Dr Sara Gilks

Biography and previous work

I obtained an integrated masters (MSci) with 1st class honours in Forensic and Analytical Chemistry from the University of Huddersfield in 2009. My final year project involved the synthesis of a rhenium based ‘turn on’ fluorescent sensor for nitric oxide detection. The project covered organic and inorganic synthesis, use of purification columns and characterisation techniques such as fluorescence spectroscopy, NMR and single crystal X-ray diffraction.

Following on from this, I joined the University of Manchester, Department of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Sciences working towards a PhD industrially funded by Sanofi Aventis. My project focused on chiral resolution by preferential crystallization where a novel separation process was developed using emulsions, tailor-made and designed around the properties of each target molecule. Other aspects of my research involved exploring polymorphism in pharmaceutical materials, solubility studies and in-depth solid state characterizations of various organic materials using a variety of analytical techniques including XRD, DSC, FTIR, Polarimetry and Microscopy.

Current Work

I joined the University of Sheffield in March 2014 as a Post Doctoral Research Associate within the Natural Materials Group working with Dr Chris Hollandhttp://www.sheffield.ac.uk/materials/staff/cholland and Dr Pete Laity https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/materials/staff/research/research-associates/laityp to investigate the effects of external stress fields on silk extracted from spiders and silkworms. Personal Interests: In my spare time I carry out the role of a voluntary police officer (special constable). To date I have been awarded two Divisional Commanders Commendations for outstanding work and contribution to policing.

Personal interests

I like discovering cultures and people and travel is a huge part of that. As a gourmet and a chemist, I obviously love cooking.