Nature’s chemical energy circuits: taking inspiration from hydrogen in biology

  • Start  Tuesday 29 Oct 2019 5:00pm
  • Finish    Tuesday 29 Oct 2019 6:30pm
  • Venue  Gottman Room, School of Geography and the Environment
Portrait of Kylie Vincent
Kylie Vincent is a Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Oxford

This talk examines lessons that can be learnt from nature in the development of catalytic processes for some of the key challenges in energy chemistry. Microorganisms have developed specialised metal-containing enzymes for oxidation of hydrogen, production of hydrogen as a fuel, fixing carbon dioxide into useful chemical building blocks, and converting nitrogen into ammonia under ambient conditions. Nature’s catalysts are highly selective and efficient, and are based on metals that are cheap, and abundant in the environment, such as nickel and iron. Inspiration arising from understanding how nature has tuned these metals for efficient catalysis promises unique solutions to some of the most significantand urgent challenges in energy chemistry. We apply a suite of lab-based and synchrotron-based techniques to probe the mechanisms of biocatalytic processes, as well as exploiting enzymes in cleaner, hydrogen-driven chemical synthesis.


Kylie Vincent is a Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Oxford, and Fellow of Jesus College Oxford.  Her research develops and applies spectroscopic and electrochemical methods to understand catalysis of small-molecule activation in biology. She has also patented applications of immobilised enzymes for chemical synthesis, winning the RSC 2013 Emerging Technologies Competition. She is a graduate of the University of Melbourne, Australia and arrived in Oxford in 2002 on a Wadham College RJP Williams Junior Research Fellowship. In 2007 she took up a Royal Society University Research Fellowship and was appointed Associate Professor in 2013 and Professor in 2017. She has held ERC Starting and Proof of Concept Grants and currently holds an ERC Consolidator Grant as well as major translation funding from Innovate UKs Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst.

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