News Archive

For more recent news, visit the Welcome page.


January 2024: Welcome to Alex and Liam as they start the lab work of their BSc projects.


December 2023: Sean presents a poster at the 29th SCI Annual Review Meeting – Organic Synthesis: New Technologies and Applications. The group attends the RSC MASC Meeting at the University of Birmingham with Bec and Sean presenting posters.

November 2023: Congratulations to Abigail on passing her MSc by Research viva.

July 2023: Beth joins the group for a summer internship. Sean attends the 5th ERC Grantees Conference at the University of Edinburgh, and is then joined by Bec and Nick to attend the RSC ECR MASC Meeting at the Crick Institute in London.

January 2023: Bec and Curtis’ paper on the anion modulated expression of mechanical chirality in hydrogen bond templated [2]rotaxanes is online at Chemistry – A European Journal. Steven and Sean’s review on ion pair binding interlocked molecules has also been published in a special issue of Chemistry. Agata joins the group to carry out her final year BSc project.


December 2022: Sean’s paper on the hydrogen bond templated synthesis of catenanes and rotaxanes from a single isophthalic acid derivative is now online at Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry. Bec and Sean present posters at the RSC Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry Interest Group Meeting at the University of Nottingham.

October 2022: Abigail returns to start an MSc by Research investigating lanthanide-containing self-assembled systems.

September 2022: Bec and Sean present at Lancaster Chemistry’s Postgraduate and Early Career Researcher Conference. Congratulations to Sean for winning a prize for his talk.

August 2022: Nick commences his term as Head of the Department of Chemistry at Lancaster University.

July 2022: Jess joins us to start her RSC Undergraduate Research Bursary project. Nick presents a research seminar at the University of York and then pops along to Durham University to celebrate David Parker’s retirement. At the end of the month, Bec delivers a talk and Sean presents a poster at the ECR MASC meeting at Loughborough University.

May 2022: Bec presents a poster at the 55th European Symposium on Biological and Organic Chemistry at Gregynog Hall.

March 2022: We’re excited to receive “catalyst” funding from Lancaster University to prepare prototype rotaxanes for future imaging applications.

January 2022: As 2022 starts, we are joined in the lab by the BSc project students.


November 2021: Congratulations to Sean on being awarded a Sydney Andrew Scholarship by the Society of Chemical Industry.

October 2021: Abbie and Steven commence their undergraduate research projects.

Summer 2021: Nick has been promoted to Senior Lecturer, as well as being appointed to Interim Head of Chemical Synthesis and Director of Teaching in the Department of Chemistry at Lancaster University.

August 2021: Nick and Bec have had chapters on catalysis in interlocked molecules and coordination cages published as part of the RSC book Reactivity in Confined Spaces.

May 2021: Nick presents on an online lecture to Year 12 & 13 students on chiral interlocked molecules.

January 2021: Andy, Callum and Lucy commence their undergraduate research projects.


December 2020: The Evans Group attends the RSC vMASC conference online with Bec presenting her MASC PhD Thesis Prize lecture – Many congratulations to Bec on winning this prestigious award!

October 2020: Sean begins his PhD preparing interlocked molecules for a variety of supramolecular chemistry applications.

July 2020: Bec starts on our Leverhulme Trust funded project on the synthesis and study of peptide-displaying rotaxanes.

June 2020: Matt and Nick publish a paper on the synthesis and structural analysis of a peptide-displaying [1]rotaxane in Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry.

April 2020: Nick publishes a review on lanthanide-containing interlocked molecules in ChemPlusChem. Nick has also received funding from the Joy Welch Educational Charitable Trust to synthesize and study novel ion pair receptors.

February 2020: Nick is awarded seed funding from the EPSRC Directed Assembly Network to support a visit to, and project with, Will Unsworth’s laboratory at the University of York.

January 2020: Sarah joins the lab to start her CHEM381 project. Nick presents a talk to the School of Chemistry and Biosciences at the University of Bradford.


December 2019: Nick presents at the RSC Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry Interest Group Meeting at the University of Kent.

November 2019: Nick has been awarded a 3 year Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant to support PDRA-led investigations into peptide displaying rotaxanes.

October 2019: Eve joins the lab to start her CHEM400 project.

July 2019: A busy start to the summer: Patrick and Sophie commence summer placements (funded by the EPSRC and RSC respectively). Nick presents at the EPSRC Dial-a-Molecule and Directed Assembly Networks ECR Event “Supporting Synthesis and Self-Assembly” held at the University of York. Nick also presents at a Lancaster University Sharing Practice Event about innovation in his undergraduate teaching.

June 2019: The academic year finishes on a high note with Emma winning a prize for her BSc project.

April 2019: Nick has received funding from the Joy Welch Educational Charitable Trust to synthesize and study novel functional rotaxanes.

March 2019: Nick has been awarded a Royal Society Research Grant to synthesize and study new lanthanide complexes and assemblies.

February 2019: Congratulations to Charlie as he successfully defends his PhD thesis. Nick’s review on hydrogen bond templated interlocked molecules is now online at the European Journal of Organic Chemistry.

January 2019: Charlie and Tim’s paper on modulating the expression of chirality in a mechanically chiral rotaxane has been published by ChemComm. Emma and Curtis commence their BSc CHEM381 projects.


December 2018: Charlie submits his PhD thesis for examination. Nick (with Dr Nick Fletcher) hosts the 2018 RSC Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry Interest Group meeting – MASC2018 – at Lancaster University, with over 150 delegates attending.

November 2018: Nick presents a talk to the Department of Chemistry at the University of Lincoln.

October 2018: New academic year starts with MSci student Matt joining Nick to start his CHEM400 project.

August 2018: Registration opens for MASC2018 that Nick is co-organizing (with Dr Nick Fletcher) at Lancaster University in December 2018. Nick attends Variety in Chemistry Education/Physics Higher Education Conference held at the University of Sheffield.

July 2018: Two new group members for the summer: Emily and Giorgio commence RSC and EPSRC funded summer placements. Nick attends the RSC MASC Early Career Meeting at the University of Manchester.

June 2018: Congratulations to Chris for winning a prize for his MChem project.

April 2018: Preparations are well under way for the RSC Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry Interest Group Meeting (MASC2018) to be held at Lancaster in December 2018, with the meeting website now online.

January 2018: Nick starts the new year by presenting at PDB60 (60th Birthday Symposium for Prof Paul Beer) held at the Department of Chemistry, University of Oxford.


November 2017: A paper on a [3]rotaxane and [2]rotaxane molecular shuttle has been published by Supramolecular Chemistry – an invited contributed for a special issues on Emerging UK Talent in Supramolecular Chemistry. Nick presents a poster at “Synthetic Tools for the Exploration of 3D Pharmaceutical Space” (an EPSRC Dial-a-Molecule network meeting) at the University of York.

October 2017: Emily and Chris join the group as our first ever MChem project students. A mini-review that Nick has written on chiral catenanes and rotaxanes has been accepted by Chemistry – A European Journal.

September 2017: Charlie returns from spending three months away in Japan on the JSPS Summer Programme. Nick assists with the audio-visuals at the RSC Co-ordination and Organometallic Chemistry Discussion Group Meeting held at Lancaster University. At the end of the month, Nick is awarded a pump prime award from the Supporting Synthesis and Self-Assembly event he attended in July to support a project working with Will Unsworth (University of York).

July 2017: In Cambridge, Nick presents a poster and flash presentation at the combined International Symposium on Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry and ISACS: Challenges in Organic Materials and Supramolecular Chemistry meetings.

June 2017: Nick attends Supporting Synthesis and Self-Assembly (an event for early career researchers run by the EPSRC Dial-a-Molecule and Directed Assembly networks) in Liverpool, presenting a poster and flash presentation.

April 2017: Charlie presents a talk at the SCI Northern Region Postgraduate Symposium on Novel Organic Chemistry in Newcastle.

March 2017: Results from Beth’s BSc project have been published in a paper in Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry – the rapid synthesis of rotaxanes containing axles with a single amide hydrogen bond templating motif (along with some computational modelling from our collaborator Dr Michael Peach).


December 2016: Charlie and Nick present posters at the RSC Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry Meeting at the University of Edinburgh. Charlie also presents a poster and delivers a short talk on his research at Lancaster University’s Faculty of Science and Technology Christmas Conference.

November 2016: A book chapter on chiral host-guest recognition that Nick co-authored with Paul Beer has been published by Wiley as part of the book Chirality in Supramolecular Assemblies: Causes and Consequences.

October 2016: Nick writes at The Conversation about the award of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2016 to Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Fraser Stoddart and Ben Feringa for their work on the design and synthesis of molecular machines.

August 2016: A paper on pyridine-N-oxide rotaxane synthesis by Nick and Charlie (with computational collaborator Dr Michael Peach) has been published in Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry. As part of an EPSRC funded initiative run at Lancaster University to give undergraduate students the opportunity to experience research, Tim joins the group as an intern working on novel hydrogen bond templated rotaxanes.

July 2016: Nick gives a flash presentation as part of the Researcher Links Workshop at the 5th International Conference on Molecular Sensors and Molecular Logic Gates at the University of Bath.

June 2016: Nick and Charlie move into the newly refurbished synthetic chemistry research laboratory in the Faraday Building at Lancaster University.

May 2016: Nick presents a poster at the RSC Organic Division North-West Regional Meeting held in Preston at the University of Central Lancashire.

April 2016: Charlie has been awarded a prize for his presentation at the departmental postgraduate research conference.

February 2016: Nick gives a talk to the Department of Chemistry at Loughborough University.

January 2016: New year and new group member: Beth becomes our first chemistry undergraduate project student working on switchable hydrogen bond templated rotaxanes.


December 2015: Charlie and Nick present posters at the RSC Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry Meeting at Durham University.

September 2015: A paper on the catenane Calum discovered during his third year undergraduate research project has been published in Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry. Nick “chalk and talks” some of the group’s work on catenanes and rotaxanes at the Gregynog Synthesis Workshop.

March 2015: Nick has been awarded a Royal Society Research Grant to synthesize and study new receptors designed to act as transmembrane ion transporters. Charlie presents the work on his project to date at the departmental PhD seminar.


December 2014: The year comes to an end with Nick presenting a talk at Lancaster University’s Faculty of Science and Technology Christmas Conference.

October 2014: Charlie arrives in Lancaster to begin his PhD working on the development of new receptors for chiral anion recognition.

September 2014: Nick presents at the Reaxys Inspiring Chemistry Conference (Grindelwald, Switzerland). A review on developments in anion supramolecular chemistry since the millennium, that Nick has written with his doctoral supervisor Prof Paul Beer, has been placed online at Angewandte Chemie.

June 2014: Calum completes his time in the group by presenting the results of his undergraduate research project at Lancaster University’s Chemistry Dissertation “Mini-Conference”.

March 2014: An Early Career Small Grant from Lancaster University has been awarded that will fund the preparation of novel synthetic anion receptors which are to be included in electrode-based anion sensors. A review Nick has co-authored describing recent developments in the chemistry and applications of catenanes has appeared on-line in Chemical Society Reviews.

February 2014: A paper with work from Nick’s post-doc in Durham on the development of emissive chiral lanthanide complexes has been published in Dalton Transactions.

January 2014: A small grant has been awarded by the RSC Research Fund to allow for the investigation of novel receptors designed to bind chiral anions. Project student Calum joins Nick in the lab to carry out synthesis and studies of an anion controlled molecular switch.


December 2013: Nick presented a poster at the RSC Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry Meeting at the University of Glasgow on post-doctoral research published in Dalton Transactions.

November 2013: A small research grant has been awarded by the Faculty of Science and Technology, Lancaster University to prepare new receptors for ion pair guests.