Professor Wilson was recently appointed Professor of Catalysis at RMIT, having previously held a prestigious Royal Society Industry Fellowship with Johnson Matthey.
Prior to moving to RMIT, she was Professor or Catalysis and Research Director at the European Bioenergy Research Institute, Aston University (2013-18), Reader in Physical Chemistry at the Cardiff Catalysis Institute, Cardiff University (2009-13) and Senior Lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry at the Department of Chemistry, University of York (1999-09). Karen previously undertook postdoctoral research in the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence at York with Professor James H Clark (1998-99) and at the University of Cambridge with Professor Richard M Lambert (1996-98).
Karen's research interests lie in the design of heterogeneous catalysts for clean chemical synthesis, particularly the design of tuneable porous materials for sustainable biofuels and chemicals production from renewable resources, specifically waste biomass (e.g. agricultural, food, forestry waste) in the production of fuels and chemicals. She has published >210 papers, and graduated >30 PhD and MSc students, and was founding director of the "Global Bioenergy, Biofuels and Biorefining Network: GB3-Net".
Current research activities
- Sustainable & Green Chemistry
- Surface chemistry, modification & analysis
- Bi-functional catalysts for production of platform chemicals and fuels from biomass
- Nano-porous hierarchical solid acid and base catalysts for biodiesel synthesis
- Mechanistic studies of hydrodeoxygenation of pyrolysis oil.
- Catalyst design for the selective conversion of fatty acids to fuels, surfactants or lubricants.
- Development of catalysts with tunable hydrophobicity
- Selective hydrogenation and oxidation reactions
- Photocatalytic water depollution
- Operando studies of working catalysts
Major awards and honours
- Director of Global Bioenergy, Biofuels and Biorefining Network: GB3-Net (2014-18)
- Royal Society Industry Fellowship (2011-2015)
- International advisor on Solid Waste Management and the Green Economy to the German National Academy of Sciences (2015).
- International advisor on Biofuels and Bioconversion to the German National Academy of Sciences (2010).
- Research of the Future Award 221st ACS National Meeting (San Diego, 2001).
- PhD, University of Cambridge, 1996
- MSc, University of Liverpool, 1993
- BA (Hons), University of Cambridge, 1992
- Lippi, R.,D'Angelo, A.,Li, C.,Wilson, K.,Lee. A., et al, . (2021). Unveiling the structural transitions during activation of a CO2 methanation catalyst Ru0/ZrO2 synthesised from a MOF precursor In: Catalysis Today, 368, 66 - 77
- Sekar, K.,Chuaicham, C.,Balijapalli, U.,Li, W.,Wilson, K.,Lee, A.,Sasaki, K. (2021). Surfactant- and template-free hydrothermal assembly of Cu2O visible light photocatalysts for trimethoprim degradation In: Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 284, 1 - 11
- Mehla, S.,Esmaiel Zadeh Kandjani, A.,Babarao, R.,Lee, A.,Periasamy, S.,Wilson, K.,Ramakrishna, S.,Bhargava, S. (2021). Porous crystalline frameworks for thermocatalytic CO2reduction: An emerging paradigm In: Energy and Environmental Science, 14, 320 - 352
- Saeidi, S.,Najari, S.,Hessel, V.,Wilson, K., et al, . (2021). Recent advances in CO2 hydrogenation to value-added products — Current challenges and future directions In: Progress in Energy and Combustion Science, 85, 1 - 64
- Arumugam, M.,Goh, C.,Zainal, Z.,Triwahyono, S.,Lee, A.,Wilson, K.,Taufiq-Yap, Y. (2021). Hierarchical hzsm-5 for catalytic cracking of oleic acid to biofuels In: Nanomaterials, 11, 1 - 11
- Isaacs, M.,Parlett, C.,Robinson, N.,Lamb, A.,Deshetti, J.,Wilson, K.,Lee, A., et al, . (2020). A spatially orthogonal hierarchically porous acid–base catalyst for cascade and antagonistic reactions In: Nature Catalysis, 3, 921 - 931
- Lamb, A.,Lee, A.,Wilson, K. (2020). Recent advances in heterogeneous catalyst design for biorefining In: Australian Journal of Chemistry, 73, 832 - 852
- Negahdar, L.,Parlett, C.,Isaacs, M.,Beale, A.,Wilson, K.,Lee, A. (2020). Shining light on the solid-liquid interface: In situ/operando monitoring of surface catalysis In: Catalysis Science and Technology, 10, 5362 - 5385
- Zhang, X.,Wang, Y.,Cai, J.,Wilson, K.,Lee, A. (2020). Bio/hydrochar Sorbents for Environmental Remediation In: Energy and Environmental Materials, 3, 453 - 468
- Shivhare, A.,Hunns, J.,Durndell, L.,Parlett, C.,Isaacs, M.,Lee, A.,Wilson, K. (2020). Metal-Acid Synergy: Hydrodeoxygenation of Anisole over Pt/Al-SBA-15 In: ChemSusChem, 13, 4945 - 4953
1 PhD Completions6 PhD Current Supervisions
- Revolutionary upcycling of landfill waste into hydrogen, fuels & materials. Funded by: CRC-P Cooperative Research Centre Project (Bioelektra) from (2021 to 2023)
- Multifunctional Platform for Chemical Manufacturing and Energy Materials. Funded by: ARC Linkage Infrastructure Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) Grant from (2021 to 2022)
- Nanoengineered catalysts for valorisation of waste derived pyrolysis oil (administered by UQld). Funded by: ARC Linkage Project Grants 2019 from (2021 to 2023)
- Aus. Std. Diesel from mixed plastics: Maximising recovery from waste. Funded by: Cooperative Research Centre Project (CRC-P) - NOR from (2020 to 2023)
- Nanostructured solid acid catalysts for sustainable chemical manufacturing. Funded by: ARC Discovery Projects 2020 from (2020 to 2023)