Professor Nicholas Long
Winner: 2020 Frankland Award
Imperial College London
For outstanding synthetic inorganic and organometallic chemistry and subsequent applications in catalysis, functional materials and biomedical imaging.
Celebrate Professor Nicholas Long
Professor Long is passionate about making new molecules and the design and synthesis of new chemical bonds or combinations of elements – all of which is central to his research work. Apart from the thrill of discovering new compounds, he is always looking for their applications. This could be as an industrial catalyst, a conducting or switchable material or as a biomedical imaging probe. In the latter, Professor Long as his team are developing less toxic MRI contrast agents, radiochemical probes that can provide better and earlier disease diagnosis and metal-containing nanomaterials that can target cancerous tumours.Read full biography
Professor Nick Long holds the Sir Edward Frankland BP Endowed Chair in Inorganic Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry, Imperial College London, and has wide-ranging research experience in applied synthetic inorganic and organometallic chemistry. His research interests focus on transition metal and lanthanide chemistry for the synthesis of functional molecules, homogeneous catalysts and in recent years, probe design and novel methodologies for biomedical imaging. Professor Long has published 210 papers, including several high impact review articles and textbooks – 'Metallocenes' and 'The Chemistry of Molecular Imaging', holds several patents and has successfully graduated 48 PhD students from his research group.
Nick was awarded the 2006 RSC Prize in Organometallic Chemistry, was a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellow 2009/10 and in 2011, became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and was appointed to the Frankland Chair. In 2018, Nick was awarded a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit grant (2018–2022). He is also Deputy Director of the successful EPSRC King’s/Imperial Centre for Doctoral Training in Smart Medical Imaging (2013–2021, and renewed 2019–2027).
Who or what has inspired you?
I have been blessed with some superb mentors throughout my career. From Mr Ken Jones, my chemistry teacher at Rodway/Mangotsfield Comprehensive School in Bristol, to Professor Eddie Abel, my PhD supervisor at Exeter, and Professor, the Lord Jack Lewis, my Fellowship host at Cambridge, who all passed on so much passion, enthusiasm and wisdom, and for whom the phrase ‘gentlemen and scholars’ could not be more apt.
What motivates you?
I want to make a difference. That may be via mentorship and inspiration to the undergraduates, postgraduates and research fellows that I teach and supervise, or via my research findings having an impact on academia, industry, or society and the general public.
What is an exciting scientific development on the horizon?
The development of personalised medicine or healthcare. This has long been discussed but I think within the next 10–15 years, through a combination of chemistry, biology, imaging sciences and medicine, we will be able to discover how each one of our bodies works and what we need to stay healthy and live better lives.
What is your favourite element?
This always changes depending on the latest result! Currently it is manganese. With its wide range of chemistry and biological properties, I particularly like the fact that it is coming to the fore as a biocompatible MRI contrast agent, alongside being increasingly studied as a versatile radiotracer.