Andrew C. Benniston
Institution: Newcastle University
Professor Andy Benniston started his career at Warwick University (UK) where he obtained a 1st in Chemistry (Hons) in 1987 and a PhD in 1990 with Professor Peter Moore. He spent one year in Strasbourg with Dr Jean-Pierre Sauvage on a Royal Society Fellowship, and this was followed by a stay in Austin Texas at the Center for Fast Kinetics Research with Dr Tony Harriman. After spending around six years as a lecturer in the Chemistry Department at the University of Glasgow he moved to Newcastle University in 2001 to set up the Molecular Photonics Laboratory. Promotion to Senior Lecturer in 2003 was followed by appointment in 2011 to the Professor of Photonic Energy Sciences, with special research emphasis on the discovery of new solutions to problems in fields covering biology (real-time diagnostics) and chemistry (light-to-chemical fuel energy storage).
Professor Benniston has worked on many different aspects of chemistry, studying in the early years the coordination chemistry of macrocycles and redox-active ligands for transition metal ion sensing. Back in 1993 he produced one of the first light-activated molecular shuttles, and prepared and studied several novel merocyanine dyes for photodynamic therapy applications. Other work has focussed on the study of photoactive metal-based catenanes, energy and electron transfer through molecular bridges, picosecond transient resonance Raman for studying charge transfer complexes, artificial zinc enzymes, molecular switches and fluorescent probes.
More recently special attention has focused on the use of borondipyrromethene (Bodipy) dyes for fluorescence-based applications in reactive oxygen sensing (ROS), neural imaging, and as rheology probes for in-situ viscosity measurements.