The Group

Ortu Group – Spring 2020

From left to right: Alex Bowles, Fabrizio Ortu, Sara Pischedda, Matthew Stevens

PhD students

Matthew Stevens (2019-2023)
Matthew was born and bred in the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames, part of Greater London. He studied chemistry at the University of York, graduating in 2019. He moved to Leicester for his PhD studies in synergic main group/lanthanide chemistry, which brings things to the present day.  Matthew has a keen interest in all chemical synthesis, and has been known to dabble in hobby chemistry since starting secondary school. Achievements in this regard include preparing crude potassium cuprate(III) and extracting vanadium metal from its ore. Away from the academic front, Matthew enjoys Marvel films and reading sci-fi books, but also hiking on the Yorkshire moors or North Downs.

Undergraduate MChem students

Alex Bowles (2019/2020)
Alex joined the group as an MChem student working on low oxidation state alkaline earth and lanthanide chemistry. Alex’s main goal of his project is to maximise his contributions to the group, even if that is just showing the others the best pubs in town. Alex hails from Baldock in North Hertforshire. Away from the lab, Alex has been a keen rugby player since a young age, formerly playing for the University on a Wednesday and still watching Tigers lose on a Saturday. Alex is also an enthusiastic home-brewer and brings a bit of chemistry into his kitchen at home for his weekend brews, thus making him a very popular addition to the group.

Visiting Students

Sara Pischedda (2020)
Sara is currently carrying out her PhD studies in organometallic chemistry with Prof. Sergio Stoccoro and Prof. Antonio Zucca at the University of Sassari in Sardinia, the same institution of her undergraduate degree (same as Fabs’!). She is studying the coordination of Pd(II), Pt(II) and Au(III) with nitrogen-based donor ligands, and is investigating the properties of these compounds. Sara also did her undergraduate degree at Sassari. Sara is from the most beautiful island in the Mediterranean Sea: Sardinia. After an experience in Manchester in 2019 with David Mills, she has decided to do the second part of her Erasmus+ placement in Leicester working in the Ortu Group. The start of her project in Leicester coincided with the arrival of Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis, thus raising some serious questions about the timing of her staying in the UK.

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