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
- Ainembabazi, D.,An, N.,Manayil, J.,Wilson, K.,Lee, A.,Voutchkova-Kostal, A. (2019). Acceptorless Amine Dehydrogenation and Transamination Using Pd-Doped Hydrotalcites In: ACS Catalysis, 9, 1055 - 1065
- Baharudin, K.,Taufiq-Yap, Y.,Hunns, J.,Isaacs, M.,Wilson, K.,Derawi, D. (2019). Mesoporous NiO/Al-SBA-15 catalysts for solvent-free deoxygenation of palm fatty acid distillate In: Microporous and Mesoporous Materials, 276, 13 - 22
- Manayil, J.,Lee, A.,Wilson, K. (2019). Functionalized periodic mesoporous organosilicas: Tunable hydrophobic solid acids for biomass conversion In: Molecules, 24, 1 - 25
- Friedmann, D.,Lee, A.,Wilson, K.,Jalili, A.,Caruso, R. (2019). Printing approaches to inorganic semiconductor photocatalyst fabrication In: Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 7, 10858 - 10878
- Tajuddin, N.,Manayil, J.,Isaacs, M.,Parlett, C.,Lee, A.,Wilson, K. (2019). Alkali-Free Zn-Al Layered Double Hydroxide Catalysts For Triglyceride Transesterification In: Catalysts, 8, 1 - 11
- Isaacs, M.,Robinson, N.,Barbero, B.,Durndell, L.,Manayil, J.,Parlett, C.,D'Agostino, C.,Wilson, K.,Lee, A. (2019). Unravelling mass transport in hierarchically porous catalysts In: Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 7, 11814 - 11825
- Durndell, L.,Isaacs, M.,Li, C.,Parlett, C.,Wilson, K.,Lee, A. (2019). Cascade aerobic selective oxidation over contiguous dual catalyst beds in continuous flow In: ACS Catalysis, 9, 5345 - 5352
- Durndell, L.,Cucuzzella, C.,Parlett, C.,Isaacs, M.,Wilson, K.,Lee, A. (2019). Platinum catalysed aerobic selective oxidation of cinnamaldehyde to cinnamic acid In: Catalysis Today, 333, 161 - 168
- Song, Y.,Mobley, J.,Motagamwala, A.,Isaacs, M.,Dumesic, J.,Ralph, J.,Lee, A.,Wilson, K.,Crocker, M. (2018). Gold-catalyzed conversion of lignin to low molecular weight aromatics In: Chemical Science, 9, 8127 - 8133
- Zhao, Z.,Chong, K.,Jiang, J.,Wilson, K.,Zhang, X.,Wang, F. (2018). Low-carbon roadmap of chemical production: A case study of ethylene in China In: Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 97, 580 - 591
- 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 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Cofund from (2017 to 2022)
1 PhD Current Supervisions