Dr Lewis MacKenzie

Strathclyde Chancellor's Fellow

Pure and Applied Chemistry

Personal statement

I am a Chancellor's Fellow in the Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, leading a small highly-focused research team. Our research primarily focuses on the development of photonic upconversion nanosensors for biophotonics applications, particularly biosensing, and photodynamic therapies. My background is interdisciplinary, and I am also interested in biophotonics, imaging, spectroscopy, microscopy, circularly polarised luminescence for chiral molecules, optical instrumentation, and science communication. I can offer project opportunities for masters-level and PhD students. Please email me for details. Updates can be found at these links: https://pureportal.strath.ac.uk/en/persons/lewis-mackenzie www.lewismackenzie.science


Has expertise in:

    Upconversion nanoparticles, nanosensors, biophotonics, blood oximetry, tissue optics, imaging, optical instrumentation, spectroscopy, chiral spectroscopy, circularly polarised luminescence (CPL), science communication and new media.

Prizes and awards

Postgraduate Course in Science Communication. Invited lecture.
Institute of Physics, 3 Minute Wonder, North East England Heat Winner
BBSRC Discovery Fellowship
‘ACTION for Impact’ Pitch Competition Runner Up.
Famelab Scotland Winner
Famelab UK finalist

More prizes and awards


Ph.D. 2016. School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Glasgow. Thesis title: 'In vivo oximetry using multispectral imaging'. Supervisor: Prof. Andy Harvey.

M.Sc. Astrophysics. 2012. School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Glasgow.

B.Sc. (Hons). Physics and Astronomy. 2011. School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Glasgow.



Synthesis and structural diversification of circularly polarised luminescence active, helically chiral, "confused" N,N,O,C‐BODIPYs**
Clarke Rebecca G, Weatherston Jake, Taj-Aldeen Rafid A, Waddell Paul G, McFarlane William, Penfold Thomas J, Bogaerts Jonathan, MacKenzie Lewis E, Herrebout Wouter, Pal Robert, Hall Michael J
ChemPhotoChem (2022)
Upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs)produced via the modest-temperature open-air PVP assisted route : tuning morphology and optical emission
MacKenzie Lewis
Methods and Application of Fluorescence 2022 (2022)
Circularly polarised luminescence in an RNA-based homochiral, self-repairing, coordination polymer hydrogel
El-Zubir Osama, Rojas Martinez Pablo, Dura Gema, Al-Mahamad Lamia LG, Pope Thomas, Penfold Thomas J, MacKenzie Lewis E, Pal Robert, Mosely Jackie A, Cucinotta Fabio, McGarry Liam F, Horrocks Benjamin R, Houlton Andrew
Journal of Materials Chemistry. C Vol 10, pp. 7329-7335 (2022)
Lanthanide luminescence from supramolecular hydrogels consisting of bio-conjugated picolinic-acid-based guanosine quadruplexes
Kotova Oxana, O'Reilly Ciaran, Barwich Sebastian T, MacKenzie Lewis E, Lynes Amy D, Savyasachi Aramballi J, Ruether Manuel, Pal Robert, Möbius Matthias E, Gunnlaugsson Thorfinnur
Chem Vol 8, pp. 1395-1414 (2022)
Low-temperature open-air synthesis of PVP-coated NaYF 4:Yb,Er,Mn upconversion nanoparticles with strong red emission
MacKenzie Lewis E, Alvarez-Ruiz Diana, Pal Robert
Royal Society Open Science Vol 9 (2022)
Circularly polarised luminescence laser scanning confocal microscopy to study live cell chiral molecular interactions
Stachelek Patrycja, MacKenzie Lewis, Parker David, Pal Robert
Nature Communications Vol 13 (2022)

More publications

Research interests

The MacKenzie NanoBioPhotonics group currently focus on these interdisciplinary research themes:

  1. Upconversion nanoparticles: synthesis, design, and functionalization.
  2. Nanobiosensing: oxygen measurement in blood, cells, and tissue.
  3. Applied optics: imaging and spectroscopy
  4. Quantitative science communication: science podcast and chemistry YouTube channels

For a detailed breakdown, please visit:


Professional activities

Straight-forward synthesis of upconversion nanoparticles for biosensing applications using a polymer-assisted open-air modest-temperature method: control of shape and emission
Journalism (Journal)
Peer reviewer
PhD viva convenor (internal: University of Strathclyde)
Royal Society Open Science (Journal)
Peer reviewer
IOP 3 Minute Wonder UK Grand Final
Better Oxygen Measurement

More professional activities


BRAINS Strathclyde Centre for Doctoral Training
MacKenzie, Lewis (Principal Investigator) Childs, Peter (Principal Investigator) Witte, Kimia (Principal Investigator) Jimenez, Melanie (Principal Investigator) Chow, Shiao (Principal Investigator) Fu, Ying (Principal Investigator) Gomez-Roman, Natividad (Principal Investigator) Fazio, Mariana (Principal Investigator) Reid, Andrew Baxter (Principal Investigator)
Centre for Doctoral Training in Bridging Research and Advancements in Neurological Sciences (BRAINS). First cohort of PhD students starting autumn 2023.
Versatile high-capacity high-speed benchtop centrifuge for multiple users
MacKenzie, Lewis (Principal Investigator)
a modern high speed refrigerated centrifuge with interchangeable carbon fibre rotors (up to 15 year lifespan) to provide for a wide variety of users applications, including 50 mL conical tubes, 15 mL conical tubes, 1.5 -2 mL Eppendorf tubes, and multi-well microplates. Max relative centrifugal force (RCF) up to 25,830 times gravity (Xg). Includes touch screen controls, quick rotor change features, self-diagnostic features, energy saving design, and advanced ergonomic features to meet the needs of multiple users.
01-Jan-2022 - 01-Jan-2023
Functional nanoparticle constructs for biosensing: optimised core synthesis, mesoporous shell formation, and dye-loading.
MacKenzie, Lewis (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2022 - 01-Jan-2023
Functional nanoparticle constructs for biosensing: optimised core synthesis, mesoporous shell formation, and dye-loading (Research Enablement Grant)
MacKenzie, Lewis (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2022 - 31-Jan-2023
ESPRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) - New Organisation Engagement Award
MacKenzie, Lewis (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2022 - 01-Jan-2023
University of Strathclyde: Sustainability Incentive Fund award
MacKenzie, Lewis (Principal Investigator)
02-Jan-2022 - 01-Jan-2022

More projects


Pure and Applied Chemistry
Technology Innovation Centre

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