Rachel O’Reilly

(Professor Rachel O’Reilly)

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My group’s research uses polymer synthesis and precision synthesis to allow for the preparation of functional and responsive nanostructures, which can be used in a wide range of applications from materials science to medicine. Overall, we are interested in trying to mimic some of the key features of natural functional nanomaterials such as viruses and cells, using polymer nanoparticles.

Honestly, I am not sure what got me into science, I think it was a reading my sister’s A-level chemistry books when I was doing my GSCEs – I knew she found it hard so I was determined to do well in it.

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I stay in science as I love the opportunity to work with such creative and committed students and post-docs, they keep me on my toes and ensure no 2 days are the same.


I am also a keen geologist and used to have a rock collection. I am fascinated by volcanoes and am always looking for conferences and meetings near areas of volcanic activity. I even went to see an active volcano on my honeymoon. I have 2 little girls who keep me super busy – on weekends we do a lot of colouring in and puzzles.


Rachel is the Head of the School of Chemistry at the University of Birmingham. For more information about her research please see her group website.

To see a tour of her research group’s laboratories click here.

Rachel also features on the Royal Society of Chemistry’s “175 Faces of Chemistry” click here to read more about this.

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