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Personal profile


Dr Heron joined the University of Huddersfield in August 2012 as a Principal Research Fellow.  Prior to this research focussed fellowship Dr Heron held a Senior Lectureship in Applied Organic Chemistry in the Department of Colour and Polymer Chemistry within the School of Chemistry at the University of Leeds (2000 – 2012).  Research interests encompass heterocyclic chemistry applied to functional dyes including photo-, thermo-, electro- and piezo-chromism, traditional dye and pigment chemistry and fluorescence. Industrial collaborations have resulted in recent patents concerning hybrid liquid crystalline photochromic heterocyclic materials.  In addition to my interests in heterocyclic chemistry, traditional and modern synthetic chemistry transformations, polymer chemistry and organic spectroscopy have featured prominently in my research.

Preceding Leeds Dr Heron held industrially funded Lectureships at the University of Central Lancashire (1995 – 1998) and at the University of Hull (1998 – 2000). The latter appointment provided an opportunity to develop an interest in liquid crystal technology whilst maintaining a strong interest in heterocyclic chemistry and photochromism.  Research activity from this initial phase of Dr Heron’s academic career resulted in the filing of several international patent applications for photochromic molecules that have been marketed around the globe.

Dr Heron was awarded his PhD in 1992 by the Council for National Academic Awards for investigations into the synthesis and reactivity of benzothiopyrans and fused heterocyclic derivatives with external collaboration with ICI Pharmaceuticals (Alderley Edge).  In a post-doctoral fellowship in Applied Heterocyclic Chemistry (University of Central Lancashire 1991 - 1995) initial exploration of the chemistry of novel pyrroles and azoles and benzopyrans was undertaken which sowed the seeds for a longstanding relationship with heterocyclic chemistry and optical phenomena such as photochromism.

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Design, synthesis and optimisation of the performance of novel responsive dye systems e.g. photo-, electro-, thermo- and piezo- chromic dyes, and their applications.
  • The synthesis and spectroscopic properties of methine, cyanine, squarane, BODIPY, naphthalimide and ruthenium based colorants.
  • Synthetic methodology related to the de-novo synthesis of heterocyclic ring systems e.g. pyrans, thiopyrans, pyridines, pyrroles and various azoles including pyrazoles, isoxazoles and their benzologues.
  • The investigation of new and alternative synthetic strategies to useful organic molecules including application of transition metal catalysis, directed metallation strategies and novel phosphorus stabilised ylides.

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Synthesis
  • Polymers
  • Organic Synthesis
  • Flourescence
  • Dyes
  • Photochromism

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Mark Heron is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 1 Similar Profiles
Pyrans Chemical Compounds
Photochromism Chemical Compounds
Benzopyrans Chemical Compounds
Chromans Chemical Compounds
Coloring Agents Chemical Compounds
Dyes Engineering & Materials Science
Derivatives Chemical Compounds
Cycloaddition Chemical Compounds

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Research Output 1992 2019

1 Citation (Scopus)

Expedient synthesis of highly substituted 3,4-dihydro-1,2-oxathiine 2,2-dioxides and 1,2-oxathiine 2,2-dioxides: Revisiting sulfene additions to enaminoketones

Aiken, S., Anozie, K., De Azevedo, O., Cowan, L., Edgar, R., Gabbutt, C., Heron, B., Lawrence, P., Mills, A., Rice, C., Urquhart, M. & Zonidis, D., Nov 2019, In : Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry. 17, 44, p. 9585-9604 20 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Synthesis and Photochromism of Some Mono and Bis(Thienyl) Substituted Oxathiine 2,​2-​dioxides

Aiken, S., Gabbutt, C., Heron, B., Rice, C. & Zonidis, D., Nov 2019, In : Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry. 17, 44, p. 9578-9584 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle



Heron, B. M. & Wainwright, M., 1 Jul 2018, In : Dyes and Pigments. 154, p. A1 1 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

22 Citations (Scopus)

Negatively Photochromic Organic Compounds: Exploring the Dark Side

Aiken, S., Edgar, R., Gabbutt, C., Heron, B. M. & Hobson, P. A., Feb 2018, In : Dyes and Pigments. 149, p. 92-121 30 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Open Access
Organic compounds
Logic gates
Electromagnetic waves
5 Citations (Scopus)

Photochromic and luminescent compounds as artificial neuron models

Gentili, P. L., Giubila, M. S., Germani, R. & Heron, M., 1 Sep 2018, In : Dyes and Pigments. 156, p. 149-159 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Optical communication
Dynamic models