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Three Bristol chemists awarded by the Royal Society of Chemistry

Chris Willis

Tony Davis

Emma Raven

24 June 2020

Three members of the School of Chemistry have received awards from the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Chris Willis, Professor of Organic Chemistry, has received the Natural Product Chemistry Award, for outstanding contributions across the broad spectrum of natural product chemistry. 

Professor Willis’ research centres on understanding how bacteria and fungi produce biologically active compounds with the aim of harnessing the complex biosynthetic machinery to produce new bioactive compounds cleanly and efficiently. 

Professor Willis said: Natural products are at the core of our interdisciplinary research programmes and I was thrilled to receive the 2020 Royal Society of Chemistry Natural Product Chemistry Award. It reflects the hard work and enthusiasm of many talented researchers who have been instrumental in bringing the projects to fruition over the years and I am delighted to share this recognition with them.

Anthony Davis, Professor of Supramolecular Chemistry, has received the Robert Robinson Awardfor outstanding contributions to the design and synthesis of selective carbohydrate receptors with potential to improve the wellbeing of those with diabetes. 

A major goal of Professor Davis’ work has been the design of a molecule which binds glucose selectively under biological conditions. This could be used to help diabetics, either as a component in glucose monitors or as part of glucose-responsive insulin (insulin which becomes active only when needed). He is now working with industry to develop applications of the molecule.   

Professor Davis said: “I’m delighted to receive the award. It’s very motivating trying to do something that will reach beyond the academic world and have a real effect on people's lives.”

Professor Emma Raven, Head of the School of Chemistryhas received the Interdisciplinary Prizefor seminal contributions to understanding the roles of heme in biology. 

Professor Raven’s research work has been focused on understanding the structure and function of heme proteins, which form part of hemoglobin, and their role in biology. 

Professor Raven said: “I am incredibly honoured, happy and proud. For myself, of course, but also for the students and colleagues that I have worked with who have also contributed to this.”

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