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Ed Greenough

Project Overview

Our comprehension of the ways in which ultraviolet (UV) radiation is processed by biologically relevant molecules has become an important aim of time-resolved spectroscopy. I use transient absorption spectroscopy to study biological molecules to address two questions:

  1. Why Nature has chosen a set of building blocks (amino acids) that have an apparent intrinsic stability under UV radiation (sunlight)?
  2. How we can develop photo-initiated prodrugs that are more powerful and have lesser side effects than the currently used medications?


In the Stavros Group we are applying knowledge garnered in the gas phase through experiments on key biologically important motifs, such as phenol (tyrosine chromophore), toward understanding the importance and degree to which surrounding molecules play a role in the photostability of Nature's building blocks of life.

We are now also studying photoactivated anticancer metal-complex prodrugs, in collaboration with the Sadler Group here at Warwick, with the aim to provide key insight into the mechanism by which these drugs operate. This understanding will help in the design and synthesis of more efficacious drugs.

Transient Absorption Spectroscopy

In the Stavros lab we have an ultrafast UV-pump/visible-probe spectroscopy setup that can measure the excited state visible absorption of a sample following excitation with UV light, with a time resolution of <100 fs (femtosecond = 10-15 s) at pump-probe delays up to a few nanoseconds. Details of the setup may be found here.


For an excellent explanation of the technique watch this!


Contact Details

Telephone: +44(0)2476151013

Email: s dot e dot greenough at warwick dot ac dot uk

Office: E0.11a

Lab: E0.19

Selected Publications

Two-photon-activated ligand exchange in
platinum(II) complexes

TPA Pt Complex TOC

Y. Zhao , G. M. Roberts, S. E. Greenough, N. J. Farrer, M. J. Paterson, W. H. Powell, V. G. Stavros and P. J. Sadler, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 51, 2012, 11263

Solvent induced conformer specific photochemistry of guaiacol

 Guaiacol PCCP  TOC

S. E. Greenough, M. D. Horbury, J. O. F. Thompson, G. M. Roberts, T. N. V. Karsili, B. Marchetti, D. Townsend and V. G. Stavros, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 16, 2014, 16187

Ultrafast photo-induced ligand solvolysis of cis-[Ru(bipyridine)2(nicotinamide)2]2+: experimental
and theoretical insight into its photoactivation

c4cp90122c.jpg S. E. Greenough, G. M. Roberts, N. A. Smith, M. D. Horbury, R. G. Mckinlay, J. M. Zurek, M. J. Paterson, P. J. Sadler and V. G. Stavros, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 16, 2014, 19141