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Prof Chris Kay
London Centre for Nanotechnology
17-19 Gordon Street
Prof Chris Kay profile picture
  • Professor
  • London Centre for Nanotechnology
  • Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences

I studied chemistry at Oxford University and completed my DPhil in the group of Professor Keith McLauchlan, FRS, studying the effects of small magnetic fields on chemical reactions induced by light and involving free radicals; a topic which has implications for animal navigation. I have recently returned to this topic with a grant funded by DARPA. In order to augment these studies, I used time-resolved EPR (TR-EPR) in order to detect and identify radicals that had been produced by electron transfer following excitation by a nanosecond laser pulse.

I moved to the Department of Physics at the Free University Berlin in October 1993 to join the group of Professor Klaus Möbius, where I built up extensive experience of advanced EPR methods for studying photoactive species first as a postdoctoral fellow and then as a staff scientist.

In January 2006, I moved to University College London. I chose UCL because of the concentration of the world-leading research taking place in Bloomsbury. Within 3 years, I led a successful cross-faculty CIF bid to create a state-of-the-art EPR laboratory that was opened in 2010 and is now located in the Department of Physics & Astronomy. From being an institution with a rich tradition of EPR, yet where activity had ceased, under my leadership UCL is now a world-leading center and grant-funded research is bringing EPR spectroscopy to research from physics to structural biology and medicine.

Research Summary

My group uses Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) Spectroscopy to investigate the structure of novel materials and proteins. Our work is unashamedly collaborative and brings together biologists, chemists, materials scientists and physicists. There are 3 main themes:

Characterisation of the electronic structure and properties of bismuth dopants in silicon by EPR spectroscopy (Morley et al Nature Materials 2013, Balian et al Physical Review B 2012, Morley et al Nature Materials 2010).

Characterisation of the structure and properties of thin films of copper phthalocyanines by EPR Spectroscopy (Warner et al Nature 2013, Warner et al ASC Nano 2012).

Combining X-ray crystallography, molecular dynamics and nitroxide spin-labeling EPR spectroscopy to obtain and verify structures of proteins in solution (Bagneris et al Nature Communications 2013, Webster et al Nucleic Acids Research 2012, Phan et al Nature, 2011, Grohmann et al Journal of the American Chemical Society 2010).

Teaching Summary
MRes in Biosciences: tutor for the Structural Biology and Molecular Biophysics stream.

MSc in Nanotechnology: introduction to EPR spectroscopy for materials characterisation

Biological and biomolecular sciences undergraduate degree streams:
BIOL1002 (Quantitive Biology) - course organiser
BIOC1007 (Principles and Practice of Biochemistry) - lecturer and tutor
BIOC3003 (Advanced Biomolecular Structure) - lecturer and tutor

OCT-2014 Professor SMB/LCN University College London, United Kingdom
OCT-2011 – SEP-2014 Reader SMB/LCN University College London, United Kingdom
JAN-2006 – SEP-2011 Senior Lecturer SMB/LCN University College London, United Kingdom
OCT-1997 – DEC-2005 Staff Scientist Department of Experimental Physics Free University Berlin, Germany
OCT-1993 – SEP-1997 Postdoctoral Research Fellow Department of Experimental Physics Free University Berlin, Germany
Academic Background
2008   ATQ02 - Recognised by the HEA as an Associate Fellow University College London
1993   Master of Arts University of Oxford
1993   Doctor of Philosophy University of Oxford
1991   Bachelor of Arts University of Oxford
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