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 Chemistry researchers Dr Otto Mustonen (left) and Dr Stephen Fielden (right)
Chemistry researchers Dr Otto Mustonen (left) and Dr Stephen Fielden (right)

Two University of Birmingham chemists have been awarded prestigious Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowships. Dr Otto Mustonen and Dr Stephen Fielden secured the awards in the areas of quantum materials and polymers.

The Leverhulme Trust fellowships scheme is highly competitive. It supports academics who are at a relatively early stage of their career and have the potential to become world leaders in their fields.

Dr Otto Mustonen is a materials chemist working at the interface of chemistry and physics. His main research interests are quantum materials that have exotic properties governed by the laws of quantum mechanics. His fellowship project ‘Exploring Quantum Criticality Through Chemical Design’ takes an ambitious new approach to quantum materials utilising ultrafine control of their chemical composition. His aim is to develop and establish design principles for materials for the next generation of quantum computing.

Dr Stephen Fielden’s research interests concern how lessons learnt from biology can be applied to develop nanotechnology using synthetic chemistry. His fellowship project is 'Nanoscale Containers For Synthetic Membrane Trafficking'. Biological cells use membrane containers for transporting cargos (proteins, hormones, etc) between specific locations. This process allows material to be moved without being degraded or interfering with other cellular processes. Dr Fielden plans to mimic this by encapsulating chemical reagents into synthetic nanoscale containers that fuse on demand. This will allow him to control the outcome of chemical reactions and to develop sequence specific reaction cascades.