Professor Steve Marsden

Professor Steve Marsden


I have worked at Leeds since 2001, prior to which I was Senior Lecturer at Imperial College (1994-2001) and a SERC NATO Postdoctoral Fellow at Columbia University (1993-4).  I have strong interests in the industry-academia interface, holding a Royal Society Industry Fellowship (2008-10) and serving as Pro-Dean for Research and Innovation in the Faculty of Mathematics and Physical Sciences at Leeds (2010-2013).  I also served as Head of the School of Chemistry (2013-2018) and on the EPSRC Capital Strategic Advisory Team (2017-2021). 


  • Head, Sustainable and Digital Chemistry section

Research interests

The main focus of our research is the development of new (frequently catalytic) synthetic methods.  We apply these discoveries in two distinct but related areas: the efficient exploration of chemical space relevant to biological discovery, and the development of methods for more efficient and sustainable production of high value chemical products.

In the former area, we devise new reaction motifs which allow access to highly 3D small molecules with tightly-controlled molecular properties, for example as lead-like compounds or fragments for screening.  We also develop and apply methods for elaboration of ‘hit’ compounds, for example via C-H functionalisation.  In collaboration with Professor David Jayne in the Faculty of Medicine and Health, we are also developing imaging and drug encapsulation systems that are responsive to tumour environments.

With collaborators in the Institute for Process Research and Development, we develop and apply new methods with the potential to impact chemical manufacture, for example in hydrogen transfer chemistry (patented family of highly active/tolerant catalysts).  We are interested in photochemical processes and have helped develop novel continuous reactors to enable scalable synthesis.  The synergies between bio- and chemo/photocatalysis in continuous flow are also being exploited in our group.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD (1993, Imperial College)
  • BSc Chemistry (1990, Imperial College)

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Student education

I teach undergraduate courses in chemistry and supervise Masters projects for both our MChem and MSc cohorts.

Research groups and institutes

  • Institute for Process Research and Development

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>