Green)
  • Development of asymmetric olefin amino-functionalizations via high-throughput experimentations (Supervised by: Professor Daniele Leonori)
  • Development of dual catalysis systems for the preparation of peptide-drug conjugates (Supervised by: Dr Sam Butterworth)
  • Integrated Electro-Biocatalysis for Arylation (Supervised by: Professor Michael Greaney)
  • Integrating Biocatalysis and Metal-Mediated Radical Cyclizations for Diversity Oriented Synthesis (Supervised by: Professor David Procter)
  • Iridium Knots for Allosterically-Controlled Dual Photoredox–Anion-Binding Catalysts (Supervised by: Professor David Leigh)
  • Merging Photocatalysis with Biocatalysis to Access Unexplored Chemical Space (hvBIOCAT) (Supervised by: Professor Jason Micklefield)
  • Merging transition metal-catalysis and electrochemistry for late stage functionalization of biologically active molecules (Supervised by: Professor Igor Larrosa)

Cohort 2 PhD project titles

Since June 2021, cohort 2 students have been working on the below PhD research projects:

  • Continuous reactors for improved catalyst performance (Supervised by: Dr Jordi Bures)
  • Design and Evolution of Enzymes with Genetically Encoded N-Heterocyclic Carbene Ligands (Supervised by: Professor Anthony Green)
  • Engineered bio-  and heterogeneous catalysts for improved polymer circularity (Supervised by: Professor Arthur Garforth)
  • Engineered separation for improved PVC circularity (Supervised by: Professor Chris Hardacre
  • FLP Zintl Clusters for the Electrochemical Catalytic Reduction of Small Molecules (Supervised by: Dr Meera Mehta)
  • Integrated Bio-photocatalysis for Asymmetric sp3-Arylation (Supervised by: Professor Michael Greaney)
  • Merging enzymes and chemocatalysis for more sustainable amide bond synthesis (Supervised by: Professor Jason Micklefield)
  • Photoenzymatic C–H radical alkylation of arenes using S-Adensoyl methionine analogues (Supervised by: Professor David Procter)
  • Pump up the volume: Foldamers as molecular amplifiers (Supervised by: Professor Simon Webb)
  • Ru-based metalloenzymes for asymmetric C-H functionalization (Supervised by: Professor Igor Larrosa)

Cohort 3 PhD project titles

Since June 2022, cohort 3 students have been working on the below PhD research projects:

  • Conformational selection in artificial catalysts and molecular machines (supervised by Prof David Leigh)
  • Radical-relay SmI2 catalysis: expedient access to new bioisosteres for medicinal chemistry (supervised by Dr Sam Butterworth)
  • Enzymes with an Expanded Amino Acid Alphabet (supervised by Dr Sarah Lovelock)
  • Merging synthetic cells with chemocatalysis: telescoping new routes to pharmaceuticals and other essential products (supervised by Dr Anthony Green)
  • Force-activated organocatalysts for plastic recycling (supervised by Prof Guillaume de Bo)
  • Selective and Sequential Catalysed Depolymerisation of Polyester Plastics  (supervised by Prof Michael Shaver)
  • Chemo- and bio-catalytic methods towards chiral dihalocyclopropanes (supervised by Dr Darren Willcox)