Dr Natalia Sergeeva


I joined Leeds as a Lecturer in 2013. I obtained my PhD from the University of Leipzig. Prior to Leeds, I undertook a postdoctoral appointment at the University of Potsdam and a research fellowship at Trinity College Dublin.


  • Programme Manager for Polymers, Colorants and Fine Chemicals

Research interests

Due to their unique nature, coloured materials have found various applications in our day-to-day life including energy harvesting systems, solar protectors, UV and thermo-sensors, smart textiles, food technology, beauty & cosmetics, fashion to name a few. While many of these applications have been inspired by natural systems, which have been successfully isolated, re-created and synthetically improved, others have been man-made. Together they provide a great choice of multifunctional and smart materials.

Our research interests lie on the frontier of MATERIALS – CHEMISTRY – BIOLOGY and underpin the synthetic aspects and utilisation of these organic colorants with distinct optical and photophysical properties. Our particular interests are in “functional dyes” which can be used for the purposes other than just colouration, e.g. organic light emitting materials and NIR dyes, antimicrobial agents and photocatalytic dyes.

Colorants in Healthcare

Many of these dyes are based on biological molecules such as photosynthetic and respiratory pigments, betalains, flavonoids etc. which show physiological activities including anti-microbial, anti-tumour, anti-ageing, anti-inflammatory, immunosuppressive etc. This fact has been extensively used in preparation of novel therapeutics and preventive measures in healthcare.

Photodynamic therapy is a division of photomedicine and based on three key elements light, a PDT agent (photosensitiser) and oxygen. PDT has been successfully used to treat medical conditions such as cancer, skin and vision disorders. Moreover, PDT can be used as an alternative treatment against infectious pathogens.

Organic nanomaterials

Our recent studies showed that functional dyes can also be used in preparation of stable, structurally well defined self-assembled nano-meshes. The basic idea is a use of molecular building blocks with predetermined intermolecular bonding properties. Since molecular self-assembly is based on non-covalent interactions, the stabilisation energies are usually very low. This results in conventional self-assembled structures often being unstable even at moderate temperatures. Inducing covalent reactions between the corresponding molecular components is an appealing approach in the fabrication of nanoscale structures. These nanostructures have potential applications in novel sensing, energy conversion or catalytic devices and molecular templates for directing the growth of, for example, metal clusters with interesting catalytic or magnetic properties.

Professional memberships

  • Member of Royal Society of Chemistry (MRSC)
  • FHEA

Student education

Multidiciplinarity of my research allows me to contribute to a wide range of topics. I lecture material related to colour physics and chemistry, materials and synthetic chemistry. I hold tutorials on aspects of the inorganic chemistry and demonstrate the practical course. I supervise MChem and MSc research projects.

Research groups and institutes

  • Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry
  • Colour and Polymer Science
  • Process Research and Development

Current postgraduate research students

Postgraduate research opportunities

We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our research opportunities allow you to search for projects and scholarships.

Projects currently available: