Professor Vasilios Stavros FRSC
Winner: 2022 Faraday Division mid-career Award: Bourke-Liversidge Award
University of Warwick
For contributions to gas, solution, and condensed-phase spectroscopy spanning both fundamental and applied aspects.
Celebrate Professor Vasilios Stavros
Professor Stavros “zaps molecules” found in nature with laser light and studies how these molecules deal with the potentially harmful ultraviolet radiation they have been exposed to. The insight we gain from these studies is far-reaching: from helping us understand why nature has chosen certain molecular building blocks (DNA bases, for example) to designing next generation ultraviolet radiation filters for use in sunscreens.Read winner biography
Vasilios Stavros is Professor of Chemistry at the University of Warwick. He grew up in North London and attended Fortismere School in Muswell Hill (apparently there are some famous pop icons that graduated from Fortismere). After his A-levels, he studied chemical sciences at King College London, remaining there for 10 years to do his degree, PhD and then postdoctoral studies. He then moved to California, working at the University of California, Berkeley, for three years.
At Berkeley, Professor Stavros developed a fascination for femtosecond lasers and how they can be applied to study fundamental molecular processes. He returned to the UK and began his independent research, funded by a Royal Society University Research Fellowship.
His group’s research focuses on studying photoprotection mechanisms in molecules found in everyday life, including in skin, plants, algae, suncreams, paints and many more. In his spare time, he enjoys running, martial arts and building ponds.
How did you first become interested in chemistry?
I can't really pin point an exact time. I simply found chemistry enjoyable and lots of fun (but hard work)!
Who or what has inspired you?
I am inspired by people who work hard to better themselves and the people around them. In the early years, it was my parents; now it’s my wife.
What motivates you?
Curiosity is certainly up there. Also, inquisitive minds. There is NEVER a dull day in my lab. Thank you, Team Stavros.
What has been a highlight for you (either personally or in your career)?
The birth of my son four years ago has taught me an enormous amount about time management, which has impacted both my personal life and career in the best way possible!
What does good research culture look like/mean to you?
Having fun in the lab. Happiness is the key fuel. What is the point of doing research if you are not going to enjoy it?
Why do you think teamwork is important in science?
Two hands are always better than one! I believe working with people with different expertise/skills set makes breakthrough science easier!