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Two Chemistry academics in international science Power List

Two academics from the University of Strathclyde’s Department of Pure & Applied Chemistry have been named in an international list of rising stars in science.

Dr Matthew Baker and Dr Lynn Dennany are among 40 scientists included in the 2018 Power List, compiled by Analytical Scientist magazine. The annual list is this year focused on a ‘fab 40’ of scientists aged under 40 who have already achieved major accomplishments in their careers.

Strathclyde is one of only three universities to have two representatives on the list.

Dr Baker and Dr Dennany follow their departmental colleague, Professor Karen Faulds, who was named in the magazine’s 2017 list; this focused on the top 10 analytical scientists in 10 different fields and named her in the Spectroscopy category.

Dr Baker specialises in the composition and behaviour of molecules in complex media and aims to detect or identify disease, toxic chemicals and pathogenic bacteria through the use of spectroscopy.

He has won a series of awards for his research, including the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Harrison-Meldola Memorial Prize and Spectroscopy Magazine’s Emerging Leader in Molecular Spectroscopy Award.

In Analytical Scientist, Dr Baker cites as his greatest achievement the installation of a spectrometer in Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital fitted with accessories developed through his spinout company, ClinSpecDx. This has enabled the collection of spectroscopic data from people attending for CT scans.

He also says his objective is “to have fully regulated spectroscopic tests that are FDA/MHRA (Food and Drug Administration/ Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency) approved, used in daily practice and cover a wide range of diseases. This will not only benefit patients but also expand our field.”   

Dr Dennany’s research focuses on understanding and examining the electrochemical and photophysical interactions between transition metal centres and polymer backbone or nano-structured platforms.

She told Analytical Scientist that her greatest achievement was to show that electrochemical sensors can be successfully utilized in complex matrices such as blood. She added: “Prior to this, they had been dismissed for real-world analysis by many. This represented a game-changer and cemented electrochemical research as part of the mix for portable analysis and real-world applications.

Dr Dennany’s advice to aspiring scientists is: “Collaborate at every opportunity. This can help you direct and shape your area of research while visiting different countries and laboratories. It also gives you a brilliant support network of scientists and friends.”

Dr Dennany’s nominator for a place in the Power List said: “Lynn has pioneered the fundamental understanding of electrochemiluminescence to facilitate the translation of electrochemical sensors into the clinical arena and showcase its potential for a variety of other applications. She has written agenda-setting papers, developed new sensor platforms and made advances toward continuous monitoring.”