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Professor Helen Sneddon

01904 322840


Helen Sneddon is Professor of Sustainable Chemistry and Director of the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence (GCCE) – a leading international academic facility for the provision of excellence in green and sustainable chemical technologies, processes and products.


Sustainable Synthesis  

Helping chemists choose the “greenest” conditions for a given transformation. How do we know which conditions are better? This includes a comparison of metrics, use of statistical methods, for example, Design of Experiments (DoE) to scope reaction space, and the development and application of solvent and reagent selection guides.  This work seeks to overcome years of precedent as to what are the default conditions for common transformations.  It is easy for precedence to build simply because of previous publication, and defaults in many cases did not arise through proper optimisation of what was available at the time, far less take new solvents, reagents or technologies into account.

A. Jordan, K. D. Whymark, J. Sydenham and H. F. Sneddon, Green Chem., 2021, 23, 6405-6413


Are Carbon-halogen bonds always necessary?  When they are, how can they be installed as sustainably as possible? Can we improve design for degradation? Of the top 200 best selling drugs in 2020, 47 contain halogens, showing their current important role.


Group members

Helen Sneddon Group Members

Thomas Bark

I work under the day to day supervision of Hannah Chapman. My project is on making analogues of trifluomethylpyridine containing agrochemicals.




Elsa Brudy Rigollet 

I am a French postgraduate doing a 9-months internship under the supervision of Professor Helen Sneddon and Dr Kirsten Hawkins. My project consists of bio-based polyester ionomer production. My research involves bio-based monomers syntheses and polymerization. I am currently in third year at the chemistry department of the ENS Paris-Saclay. I graduated a double bachelor's degree physic-chemistry from Paris-Saclay university in 2022 after intensive two-year study course preparing for the competitive entrance examinations to the French 'Grandes Ecoles' in Louis-le-Grand. I have a deep interest in Green Chemistry which fits with my ecological beliefs.

Hannah Chapman

I am a PhD student working with Professor Helen Sneddon and Professor Ian Fairlamb to explore potential trifluoromethyl bioisosteres using agrochemically relevant trifluoromethyl pyridines. My research involves working alongside Syngenta to synthesize a wide library of trifluoromethyl bioisosteres to be assessed in terms of calculated and measured properties to investigate any possible trends that may result in bioactivity. In my free time I also like to play softball and baseball for the University or go for hikes in the countryside. 

Ben Coles

I’m a PhD student working under the joint supervision of Professor Helen Sneddon and Dr Anne Routledge. My research project in looking at the use of propylene carbonate-based solvent systems for solid-phase peptide synthesis. I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Glasgow. This was then followed by a master’s degree at the University of Edinburgh, during which I undertook a project in the Lawrence Group, under the supervision of Dr David Jones, investigating the generation of phosphorus-stereogenic centres.

Emma Dux

I am part of the technical team for the GCCE, and provide support to the group.





Megan Goss

I am a PhD student supervised by Professor Helen Sneddon and Professor Avtar Matharu, sponsored by Syngenta. My research is developing renewable co-formulant feedstocks from biomass sources, which involves a range of synthetic chemistry and knowledge of biomass-derivable molecules. I completed my MChem at York in 2023, with my final year project supervised by Professor Sneddon, working on greener methodologies for deoxychlorination reactions. In my free time, I enjoy trampolining and crocheting (especially chemistry themed items).

Kirsten Hawkins

I am a PDRA working with Professor Helen Sneddon on the prosperity partnership. My research involves the synthesis of lactone monomers for sustainable polymers. I studied for my undergraduate degree (MChem) at the University of Reading before carrying out my PhD at the University of York in prebiotic chemistry under the supervision of Professor David K Smith and Professor Paul A Clarke, where I developed a novel two-component hydrogel. I briefly took up a PDRA role at UCL looking at liposomal delivery for treatment and theragnostic of acute myeloid leukaemia under Professor Alethea Tabor. I moved back up to the University of York in 2021 joining Dr Thomas Farmer in the development of Furan Surfactants.

William Heamen

I am a PhD student supervised by Professor Helen Sneddon and Dr Seishi Shimizu. I am working towards developing safer alternatives for acetonitrile, methanol, pyridine, and trimethylpentane. Currently, my work has a particular physical chemistry focus on adsorption isotherms and their modelling to better understand HPLC solvents. I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of York within the Green chemistry group studying deep eutectic solvents under the supervision of Dr Seishi Shimizu.

Harry Maslen

I am a 3rd year PhD student working on a project entitled “Bio-based coalescing aids for paints and coatings”, funded by Synthomer. It involves synthesising compounds that are effective coalescents for paints and can theoretically be produced from biomass. As an industry-funded project it is important that the syntheses are green, efficient, and can be scaled-up.