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Project Partners

Current Members

Professor James Clark

Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence, University of York

Leading Principal Investigator

james clark

Professor James Clark is Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence at the University of York (UK) (GCC). The GCC is a world-leading research, education and networking institution that specialises in the development and application of green chemical technologies with special interest in exploiting the chemical potential of biomass. James Clark is internationally known for his work on green chemistry and its application to biorefineries.  He leads a team of about 80 postgraduate researchers, academic, scientific and support staff with a current grants portfolio of over £5M and on-going collaborations with numerous companies including Boots, GSK, PQ corporation, B&Q, InterfaceFlor, Contract Chemicals, Armstrong World, National Starch, Unilever, and Brocklesby-Double Green. He was the founding editor of the worlds leading journal on sustainable chemistry “Green Chemistry”, and is President of the largest private membership network on green chemistry.  He is the recipient of a wide range of distinctions, including; the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Environment Prize, Society of Chemical Industry Environment Medal, Royal Academy of Engineering Clean Technology Fellowship, Fellowship of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Royal Society of Arts Better Environment Award, European Better Environment Award, Prince of Wales award for Innovation. He has over 400 publications including, 12 books as author or editor and 18 patents.

Dr Andrew Hunt

Khon Kaen University

andy hunt


Dr Christopher Anderson

Massey University

Chris Massey

Dr Christopher Anderson (Chris) holds business and academic positions in several countries. He works at the interface of science, technology, community development and business to promote agricultural development in mining communities. Chris completed his PhD at Massey University in New Zealand. During his doctoral research he developed the concept of gold phytomining, and went on to establish the first company in the world offering commercial gold phytomining services. Today Chris is involved with phytomining and large scale environmental impact assessment and remediation projects in China, Indonesia, Africa and Europe. He works with the Government of Indonesia and international donors on the issues of pollution and mining efficiency at artisanal and small-scale gold mines. He actively seeks opportunities for in-country entrepreneurs to create wealth from innovative biomass technologies.


Dr Rob McElroy

Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence, University of York

Rob McElroy

Dr Rob McElroy manages RenewChem, a non-competitive club of SMEs through to large multinationals strengthening their ties to the University and investing in research and education in a circular economy ethos. Through this he co-supervisors a number of Ph.Ds and manages pathfinder projects in a number of research  areas including solvent synthesis and application, natural product extraction and purification, polymer synthesis, heterogeneous catalysis on carbonaceous supports and dialkyl carbonate chemistry. Previous to this he has had a number of postdocs in fields that relate to his current research interests.




Dr Liz Rylott

Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP), University of York

Liz Rylott

Dr Liz Rylott is a Senior Post Doctoral Researcher in the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products, within the Department of Biology at the University of York, UK (  Her research is focused on understanding the genetic mechanisms involved in the stress responses, and detoxification, of inorganic and organic pollutants. She has studied a range of environmental pollutants including: metals (nickel, gold, palladium), explosive compounds (TNT and RDX), herbicides and halogenated aliphatic compounds. Key components of this research include the use of genetic modification and synthetic biology technologies to develop plants for the phytoremediation of organic xenobiotics and metal phytoextraction. Much of this work is conducted in Arabidopsis, a model plant for molecular biology research, and laboratory and glasshouse based experiments. Her more recent studies are now also using commercially applicable species such as switchgrass, willow and miscanthus in glasshouse and field trials.


Professor Neil Bruce

Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP), University of York

Neil Bruce

Professor Neil Bruce is the Chair of Biotechnology in CNAP. His work includes plant and microbial metabolism of xenobiotic compounds with a particular focus on enzyme discovery for environmental and industrial biotechnology applications. He has been continuously funded by the US DoD for over 15 years for his internationally leading work on phytoremediation of explosives. His work on the biodegradation of explosives has also been supported by longstanding research collaborations with the Dstl of the UK MoD.  He coordinated the Marie Curie ITNs ‘CHEMCELL’ and ‘P4FIFTY and his work on enzyme discovery for lignocellulose degradation has resulted in joint BBSRC/FAPESP, BBSRC/MoHe and BBSRC/DBT grants with collaborators in Brazil, Malaysia and India, respectively. He has a track record of collaborating with Industry and has recently been funded by Shell, GSK and Merck. His total research income over the last 10 years has been >£12M. He was a co-founder of Bioniqs Ltd, a University spin-out company established to commercialise his BBSRC funded work on ionic liquids. He has a strong publication record and routinely publishes in high impact journals including Science, Nature Biotechnology, Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, PNAS, ISME Journal, JACS and Agnew Chemie.


Professor Mark Waterland

Massey University

Professor Keith Gordon

University of Otago

Keith Gordon

Professor Keith Gordon received his BSc Hons (First Class) in 1986 and PhD in 1989 in chemistry from Queens University, Belfast, UK. His PhD research, under the direction of Professor John J McGarvey, focused on laser spectroscopy of solar energy compounds. He was awarded a Director’s Fellowship at Los Alamos National Laboratories, USA, and worked with Professor W H Woodruff from 1989 – 1992 on ultrafast laser spectroscopy of biological systems and solar energy materials. In 1993 Keith took up a lecturing post in the Chemistry Department at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, becoming Professor in 2009 in that department. Keith was President of the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry in 2006 and is a founding Principal Investigator in the Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE) MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology. He is also a founding Principal Investigator for the Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies CoRE and an Associate Investigator in the Riddet Institute CoRE. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand (FRSNZ), the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC CChem) and the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry (FNZIC). He has published over 280 papers that range from analytical spectroscopy through to design of new electronic materials.

Dr Scott Dunbar

University of British Columbia


Past Members

Professor Thomas Graedel

Yale University

thomas graedel

Professor Thomas Graedel is Professor of Industrial Ecology in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University. His academic focus is centered on developing and enhancing industrial ecology, the organizing framework for the study of the interactions of the modern technological society with the environment. His textbook, Industrial Ecology, coauthored with B. R. Allenby, was the first book in the field and is now in its third edition. It, and Graedel’s 2004 textbook Greening the Industrial Facility, are used for courses of the same names at Yale University and elsewhere. Overall, he has published 15 books and more than 350 research papers, and his citation record is in the top 1/3 of 1% of active scientists. His current research topics include studies of the flows of materials within the industrial ecosystem, and of evaluating the criticality of metals. He is a member of the UNEP International Resource Panel, and Chair of the U.S. National Research Council committee on Sustainability Linkages in the Federal Government. He was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering for “outstanding contributions to the theory and practice of industrial ecology, 2002.”


Dr John Meech

University of British Columbia

john meech

John Meech is Director of CERM3 (Centre for Environmental Research in Minerals, Metals, and Materials) at the University of British Columbia, founded in 2000 from support grants from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the BC Knowledge Development Fund, and Stewart Blusson. CERM3 has conducted over 40 major projects on environmental remediation and sustainable communities. Of particular note in 2001 a plug was installed in the 2200 Level adit of the derelict Britannia Mine site 40km north of Vancouver which at the time was North America's worst metal-pollution site. This plug eliminated all ARD (acid rock drainage) discharge into Britannia Creek. The creek pH increased to 6.5 and levels of copper, zinc, and iron declined by 3-orders of magnitude. This past fall, photographs of adult pink salmon 4 km upstream of the creek mouth have appeared in press reports. Two projects of direct interest to this proposal studied up-take of mercury and gold by plants from tailings and a spent heap leach operation in Brazil. Several species were found to have selectivity towards gold over other metals. Recoveries in pilot trials ranged from 10-15% with concentration ratios of 67:1. Significant beneficiation of mercury was also achieved. Other projects include high-technology applications such as remote-monitoring of mine sites; and increased energy efficiency in comminution processes.


Dr Helen Parker

Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence, University of York


Professor Mark Hodson

Environment Department, University of York

helen parker

Helen gained a PhD in Green Chemistry at the University of York. She is working as the Postdoctoral Research Assistant on the Phytocat project carrying out characterisation and applications for the materials produced during the project

  mark hodson

Mark is a low temperature mineralogist and geochemist. He was appointed Anniversary chair in York in 2012. Before this Mark was at the University of Reading where he founded the Soil Research Centre. He will be assisting the project as soil science advisor.


Nedal Nassar

Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Yale University


Zakuan Azizi Shamsul Harumain

CNAP, University of York

nedal nassar

Nedal is a PhD student at Yale University working with Thomas Graedel. Prior to Yale he worked as an environmental consultant and process engineer. His contributions to the project include investigating global stocks and flows of PGM’s and developing LCA of the PHYTOCAT process.


Zakuan gained a MSc. In Environmental Biotechnology at the University of Putra Malaysia. He is now studying for a PhD with Prof. Neil Bruce’s group at University of York on a project entitled “The genetics behind platinum group uptake by plants.