New Lab for Joe Black

New Lab for Joe Black

Issued: Tue, 13 Feb 2018 07:00:00 GMT

The Serena Corr laboratory in the Joseph Black Building has been opened officially.

The successful completion of this laboratory refurbishment marks an early stage in the £34m project to give this A-listed, “art moderne” building a new lease of life.

Image of a freeze frame video player featuring Dr Serena Corr

Professor Muffy Calder, Head of the College of Science and Engineering, said: “This is an important milestone on quite a long journey of refurbishing this building.”

She added: “My message to staff here is thank-you for putting up with the disruption, for working around it and for continuing to be highly productive and highly successful. Thank you Chemistry!”


Dr Serena Corr, a reader in the School of Chemistry, leads the functional nanomaterials research group. She and her team have two main areas of research: the first is in the area of energy materials, specifically looking at lithium ion and sodium ion batteries for use in electrical energy storage which will be sustainable, low-cost and functional over a long period of time; the second is in conservation chemistry, working with the Mary Rose Trust to find a way of using magnetic nanoparticles to treat waterlogged wood samples.

The lab contains synthesis equipment, such as furnaces for high-temperature reactions; Schlenk lines for doing reactions that require very controlled conditions; the development of new microwave-synthetic approaches; and x-ray diffraction equipment.

She said: “We’ve been delighted by the University’s refurbishment of this new lab space. I started here in 2013 and my research group has been growing since then, both in the area of materials for energy and conservation of artefacts. Recently we’ve been part of the Faraday Institution Initiative for Battery Development in the UK – this is looking at developing new battery materials and understanding degradation processes in batteries to meet the needs of a growing electrical vehicle market.  With this new lab space we’ll be taking on a lot more post-doc researchers and a lot more PhD students.”

Dr Corr was involved in the design aspects of the laboratory from its inception, more than two years ago: even while she was on maternity leave, architects, staff from the School of Chemistry and building designers visited her at home and involved her in discussions in what was needed to refit the lab.