Department staff

Dr Stephen Butler

Photo of Dr Stephen Butler

Lecturer in Organic Chemistry

Stephen J. Butler studied undergraduate Chemistry at Warwick University, finishing top of his year in 2004. After a brief spell in the polymer industry, he migrated to Sydney and studied a PhD with Prof. Katrina Jolliffe, funded by a prestigious Sydney University International Scholarship. This work focused on molecular recognition using synthetic cyclic peptides.

Following the award of his PhD in 2010, he undertook postdoctoral work with Prof. Richard Payne, studying chemokine interactions using peptide-based probes. He then returned to the UK to work with Prof. David Parker FRS, creating highly emissive lanthanide complexes for bioactive analyses.

In 2013 he was awarded a Ramsay Memorial Fellowship to develop fluorescent probes for the detection of biologically important anions. Stephen was appointed as Lecturer in Organic Chemistry at Loughborough University in June 2015. His research interests are in the synthesis of designed molecules, capable of sensing biological substrates.

Research in my group is focussed on the rational design and synthesis of functional molecules that can bind and detect biologically important substrates. We are particularly interested in developing luminescent molecular sensors for the detection of bioactive anions, such as adenosine triphosphate (ATP), phosphorylated peptides and proteins, and anionic pollutants (e.g. fluoride). A major goal is to create molecules with real-world applications. For example, we seek to develop luminescent sensors that can monitor phosphorylation events within cells; this could facilitate the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic agents, for the treatment of diseases such as cancer. Projects are multidisciplinary in nature, encompassing organic synthesis, molecular recognition, fluorescence spectroscopy and optical imaging.

Research Keywords

  • Organic Synthesis
  • Host-Guest Recognition
  • Supramolecular Chemistry
  • Fluorescent Sensors and Probes

Research Opportunities

We are seeking postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers eager to conduct research in the areas of molecular design and synthesis, and analysis of host-guest interactions. Fully-funded positions will be advertised here when available. Researchers and students with their own funding for postgraduate research are welcome to email Stephen directly.