The group 2019-20

Post-doctoral researchers

Mattia Manzotti


I graduated in 2014 with a MSci degree in Chemistry at the Università degli Studi di Milano, with my final year research project focussing on the organic synthesis of anticancer agents. In 2015, I enrolled in the Centre for Doctoral Training programme in Catalysis based across Cardiff, Bristol and Bath Universities, and in 2016 I started my PhD at the University of Bristol under the supervision of Prof Robin Bedford, where I was investigating the mechanism of iron- and cobalt-catalysed Suzuki biaryl cross-coupling reactions. Currently I am part of the Bedford group as a Postdoctoral Research Associate, working on the development of homogeneous catalytic systems for polymerisation reactions.

Roberto Nolla Saltiel


In 2013, I obtained my BSc. Chemistry degree from UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico). During my research project, I focused on the study of new catalytic and stoichiometric reactions, mediated by Group 11 metal complexes (Gold and Silver). Following this, I joined Prof. Deborah Kays’ research group (University of Nottingham), where I carried out an MRes. (2014) and subsequently a PhD (2016). My primary interests during my postgraduate studies, included the stabilisation of highly reactive, low-coordinate metal centres. With particular attention towards new processes catalysed by environmentally benign and highly abundant elements. Examples of this, include use of Group 1 species in dehydrocoupling of amine-boranes, and the selective hydrophosphination of activated alkenes by first row transition-metal complexes. Following completion of my PhD, in 2019 I joined the Bedford Group, as a Postdoctoral Research Associate (CatHub). Where I study new synthetic strategies towards C-C bond formation, catalysed by d-block elements, with parallel interest in small molecule activation.

Postgraduate students

Sanita Tailor 


I graduated from the University of Bristol with a MSci degree in Chemistry in June 2016. During my undergraduate degree, I studied abroad at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I worked on copper-catalysed, stereoselective borylation reactions in Professor Meek’s group. In June 2015. I received an EPSRC bursary to carry out a summer project in the field of palladium-catalysed C-H activation. For my final year undergraduate project, I joined the Bedford group where I synthesised organoiron complexes relevant to mechanistic studies of iron-catalysed Kumada coupling reactions. I began my PhD in 2016, which currently focuses on the development of the methodology of cobalt-catalysed Suzuki-Miyaura cross-coupling, as well as mechanistic investigations. During my PhD, through the JSPS Summer Program fellowship, I have had the opportunity to explore enantioselective iron-catalysed cross-coupling reactions in Professor Nakamura’s group at Kyoto University.    

Harry Wilkinson


I carried out my undergraduate studies at Imperial College London, graduating in 2017. My MSci project was supervised by Dr. Andrew Ashley and worked on investigating the catalytic silylation of dinitrogen, and the mechanism of ammonia production, on an Iron catalyst. I started my PhD in the Bedford group in 2017 investigating multinuclear iron clusters and their utility for small molecule activation. Outside of the lab, my interests include playing bass, guitar, and drums, going to live music gigs, bouldering, and going to the gym.

Ben Rowsell


I graduated from the University of Birmingham in 2017, where I undertook a masters project with Professor Simpkins which involved working on the synthesis of organic cores seen in a range of natural products. As part of my undergraduate degree I also spent a year studying at the University of Maryland. In the summer of 2016, I received an RSC bursary to complete a summer research placement, working with Dr. Grainger at the University of Birmingham. After graduating, I joined the Bristol Chemical Synthesis CDT, where I later joined the Bedford group to study for my PhD. I am currently researching iron-catalysed cross-coupling reactions and their mechanism. In my spare time I enjoy sports including football, rugby and cycling. I also enjoy cooking food from around the world, music and film.

Isaac Haig

Michael Canning


I graduated from the University of Bristol in September 2019 with an Msci in chemistry. During my final year project, I worked with Professor Dek Woolfson on design of a de novo heterotrimeric coiled coil protein. Following this I rejoined the University of Bristol through the functional nanomaterials CDT. I joined the Bedford group to work with Anaphite on the development of photocatalysts supported on graphene. Outside of the lab my interests include figure skating, musical theatre and drag.

Joe Heeley


I graduated from the University of Leeds in 2019. I completed a summer project working on fragment decoration for fragment-based drug discovery under the supervision of Prof. Adam Nelson, before progressing to work with Prof. Steve Marsden on the catalytic synthesis of tetrahydroquinolines for my final year project. I joined the University of Bristol in 2019 as part of the Technology Enhances Chemical Synthesis CDT and subsequently joined the Bedford group where I am researching methods for regioselectivity in heteroaromatic CH bond functionalisation. I also enjoy playing and listening to music, reading and film.