James Flanagan is a PhD candidate in Robert M Waymouth’s Group in the Chemistry Department, Stanford University. James studies chemical transformations of microbially derived substrates into new materials and chemical intermediates. Such substrates can be obtained from bacteria in wastewater, fed on a ‘diet’ of methane or organic waste. The ultimate goal of this research is to create sustainable materials from non-petroleum sources, which is an area that urgently requires innovation. The research is a collaborative effort, combining ideas and expertise in both synthetic chemistry in the Waymouth Group and environmental engineering of the Criddle Group.

James is a graduate fellow of the Center for Molecular Analysis and Design (CMAD) at Stanford, funded by the Yeh Family Philanthropy. James served as the Head Teaching Assistant of Stanford’s general chemistry class, leading a team of 14 TAs who taught 450 students. He is the Chemistry Department representative on the Stanford Polymer Collective, an organization aimed at bringing together students from all academic disciplines that are interested in polymer research. He was awarded Stanford Chemistry Department’s John Stauffer Memorial Award in 2013.

James earned his Masters degree in Chemistry in 2011 from Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland, graduating with first-class honors. At Queen’s he studied selective aerobic alcohol oxidations with Mark J Muldoon and Matthew J Cook, applying concepts in catalysis and green chemistry to synthesize heterocyclic compounds. James is a graduate member of the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland, winning their Third-Level Education Prize. James also served on the Academic Board of Queen’s University for three years, bringing student issues directly to university management. During his undergraduate degree James had placements in corporate research at Sika AG, in Zurich, Switzerland developing polyurethane chemistry, and at the School of Pharmacy at Queen’s Belfast where he studied polymer drying kinetics with Professor David Jones.

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