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Personal profile

Scholarly biography

My interest in chemistry started as a small child when my chemist father brought colour-changing solutions home from his lab. Following a degree from the University of Nottingham, I fled Thatcher’s Britain for Reagan’s America and the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, where I researched the chemistry of azacrown lariat ethers. Since then I have styled myself a ‘supramolecular chemist’ learning such valuable skills as air sensitive techniques and X-ray crystallography (Alabama), multistep organic synthesis (SUNY, Long Island, NY) and computer modelling (University of Reading, UK) before joining the University of Brighton in 1993.

I have been an active researcher ever since, supervising PhD students, collaborating with colleagues worldwide and writing research papers. I am also the author of two books on supramolecular chemistry and numerous reviews. I am a longstanding member of both the American Chemical Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry. I am a member of the RSC Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry interest group and served for many years as its Secretary and Treasurer.

Approach to teaching

I believe that it is important to demonstrate how fundamental chemical principles underpin both cutting edge research and the solutions to real world problems. I use recent research papers and chemically-related world events to illustrate my lectures – none more so than the “What’s hot in chemistry” first year lectures where I introduce new examples every two weeks. I also like to show the relevance of chemistry to other fields which may not appear obvious at first, for example, how changes in Western art can be linked to advances in metal purification.

Research interests

My research is in the field of supramolecular chemistry and its overlap with bioinorganic chemistry, supported by computational methods. I am fortunate to work in a highly multidisciplinary School where collaborations with biologists and pharmacologists have helped me work effectively at the chemistry-life sciences interface. Research projects have been funded by a range of sources including the EPSRC, Leverhulme Trust (Research Fellowship), EU (INTAS and IRSES), US Army Research Office, Dstl, UK and US industry and charity sectors, and local businesses. Most recently I have used my experience of modelling chemical complexes to investigate interactions between chemical nerve agents and cyclic compounds such as cyclodextrins and calixarenes. Understanding how the agents bind will hopefully lead to simpler ways to detect them.

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Projects 2016 2019

Research Output 1988 2018

Open Access
File
Calixarenes
Chemical Warfare Agents
Soman
Water
Molecular mechanics

Pillar[n]arenes at the Chemistry-Biology Interface

Cragg, P. 10 Jul 2018 p. 1158 – 1172 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review

A co-pillar[5]arene sensor for linear biogenic amines

Kothur, R. R., Patel, B. & Cragg, P. 24 Jul 2017 53, p. 9078-9080 3 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
File
Biogenic Amines
Sensors
pillar(5)arene

Coordination chemistry and applications of phenolic homooxa- and homoazacalixarene–metal complexes

Marcos, P. M. & Cragg, P. Dec 2017 The Chemistry of Metal Phenolates. Zabicky, J. (ed.). Vol. 2, p. 195-235 (Patai's Chemistry of Functional Groups)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Coordination chemistry and applications of phenolic thiacalixarene–metal complexes

Cragg, P. & Marcos, P. M. Dec 2017 The Chemistry of Metal Phenolates. Zabicky, J. (ed.). Vol. 2, p. 237-268 (Patai's Chemistry of Functional Groups)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Activities 1991 2018

British Council

Cragg, P. (Reviewer)
2018 → …

Activity: External funding peer-review

Preludium

Cragg, P. (Reviewer)
2018 → …

Activity: External funding peer-review

Mediterranean Journal of Chemistry (Journal)

Cragg, P. (Reviewer)
2018 → …

Activity: Publication Peer-review

ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces (Journal)

Cragg, P. (Reviewer)
2018 → …

Activity: Publication Peer-review

Molecules (Journal)

Cragg, P. (Editor)
2018

Activity: Editorial work