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
- Alotaibi, M.,Manayil, J.,Greenway, G.,Haswell, S.,Kelly, S.,Lee, A.,Wilson, K.,Kyriakou, G. (2018). Lipase immobilised on silica monoliths as continuous-flow microreactors for triglyceride transesterification In: Reaction Chemistry & Engineering, 3, 68 - 74
- Trofimovaite, R.,Parlett, C.,Kumar, S.,Frattini, L.,Isaacs, M.,Wilson, K.,Olivi, L.,Coulson, B.,Debgupta, J.,Douthwaite, R.,Lee, A. (2018). Single atom Cu(I) promoted mesoporous titanias for photocatalytic methyl orange depollution and H2 production In: Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 232, 501 - 511
- Kumar, S.,Durndell, L.,Manayil, J.,Isaacs, M.,Parlett, C.,Karthikeyan, S.,Douthwaite, R.,Coulson, B.,Wilson, K.,Lee, A. (2018). Delaminated CoAl-layered double hydroxide@TiO2 heterojunction nanocomposites for photocatalytic reduction of CO2 In: Particle and Particle Systems Characterization, 35, 1 - 11
- Ponnuru, K.,Manayil, J.,Cho, H.,Fan, W.,Wilson, K.,Jentoft, F. (2018). Intraparticle diffusional versus site effects on reaction pathways in liquid-phase cross aldol reactions In: ChemPhysChem, 19, 386 - 401
- Jiang, B.,Zhou, K.,Wang, C.,Sun, Q.,Yin, G.,Tai, Z.,Wilson, K.,Zhao, J.,Zhang, L. (2018). Label-free glucose biosensor based on enzymatic graphene oxide-functionalized tilted fiber grating In: Sensors and Actuators, B: Chemical, 254, 1033 - 1039
- Gardy, J.,Osatiashtiani, A.,Cespedes, O.,Hassanpour, A.,Lai, X.,Lee, A.,Wilson, K.,Rehan, M. (2018). A magnetically separable SO4/Fe-Al-TiO(2 )solid acid catalyst for biodiesel production from waste cooking oil In: Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 234, 268 - 278
- Pirez, C.,Morin, J.,Manayil, J.,Lee, A.,Wilson, K. (2018). Sol-gel synthesis of SBA-15: Impact of HCl on surface chemistry In: Microporous and Mesoporous Materials, 271, 196 - 202
- Escalera-L�pez, D.,Niu, Y.,Park, S.,Isaacs, M.,Wilson, K.,Palmer, R.,Rees, N. (2018). Hydrogen evolution enhancement of ultra-low loading, size-selected molybdenum sulfide nanoclusters by sulfur enrichment In: Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 235, 84 - 91
- Liakakou, E.,Isaacs, M.,Wilson, K.,Lee, A.,Heracleous, E. (2017). On the Mn promoted synthesis of higher alcohols over Cu derived ternary catalysts In: Catalysis Science and Technology, 7, 988 - 999
- Escalera-L�pez, D.,Griffin, R.,Isaacs, M.,Wilson, K.,Palmer, R.,Rees, N. (2017). Electrochemical sulfidation of WS2 nanoarrays: Strong dependence of hydrogen evolution activity on transition metal sulfide surface composition In: Electrochemistry Communications, 81, 106 - 111
- GOT ENERGY TALENT: Attracting Talented Researchers within the Spanish Campus of International Excellence �Smart Energy� and the region of Madrid (administered by Universidad de Alcal�, Spain). Funded by: Horizon 2020 Grant - 2018 onwards from (2017 to 2022)