Past and Present Members

Docent Alistair King (Principal Investigator)

Alistair received his PhD in Organic Chemistry from the Queen's University of Belfast (Northern Ireland) in 2002. After this he worked in the pharmaceutical industry in custom synthesis (Almac Sciences), before moving to Finland in 2004. After this he has been working in the Organic Laboratory (University of Helsinki) focusing on the development of ionic liquids and methods for processing and analysing biomass.

His current research focus, in collaboration with Prof. Kilpeläinen (Sustainble Chemistry), is on the development and analysis of ionic liquids, for cellulose dissolution, regeneration and chemical modification applications.

On the cellulose chemistry and technology side, he is currently focused on the development of methods for sustainable cellulose surface modification, nanocellulose, cellulose NMR-based analytics and methods for modifying cellulose crystallinity and morphology.

His full university profile, including projects and publications can be found here.


Dr. Tetyana Koso (Post Doc)


Tanja received her Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the Justus-Liebig-University Giessen (Germany) in 2013. She has strong synthetic organic chemistry background, specializing in cage hydrocarbons’ selective functionalization, specifically homologous cubanes and diamondoids - legacy of her Alma Mater, National Technical University of Ukraine “KPI”. She also shortly worked on chlorophyll modifications in the University of Helsinki as part of the Helaja working group.

In 2018 she joined Dr. King’s group as a Post Doc and currently she is deepening her knowledge on the chemistry, and spectroscopic methods for analysis, of cellulose, wood biopolymers and ionic liquids. Her current research project is on the Academy of Finland consortium project ('WTF-Click-Nano', # 311255) but also contributing to cellulose synthesis and analytics in Prof. Kilpeläinens 'Sustainble Chemistry' group.

Apart from the method development for sustainable cellulose derivatives’ synthesis and research of the new biomass-based materials, she is interested in multi-dimensional solution-state NMR application for the celluloses, as non-trivial method of cellulose characterisation.

Her full university profile can be found here

Dr. Jesus Perea-Buceta (Post Doc - previous group member)

Hailing from South Spain, Jesus Perea conducted his PhD studies in Organic Synthesis at the University of Edinburgh where he received his degree in 2008. He then moved back to his hometown Universidad de Granada to pursue postdoctoral studies on magnetochemistry and heterocyclic synthesis before moving to the University of Helsinki (Finland) in 2011. Since then, he has conducted postdoctoral studies on Heterogeneous Chemistry, Homogeneous Catalysis and CO2 chemistry at the Department of Chemistry.

He moved to the current Organic Materials Unit in late 2016, where he holds the status of Principal Investigator (PI). His interests span the development of new antibiotics and antivirals (in collaboration with the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki), nucleic acid chemistry and the development of new renewable biohybrid materials and ionic liquids (in partnership with the groups of Prof. Ilkka Kilpeläinen and Dr. Alistair King).

Jesus’s full profile can be found here.

Dr. Gabriel Partl (Post Doc - previous group member)

Gabriel received his PhD, titled 'On improving environmental friendliness in the realms of inorganic pigments and fluorosurfactants', from Leopold-Franzens Universität Innsbruck, Austria.

After this he joined Dr. Kings group, working on the development of ionic liquids for cellulose dissolution and analytics. During this period he successfully developed a class of high stability tetraalkylammonium hydroxide salts that dissolved cellulose, as their aqueous electrolyte solutions.

After this he worked in industry as a Senior Researcher (Wood K plus - Kompetenzzentrum Holz GmbH), as a post doc in Leopold-Franzens Universität Innsbruck and then back to industry, where he is presently working as a Chemist (ADLER-Coatings / ADLER-Werk Schwaz)

Dr. Tiina Laaksonen (Post Doc - previous group member)

Tiina Laaksonen completed her PhD at the University of Helsinki, titled (+)-Dehydroabietylamine based chiral solvating agents for the enantiomeric discrimination of carboxylic acids in NMR spectroscopy'. This research was focused on developing and studying new chiral solvating agents for enantiomeric discrimination in NMR spectroscopy. During this period she also spent one year as a visiting PhD student in Queen's University Ionic Liquids Laboratories (QUILL). as a post doctoral reseracher on industry projects related to petrochemical processing and also on nanocellulose modification. She is now working in Neste Oil.

Following this, she worked as a post doctoral reseracher in Dr. Kings group on two topics: 1) development of novel surfactants for mining applications, 2) surface stabilisation of nanocellulose for chemical modification.

After this she moved to Neste Oyj to work as a Researcher in Analytics.

Dr. Evangelos Sklavounos (Post Doc - previous group member)

Evangelos received his MEng from London South Bank University, UK. He then received his PhD in Biorefineries from Aalto University, Finland.

He then joined Dr. Kings group working on the development of surfactants for biomass and oil-sands processing, funded by ST1 and Kemira Oyj.

He spent one year working for the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and then moved to industry, working as a Process Design Engineer and then Consultant for Neste Jacobs/Neste Corporation.

Dr Somdatta Deb (Post Doc - previous group member)

Somdatta completed her PhD thesis, titled 'Synthetic Modifications of Estrogens and Androgens' at the University of Helsinki. She then worked on several projects at the University as a post doctoral researcher.

In Dr. Kings group, as a post doc, she worked on the pre-treatment and dissolution of whole wood using ionic liquids. This lead to a better understanding of the factors governing the 'recalcitrance' of wood, as a potential sustainable materials feedstock.

During and after this period she worked as a Chemist and Product Saftey Assessor for Naviter Oy (a sustainable cosmetics company). She also worked in Scientific and Administrative Support for the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and she presently works as a Product Compliance Engineer for Fiskars Group.