Over the last 600 years, the University of St Andrews, Scotland’s first university, has established a reputation as one of the world’s leading research and teaching centres. Chemistry has been taught and researched at St Andrews since 1811 and the present day School of Chemistry continues to uphold the long held principle of pursuing excellence in teaching and research in all areas of the chemical sciences to the highest standards of scholarship and integrity. In 2003 the School of Chemistry joined forces with its counterpart at the University of Edinburgh to form EaStCHEM, a joint chemistry research School that harnesses the complementary capabilities of these two well renowned departments. Within this world class research environment, based within the St Andrews School of Chemistry, Professor Russell Morris’s research group conducts leading research focused on the synthesis, characterisation and application of inorganic and inorganic-organic hybrid solids. The group is particularly well known for its pioneering work in the development of porous solids as storage and delivery vehicles for medically active gases such as nitric oxide, hydrogen sulphide and carbon monoxide – gases which are extremely toxic in large amounts and therefore traditionally difficult to handle and administer in low, medically useful doses. Morris’s research has shown that porous materials show exceptional properties for the safe and controllable delivery of such gases at biologically suitable rates. In addition, the Group has shown that porous materials such as metal organic frameworks (MOFs) can also perform antimicrobial functions through judicious choice of framework components. The research group is experienced in process development for scale up and has successfully manufactured a variety of MOFs at the kilogram scale.
The University of St Andrews is committed to the translation of leading academic research into industrial and commercial impact. Aspects of this research work have already led to a large commercial licence at St Andrews and a subsequent spin out company who are taking the technology to the market place through clinical trials. A further aspect of this research is the subject of a major Scottish initiative to develop new multifunctional anti-bacterial and nitric oxide delivery materials, with another spin-out company (MOFgen) currently in the process of being formed. This commercially-focussed activity has led to several awards from the Royal Society (e.g. Brian Mercer Award for Innovation), the Royal Society of Edinburgh, GEMI (Germany) and the Royal Society of Chemistry Applied Inorganic Chemistry award.