Dr Paul Thornton

Dr Paul Thornton


  • Module Leader (CHEM560XM)
  • Programme Manager (MSc in Chemistry)

Research interests

My research is concerned with employing controlled polymerisation techniques to produce functional polymeric materials with applicability within both a biomedical context and in the enhancement of commercially-important processes. Contemporary polymerisation methodologies including reversible addition−fragmentation chain-transfer polymerisation (RAFT), atom transfer radical polymerisation (ATRP) and nitroxide-mediated radical polymerization (NMP) are utilised to produce distinct (co)polymers for designed use in separation science, catalysis, (bio)sensing and surface coating applications.

In addition, I also have an interest in controlled ring-opening polymerisation to yield biodegradable polymers (homopolypeptides and polyesters) that are highly promising candidates as biomaterials. N-carboxyanhydride polymerisation is a facile route to creating synthetic homopolypeptides that possess a range of functionalities dependent on the amino acid monomer selected, and the capability to adopt a secondary structure. Consequently, we have exploited these features to create homopolypeptides that are capable of forming hydrogels, add antimicrobial properties and hydrophilicity to siloxane surfaces, and form enzyme-degradable carriers for gene delivery.

Finally, I am interested in utilising suspension and emulsion polymerisation, in addition to microfluidic synthesis, to create functionalised nanoparticles and resins. Further modification of the nanoparticles produced via solid phase peptide synthesis enables the creation of a range of stimuli-responsive materials that may be utilised in chromatography, catalyst immobilisation or drug delivery applications.

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


  • PhD

Professional memberships

  • MRSC
  • FHEA

Student education

In addition to my teaching responsibilities, I also provide MCHEM and MSc project supervision.

Research groups and institutes

  • Crystallisation and Directed Assembly
  • Colour and Polymer Science

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="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>