skip to content

Department of Chemistry


Courtesy Gabriella Bocchetti, Department of Chemistry

Professor Christopher Hunter has been awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry 2020 Supramolecular Chemistry Award for his pioneering work in the field.

Chris was honoured for developing a quantitative description of non-covalent interactions, and establishing key principles in supramolecular design to create duplex-forming sequence oligomers and catalytic assemblies.

The major advances that were made in chemistry in the last century were built on the development of a set of design rules for covalent chemistry that allowed the quantitative prediction of reactivity and molecular shape based on the chemical bonding in the molecules.

The goal of the Hunter research group is to establish a comparable set of rules for non-covalent chemistry that can be used for the design of supramolecular systems that are held together by weak interactions with equal reliability. Chris says: “Our research will not only be fundamental science in its own right, relevant to a broad range of chemical problems, but it will also be technology that can be implemented in biological and materials applications.”

After a PhD in this Department with Jeremy Sanders, Chris was appointed to a Lectureship in Bioorganic Chemistry at the University of Otago in New Zealand in 1989. He moved to the University of Sheffield in 1991 and was promoted to Professor of Chemistry in 1997. In 2014, he returned to the University of Cambridge, and is the Herchel Smith Professor of Organic Chemistry and a Fellow of Emmanuel College. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2008 and an Honorary Member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2015.

The biennial award recognises studies leading to the design of functionally useful supramolecular species.