Chemistry undergraduate student wins first prize in national research symposium

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Michael Thorne 1st prize winner at annual undergraduate chemistry research symposium
Michael Thorne 1st prize winner at the annual undergraduate chemistry research symposium

Michael Thorne, a year 4 MChem student in the Department of Chemistry, won the 1st prize at the annual undergraduate chemistry research symposium held at Liverpool John Moores University on 12th June.

This symposium is aimed at Chemistry students in the final year of their undergraduate studies at UK universities who are invited to present their research projects at this national meeting, funded by Syngenta and Evotec. Four University of Liverpool MChem students were selected to present their work at the symposium: Megan Carr, Leanne Riley, Olivia Howard, and Michael.

In Michael’s project, he used microfluidics to produce monodisperse microcapsules. Microcapsules are microscopic particles that are composed of a core material, often a liquid, and a protective shell. The properties of microcapsules is dependent on their size, but it’s very hard to make size-controlled microcapsules using standard methods. Michael showed that microfluidics could be used to tune the size of polymer microcapsules with a sustainable fragrance liquid core.

Michael said: “I’m honoured to receive this award. There truly was a vast array of fantastic science being conducted by chemistry undergraduates from all over the country. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to get to this position without the guidance of the Slater group, as well as many others from around our department. I had a great time conducting my Chem 480 research, and I am looking forward to starting my PhD this October. Many thanks to Syngenta and Evotec for sponsoring the event, also to Dr Christopher Coxon and Dr Stephen Butler for organising it all.”

Dr Anna Slater, Royal Society-EPRSC Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow in the department of Chemistry and Michael’s project supervisor added: “I am delighted for Michael and all the speakers selected for this conference. The standard of talks was extremely high and demonstrated the breadth of the great contribution that UG researchers make to the department. We have just submitted Michael’s work for publication – a new area of research for the group, and his first first-author paper. Our group look forward to seeing him achieve great success in his future career.”

Dr Frédéric Blanc, senior lecturer in the Department of Chemistry and CHEM480 MChem research project module leader said: “The symposium is an excellent opportunity for undergraduates to present to a wide audience from all over the UK. This is a great achievement for Michael and a well-deserved award. The Department wishes him all the best with his future endeavours”.