Group Members

Iyke Ikenna Ndukwe (PhD)
Quantifying and Improving Pulse Sequence Elements
Iyke joined us in February 2013, leaving his wife (and now beautiful baby boy) in Nigeria in order to test the delights of the UK post-graduate education system. His work on pulse sequence optimisation is starting with investigations of 2D methods for measuring heteronuclear multiple-bond scalar coupling constants.
When life drags him away from his VNC screen, Iyke can often be found raising charitable funds by painting thumb-sized murals on the window of the Vice-Chancellor’s house. No-one understands why…….
JessB Jess Bame (PhD)
Improving Methods for 3D Molecular Structure Determination
Jess arrived on the sunny shores of the UK from the U.S.of.A in October 2013, having completed a Masters at Georgia Tech. Her initial project in application of accurate NOE-distance measurements and 1H-13C scalar coupling measurements to the conformational elucidation of homologated alkanes is now leading to examining new concepts in NOE-distance measurements in heteronuclear NOE studies.
When not running experiments with ‘OESY’ at the end of them, Jess organises street marches in support of the emancipation of fungii in biological research laboratories. If you want to join her focus group – Viva La Mushroom – please contact her on every third day of the week beginning with a ‘J’.
Claire_D Claire Dickson (PhD)
Improving NMR methods to solve 3D molecular structure in solution
Claire completed her undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences at Cambridge, working on her Research Project studying protein-small molecule interactions with mass spectrometry with Prof. Abell and Dr Matak-Vinkovic. She is looking into the accuracy and improvements possible for NMR parameters which give rise to 3-dimensional structural information – most especially H-X coupling constants, and H-H NOEs.
When not working out the shapes of small objects, Claire is internationally reknowned for her efforts in extreme hairstyling and welly-boot wrestling – and she campaigns tirelessly for the latter to be made an Olympic sport.
TomLgraduation Tom Leman (MSc)
Improved Empirical Relationships for 13C-1H 2-bond coupling constants
Tom changed direction a little following his undergraduate degree in Bristol where he cleverly chose a research project with the best-looking New Zealand academic in the School of Chemistry, investigating the challenges and possibilities with applying ‘benchtop’ 60MHz NMR spectroscopy to undergraduate teaching laboratory experiments.
Tom’s MSc research is developing empirical equations to estimate (hopefully pretty accurately!) 2-bond 1H-13C coupling constants for a wide range of molecular structure. Had you ever noticed there are lots more 1H-13C relationships than 1H-1H relationships in most organic molecules…. makes you wonder why we’re fixated on the latter…
Since starting his postgraduate studies, Tom has developed a somewhat tense relationship with Claire (see above) arising from his membership of the UK Welly-boot protection league. His rather placid hairstyling doesn’t help with Claire’s view of him either….
Siying Siying Zhong (PhD)
Combining Computation, NMR and Assembly-Line Synthesis to Explore Conformational Control
Working across the Butts and Aggarwal research groups, Siying is breaking new ground for us by combining chemical synthesis and advanced computation and NMR to make new molecules with cool and sexy shapes and applications – she also wins the group award for “Most Words in Her Thesis Title”. Having worked in the esteemed research team of Professor Nick Williams at Sheffield University on “Stuff To Do With Phosphate Esters” (OK, Nick claims it is more complicated than that, but we’re not convinced), Siying moved to the Chemical Synthesis Centre for Doctoral Training at Bristol, and when choosing her PhD project was struck by the epiphany that she desperately wanted to spend more time sitting in a chair staring at a computer screen – we happily obliged…..
In her spare time Siying likes nothing better than to complete trans-Atlantic swimming challenges. Her next event will be an attempt at breaking the Southampton to New York backstroke record, dressed as a rhinoceros and accompanied only by her faithful pet chamaleon, Bernard.
group photo - Lydia Lydia Dewis (PhD)
Conformational Control as a Tool for Designing Biologically Relevant Molecules
Lydia works within the Butts and Aggarwal research groups, and is co-supervised by Professor Adrian Mulholland . She is undertaking computational design, chemical synthesis and then solution-state structure elucidation by NMR of molecules which may be of great interest for medicinal purposes – antibody-drug conjugates, protein-protein interaction inhibitors, and whatever else she can come up with in the meantime!
Lydia completed her undergraduate studies at Bath University, with a final year research project supervised by Dr Simon Lewis on the synthesis and pharmaceutical applications of aza-azulenes, and joined the Chemical Synthesis Centre for Doctoral Training at Bristol for her PhD studies. Having seen the joy Siying had extracted from running between a chemical synthesis lab and a computational office, Lydia felt she needed to get her some of that. Once again, we happily obliged…..
Lydia is very quiet about how she spends her life outside of the School of Chemistry, but a Google search or two rapidly reveals that she is in training to perpare her bid for joining the Team GB meteor-slinging squad in the 2416 Interstellar Olympics (Don’t worry – she is also working part-time in a cryogenics facility with a view to freezing herself for the next 400 years once she has mastered her skills in the sport).
Dr Godiraone Ramokongwa (Tatolo)
Pulse Sequence Improvements for Heteronuclear Correlation Experiments
Godira completed her BSc and Masters degrees in Chemistry at the University of Botswana – the latter while employed in the NMR Facility at the University. Godira’s PhD, started in 2010, is funded by the University of Botswana and she is working on pulse sequence development – targetting improvements in heteronuclear correlation experiments such as the HMBC and EXSIDE.
When not in the lab, Godira runs a sanctuary for left-handed butterflies three days a week (on the other four, she hunts those bullying right-handed butterflies….).
Post-group update Godi is now back in Botswana bamboozling folks with her NMR-ology. A 600MHz spectrometer and Bruker’s Topspin now fill her days with joy….
Dr Catharine Fleming (nee Jones)
Accurate Interproton Distance Determination by NMR Spectroscopy

Catharine joined the group following her BSc.(Hons) in Natural Sciences from the University of Bath including a year in industry at GSK working in the NMR lab and a final year research project studying the NMR of Paramagnetic Compounds with Dr Randolf Kohn.
Catharine’s project centred on probing the limits of accurate interproton distance determination in small molecules and seeing how far we can push the boundaries of the method.
When she isn’t in the lab, in daylight hours Catharine can generally be found pounding the highways and the by-ways in a pair of trainers (and other clothes of course) – at night she operates a charity shop selling second-hand car bumper stickers.
Post-group update Now north of the border in Frozen Scotland, Catharine is enthusing a new generation of scientists while simultaneously increasing the world’s population through the auspices of young Wyatt:
Dr Paul Brown
Novel Ionic Liquid Surfactants
Paul completed his MSci degree at the University of Bristol in 2004, including a year at Heidelberg University with a final year project synthesizing Quantum Dot Cellular Automata under the supervision of Dr Chris Adams, before spending 4 years sailing the world in a beautiful pea-green boat.
During his PhD, jointly with Professor Julian Eastoe and Dr Craig Butts, Paul developed new Ionic Liquid surfactants which are showing some pretty remarkable properties.
Post-group update Last seen heading east to the New World for a post-doc at MIT….
Caroline Fost
NMR Structural studies of domain 9 and 11 of the cation-independent mannose 6-phosphate receptor and interactions with small molecule ligands.
Caroline joined us from the University of York, following her MSci, including a year in industry. Caroline was jointly supervised by Dr Matt Crump and Dr Craig Butts – bridging the gap between small molecule and biological NMR spectroscopy.
When not bouncing between the two labs, Caroline dons camouflage chic and heads off hunting for Jabberwockies on the Somerset levels.
Post-group update Arrested for impersonating a Jabberwocky in Dorset.


Thomas Floyd
60MHz NMR in the Teaching Lab
Thomas worked on the adaptation of 1st/2nd year chemistry teaching laboratory experiments required to incorporate 60MHz NMR analysis.
It became very difficult to differentiate the ‘Two Toms’ working on this project (they were essentially identical twins with different fathers…. and perhaps mothers), so we gave up trying and awarded them a joint degree. He is now somewhere in Wales learning how to cut people up, and sew them back together for vast sums of cash….
Stephanie Bull
Combining NOE-distances, scalar coupling and chemical shifts to establish conformation and configuration in solution using NMR and computational methods
Following a year in industry working for Mars (but most definitely not on their chocolate line!), Stephanie joined the group to work alongside Jess on a project examining the conformational control of homologated alkanes in solution.
Her project was declared a resounding failure, following only one Nature paper arising from it (Iyke wouldn’t even consider trying to get one of those… Have you seen the pathetic Impact Factor?). She is now rebuilding her research career with a PhD in Reading.
Nicky Kilburn
The Comparison of High Resolution HMBC and Constant-time HMBC for Sensitivity and Resolution
Completing a final-year project in data analysis of large numbers of ultra-high resolution 2D-NMR peaks required tenacity, originality and large amounts of RAM in Nicky’s PC. Unable to continue to occupy the same city as Tom Leman, she jumped onboard a yacht and was last seen heading south-east – presumably to somewhere warmer with better taste in Rasta…
Natalie Mortlock
An Analysis of the Sensitivity Enhancements Achieved using a CT-HMBC Pulse Sequence
Always keen to improve the world, Natalie set out to do this under the auspices of sharpening F1 resolution in HMBC and thereby making them taller. Last seen headed to London to play with the big kids.
George Bailey
Application of NOE Derived Inter-Proton Distances in the Stereochemical Analysis of Small Organic Molecules
George loved NOEs. And his beard. Neither were ever far from his heart…