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Biography Alaa Elbetany is an academic and industrial researcher with a PhD in synthetic organic materials and polymer chemistry, which he obtained in 2011 under the supervision of Professor Neil B. McKeown at Cardiff University. After completing his PhD, he pursued his research career by undertaking various research visitor and postdoctoral positions. During this time, he worked with Dr Hongyun Tai at Bangor University to explore controlled living polymerization techniques, with Professor Graham Hutchings at Cardiff Catalysis Institute at Cardiff University to investigate heterogeneous catalysis, and with Professor Andy Cooper at the University of Liverpool to delve into porous organic cage materials.

After spending three years working in the industry with many global companies through Open Innovation Platforms, Alaa gained valuable experience in scientific consultations and knowledge exchange. In addition, he was involved in various interdisciplinary R&D projects and developed new polymer formulations currently used in the market. In 2018, Alaa returned to academia as a Wellcome Trust ISSF Research Fellow and collaborated with Professors Mark Gumbleton and Keith Harding at Cardiff University, in addition to receiving competitive grants and awards from MIT, USA-EG, and Cardiff University.

Throughout his career, Alaa has worked in various areas of materials science, including chemical synthesis, polymer science, porous materials, and digital and automation chemistry. In 2023, he was appointed a Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry at the School of Natural Sciences at the University of Hull, where he established his research group. His research interests focus on synthetic chemistry and accelerating new smart-functional materials discovery for unmet medical needs, biomedical applications, and industrial and environmental challenges. Also, Alaa is passionate about interactive educational technologies and customized student learning paths. He is also a STEM ambassador, citizen scientist, and entrepreneur and has engaged and supported equality & diversity among international students and students with mental issues.
Research Interests Research-at-a-glance:
- Accelerating materials discovery
- Drug delivery & Biotechnology
- Immobilized enzymes & Antimicrobial resistance
- Net-Zero & Biodegradable polymers

Our main research activities are centered on developing and accelerating new materials discovery through synthetic chemistry while demonstrating a keen interest in hybrid polymeric materials and digital and automation chemistry. Our research projects increasingly span beyond the traditional boundaries within chemistry (i.e., Inorganic, Organic, and Physical) and bridge neighbouring disciplines such as Pharmacy, Materials Science, Chemical Engineering, and Physics. Our primary focus remains on applications in biomedical science, clean energy production, sustainability improvement, and environmental remediation. Our current projects are the following:

[1] Accelerating new materials discovery using self-driving labs (SDLs) that integrate machine learning, lab automation, and robotics.
[2] Tackling anti-microbial resistance, biofilm, and infectious diseases in healthcare by using new approaches to drug discovery, such as AI and novel compounds.
[3] Promoting sustainability by exploring green biodegradable polymer, nano/microplastics and bio-upcycle plastic as alternatives to traditional plastics.
[4] Advancing energy technologies through developing new materials for optoelectronics and solar panels and improving fluid completion technologies for the oil and gas industry.
Teaching and Learning Currently, Dr Elbetany contributes:

Organic and Analytical Chemistry - Level 4

Synthesis and Measurement - Level 5

MSc Individual Projects - Level 7

Undergraduate Teaching Labs - Level 4 and 5