Professor Zoe Pikramenou PhD, BSc, MRSC CChem

Proffessor Zoe Pikramenou

School of Chemistry
Professor of Inorganic Chemistry and Photophysics
Director of Global Engagement, College of EPS

Contact details

School of Chemistry
Haworth Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Zoe Pikramenou is a Professor of Inorganic Chemistry and Photophysics and Director of Global Engagement for the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences.

Zoe’s research interests involve development of metal-based molecular and nanosized probes for luminescent imaging, sensing and energy conversion. Zoe has published manuscripts in internationally leading scientific journals, many of them involving interdisciplinary projects with chemical engineers, medics and biochemists. Her research has received an internationally recognised profile with invited presentations at conferences in Photochemistry, Bioinorganic Chemistry, Materials Science and Nanomedicine. The research has been supported by EPSRC, MRC, BBSRC, The Leverhulme Trust, the Royal Society and EU grants including Marie Curie Research Training Networks and COST networking support. Recent press releases have attracted wide interest for the applications of nano- and micro- sized particles in Dentistry and Cardiovascular Imaging.

Zoe is leading Global Engagement activities for the College, leading strategic partnerships and collaborative engagement opportunities across Physical Sciences and Engineering. She is an Associate Editor of Frontiers in Chemistry (Nanoscience) and Chair of the Royal Society of Chemistry Photophysics and Photochemistry group.

Zoe was a co-organiser of the European Biological Inorganic Chemistry Conference 2018 at the University of Birmingham and the Early Careers RSC Photochemistry Symposium 2017. She has also given several lectures and organised events for career development and student support in STEMM, presenting the view of career paths and balancing academic work with family demands. She introduced and led the School Athena SWAN activities for the School of Chemistry.

Research webpages


  • PhD in Chemistry, Michigan State University, Michigan, USA
  • B.Sc. in Chemistry, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece


A graduate of University of Athens (NKUA), she obtained her PhD with Professor Dan Nocera at Michigan State University (currently at Harvard) supported with a scholarship of the Academy of Athens. She moved to Strasbourg in France in 1993 to work with Nobel prize winner Professor Jean Marie Lehn as a Marie Curie and Collège de France fellow.  She was appointed as a Lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh in 1995 and then moved to University of Birmingham in 2000.

Honours and appointments

  • Co-Chief Editor of Frontiers in Chemistry, Nanoscience, 2020.
  • Chair of the RSC Photochemistry and Photophysics Group, Member of the Committee since 2016.
  • Director of Global Engagement, College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, 2018.
  • Co-chair, 14th European Conference on Biological Inorganic Chemistry, EuroBIC, 2018.          
  • Examiner for Undergraduate Chemistry Degree Programmes in Inorganic Chemistry, University of York, 2015-2019.
  • Examiner for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Chemistry Degree Programmes in Inorganic Chemistry, Nottingham Trent University, 2014-2018.
  • Editorial Board of Supramolecular Chemistry, Frontiers in Chemistry, 2014-2019.
  • University Senate, Member, 2014 – 2018.
  • Leverhulme Trust Research Fellow, 2012 – 2014.
  • EPSRC Discipline Hopping Award with Chemical Engineering, 2007 – 2011.
  • The Aventis Scientia Europea Prize, Aventis Foundation and French Academy of Sciences, 2000.
  • Member of the EPSRC College, 1998 – date.


Teaching Programmes

  • Year 4 MSci level Chemistry "Luminescent supramolecular systems"
  • Year 3 MSci / BSc Chemistry "Chemistry of the f block"
  • Year 3  Mini Project  on “Lanthanide complexes”


  • Workshop on “Ethics in Research”

Postgraduate supervision

For opportunities to join the research group, please email Professor Zoe Pikramenou and also see postgraduate opportunities.


Research Themes

Our research involves the design of luminescent molecular and nanosized probes towards the development of new materials for sensing, detection and energy conversion to tackle problems in improvement of healthcare for early diagnosis of disease, environmental detection or design of optoelectronic devices.

Our projects involve synthetic and coordination chemistry, photophysics and nanoscience moving from supramolecular design and recognition to nanostructures with interdisciplinary teams of collaborators: medical scientists, dentists, biochemists, physicists and engineers. The projects involve lanthanide and transition metal complexes with recognition sites designs to target biomolecules such as DNA or “key” analytes in environmental pollution or biological function. In some projects we employ nanoparticles as scaffolds to carry metal complexes and targeting groups in cells for multimodal imaging. We study their targeted delivery in cells using peptide and other biomolecular recognition motifs.

We use luminescence microscopy techniques based on the characteristic luminescence lifetime signal. To target the design of new materials and optoelectronic devices we study the modification of surfaces with metal complexes.

Research group webpages.


For a full list of publications please see Zoe's Google Scholar Profile.

Selected publications

View all publications in research portal