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23 Last checked 23 June 2020


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

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Research Output

A contribution to neuromorphic engineering: neuromodulation implemented through photochromic compounds maintained out of equilibrium by UV–visible radiation

Bartolomei, B., Heron, B. M. & Gentili, P. L., 1 Mar 2020, In : Rendiconti Lincei. 31, 1, p. 39-52 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 1 Citation (Scopus)

    Inhibition of the photochromic behaviour of a 3,3-diphenyl-3H-pyrano[3,2-f]quinoline ligand by coordination to Ag(I) ions

    Edgar, R., Elliott, P., Fennessy, R. V., Gabbutt, C., Heron, M., Pope, S., Sinopoli, A. & Rice, C., 1 Apr 2020, In : Dyes and Pigments. 175, 4 p., 108167.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 1 Citation (Scopus)

    Synthesis and Photochromism of Novel Pyridyl Substituted Naphthopyrans

    De Azevedo, O., Elliott, P., Gabbutt, C., Heron, M., Lord, K. J. & Pullen, C., 21 Aug 2020, In : Journal of Organic Chemistry. 85, 16, p. 10772-10796 25 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Theory is back in Dyes & Pigments!

    Jacquemin, D., Wainwright, M. & Heron, B. M., 1 May 2020, In : Dyes and Pigments. 176, 1 p., 108236.

    Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

    Base-Mediated Ring-Contraction of Pyran Systems Promoted by Palladium and Phase-Transfer Catalysis

    Aiken, S., De Azevedo, O., Chauhan, K., Driscoll, T., Elliott, P., Gabbutt, C. & Heron, M., 20 Dec 2019, In : Journal of Organic Chemistry. 85, 2, p. 952-966 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Activities

    Grant Peer-Reviewer for a National Science Centre (Narodowe Centrum Nauki - NCN) Project

    Mark Heron (Participant)

    24 Sep 2019

    Activity: Other activity typesGrant peer-review

    International Symposium on Photochromism (Event)

    Mark Heron (Member)

    23 Sep 201927 Sep 2019

    Activity: Membership typesMembership of board

    International Symposium on Dyes & Pigments

    Mark Heron (Organiser)

    8 Sep 201911 Sep 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganising a conference, workshop, ...

    European Expert evaluator of the 2018 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships (IF)

    Mark Heron (Participant)

    1 Nov 201830 Nov 2018

    Activity: Other activity typesGrant peer-review

    Grant Reviewing for Innovation and Technology Commission Hong Kong

    Mark Heron (Participant)

    4 Dec 2017

    Activity: Other activity typesGrant peer-review