James Wilton-Ely joined Imperial in 2009 after leading research groups at the University of Oxford and UCL. He currently holds the position of Professor of Inorganic Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry at Imperial College. He has extensive experience in coordination and organometallic chemistry of metals from groups 8-11 and their use in catalysis. In 2021, he received the Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Current research focuses on topics as diverse as catalysis using recovered metals and the immobilisation of metal units on gold nanomaterials. These materials address applications in catalysis, bioimaging (targeted MRI contrast agents, PET radiotracers, fluorogenic CO detection) and sensing (mainly of carbon monoxide). The group has also worked on the dissolution of biomass in ionic liquids and subsequent conversion into platform chemicals with Prof. Jason Hallett (Imperial Chemical Engineering).
Further details of this research and other topics under investigation can be found on the group's website. The JW-E group has expanded in order to explore these projects and we are always interested to hear from prospective PDRA, PhD, MRes, MSci and BSc researchers (further details on the group website). We have been successful in supporting students applying to the CSC-Imperial, President's PhD Scholarship and Commonwealth Scholarship programmes and would like to hear from potential candidates.
Professor Wilton-Ely directed the MRes Green Chemistry Programme for 12 years (2010-22) and is Founder and former Co-Director of the MRes in Catalysis and the MRes in Advanced Molecular Synthesis. He has held the positions of Director of MRes Studies (2016-19) and Director of Postgraduate Studies (2019-22) in the Department of Chemistry, where he is now EDI Co-Director. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) and a Chartered Chemist (CChem). Research Metrics: 108 Publications, h-index of 38 [Google Scholar].
Recent research highlights
Sensing in biological environments in Angewandte Chemie and JACS:
Simultaneous detection of carbon monoxide and viscosity changes in cells
Ex Vivo tracking of endogenous CO with a ruthenium(II) complex
Combined imaging and therapy (theranostics) in Chemistry - A European Journal:
Combined magnetic resonance imaging and photodynamic therapy using polyfunctionalised nanoparticles bearing robust gadolinium surface units
Recovery and re-use of metals from waste (in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering and Green Chemistry):
Homogeneous Gold Catalysis Using Complexes Recovered from Waste Electronic Equipment (featured in articles on Imperial College webpage, globalhealthnewswire.com, Azocleantech News and Digital Trends, Popular Science magazine, Times of India, Al Jazeera [arabic], AAAS EurekaAlert!)
From recovered metal waste to high-performance palladium catalysts
Transformation of biomass to platform chemicals (in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering):
Efficient formation of DFF in ionic liquids at high substrate loadings and low oxygen pressure with separation through sublimation
McCarthy S, Braddock D, Wilton-Ely J, 2021, Strategies for sustainable palladium catalysis, Coordination Chemistry Reviews, Vol:442, ISSN:0010-8545, Pages:1-26
Al Ghatta A, Wilton-Ely J, Hallett J, 2021, From sugars to FDCA: A techno-economic assessment using a design concept based on solvent selection and carbon dioxide emissions, Green Chemistry, Vol:23, ISSN:1463-9262, Pages:1716-1733
et al., 2020, Simultaneous detection of carbon monoxide and viscosity changes in cells, Angewandte Chemie - International Edition, Vol:59, ISSN:1433-7851, Pages:21431-21435
Perry H, Botnar R, Wilton-Ely J, 2020, Gold nanomaterials functionalised with gadolinium chelates and their application in multimodal imaging and therapy, Chemical Communications, Vol:56, ISSN:1359-7345, Pages:4037-4046
et al., 2020, Combined magnetic resonance imaging and photodynamic therapy using polyfunctionalised nanoparticles bearing robust gadolinium surface units, Chemistry - A European Journal, Vol:26, ISSN:0947-6539, Pages:4552-4566
Al Ghatta A, Wilton-Ely J, Hallett J, 2019, Rapid, high‐yield fructose dehydration to HMF in mixtures of water and the non‐coordinating Ionic Liquid [bmim][OTf], Chemsuschem, Vol:12, ISSN:1864-5631, Pages:4452-4460
et al., 2019, Polyfunctionalised nanoparticles bearing robust gadolinium surface units for high relaxivity performance in MRI, Chemistry - A European Journal, Vol:25, ISSN:0947-6539, Pages:10895-10906
et al., 2017, Ex vivo tracking of endogenous CO with a ruthenium(II) complex, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Vol:139, ISSN:1520-5126, Pages:18484-18487
et al., 2017, From recovered metal waste to high-performance palladium catalysts, Green Chemistry, Vol:19, ISSN:1463-9262, Pages:5846-5853
et al., 2014, A Chromo-fluorogenic synthetic "Canary" for CO detection based on a Pyrenylvinyl Ruthenium(II) complex, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Vol:136, ISSN:0002-7863, Pages:11930-11933