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Gibson Group: Thomas Congdon

Tom was part of the Gibson group as a PhD student (2011-2015). He now works as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Dave Haddleton's Group at University of Warwick. See below for details of Tom's work whilst a Gibson Group member.


Tom was born in Guildford, Surrey in 1989. From 2007 to 2011 Tom carried out an MChem with Professional Experience at the University of Warwick. During this time he undertook a research project with Dr David McGuinness at the University of Tasmania in Australia examining alternative synthetic routes to aluminium catalysts for the polymerisation of ethylene. His masters project, under the supervision of Prof. Andrew Dove examined the alternatives to (-)-spartiene in the ring opening polymerisation of lactide.

Shortly after this Tom joined the group to study for his PhD under the supervision of Dr Matthew Gibson and Dr Rebecca Notman jointly with Alaina Emmanuella where, respectively, they utilise controlled radical polymerisation and computational molecular modelling to study the properties of antifreeze active synthetic macromolecules. The research is ongoing but already several new discoveries have been reported and published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at international conferences.


1. Deller, R.C., Congdon, T., Sahid, M., Morgan, M., Vatish, M., Mitchell, D.A., Notman, R., Gibson, M.I., Biomaterials Science, 2013, 1, 478 - 485, "Ice recrystallisation inhibition by polyols: comparison of molecular and macromolecular inhibitors and role of hydrophobic units" Top 10 Most accessed Articles Jan and Feb 2013 link

2. Congdon, T, Notman, R., Gibson, MI, Biomacromolecules, 2013, 14, 1578 - 1586, Antifreeze (Glyco)Protein Mimetic Behaviour of Poly(vinyl alcohol): Detailed Structure-Ice Recrystallisation Inhibition Activity Study, link

3. Congdon, T, Wilmet, C., Williams, R., Polt, J., Lilliman, M., and Gibson, M.I., , European Polymer Journal, 2014 'Functionalised Carbohydrate-Centred Oligomers and Polymers. Thermoresponsivity, Lectin Binding and Degradability'Accepted, Link Special issue on Precision Polymer Materials

4. Congdon, T., Shaw, P., Gibson, M.I., Thermoresponsive, Well-defined, Poly(Vinyl Alcohol) co-polymers. Polymer Chemistry, 2015,6, 4749-4757 Link

5. Mitchell, DE., Congdon, TR., Rodger, A., Gibson, MI. Under revision

6. Dean, B., Congdon, T., Gibson, M.I., under revision.

7. Congdon, T., Gibson, M.I., in preparation.

8. Congdon, T., Gibson, M.I., in preparation.

9. Congdon, T., Philips, D., Gibson, M.I., submitted.

Research Interests

1) Antifreeze-Protein Inspired Materials link

Utilizing low-cost readily available materials and polymers to mimic the ice shaping and ice recrystalisation inhibition of antifreeze protiens is a facinating area of research, requiring a multi-disiplinary approach and cutting edge polymer synthesis technologies. It will also lead to low cost, easily implementable technologies and products that will profundly change the storage, transportation and viability of perishable and frozen material and may lead to breakthroughs in new forms of cryo-medicine and cyro-surgery.

2) Controlled polymerisation of Lesser Activated Monomers (LAMs)

Recently the field of controlled polymerisation has exploded with a host of new technologies allowing scientists to precisely control the length and nature of a polymer chain, which has lead to the synthesis of novel achitecture and the start of a mimic of biological and protien-like systems. However while certain monomers are readily polymerisable some remain diffcult to control the molecular weight, or outright incompatible with modern controlled radical polymerisation systems.

3) The Thermoresponsive Behaviour of PVA co-polymers (more soon!)

Bursarys and Grants

- RSC Materials Division travel grant for 248th ACS National Meeting and Exposition in San Francisco, CA


- 11th International Conference on Materials Chemistry, 8-11th July 2013, University of Warwick, UK link


- 248th ACS National Meeting and Exposition, 10-14th August 2014, San Francisco, CA

- 11th International Conference on Materials Chemistry, 8-11th July 2013, University of Warwick, UK

- RSC Carbohydrate Group Autumn Meeting, 27th-28th September 2012, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK

- Warwick Polymer 2012, 9th-12th July 2012, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK

- RSC Young Members Symposium 2012, 13th June 2012, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK

- RSC Bio-organic Group Postgraduate Symposium 2012, 19th April 2012, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK