Ortu Group – Autumn 2020
From left to right: Matthew Stevens, Alex Bowles (top), Emily Spray (bottom), Fabrizio Ortu (tiny bottom right corner)
Alex Bowles (2020-2024)
Alex carried out his final year MChem project in the group and graduated from the University of Leicester in 2020. He then returned for his PhD studies to work 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.
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
Emily Spray (2020/2021)
Emily is a fourth year MChem student, working alongside Matthew on the synthesis of tripodal ligands for alkaline earth metal complexes. Originally from the far-off land of Nottingham, Emily’s favourite part of chemistry is building models of molecules from moly mods to pretend she understands what she is doing.
Although her true passion is chemistry, other pastimes Emily also enjoys include reading, fitness and drinking unreasonable amounts for tea.
Sara Pischedda – Erasmus+ visiting student (2020)