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The Academic Team

Dr. Meryem Benohoud, Professor Chris Rayner, Dr. Alenka Tidder & Dr. Richard Blackburn



Dr. Richard Blackburn is Co-Founder & Director of Keracol Limited. He is also Associate Professor in Coloration Technology and Head of the Sustainable Materials Research Group at The University of Leeds. He has significant experience of large industry-academia collaborative research and his technical expertise includes application of colorants, natural products chemistry, polymer chemistry, and colour chemistry. He has published over 80 peer-reviewed journal articles and 3 books and has successfully supervised over 25 PhD students. He received the Silver Medal in 2016 from The Society of Dyers and Colourists for his contribution to research in colour science, and the Centenary Medal from the SDC for outstanding research on natural colorants in 2018. He is inventor on 5 patents, including 3 on cosmetics. In 2018 he was co-chair of the American Chemical Society’s Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference, the seminal Green Chemistry conference in the world.


Professor Chris Rayner is Co-Founder & Director of Keracol Limited. He is Professor of Organic Chemistry at The University of Leeds, with over 25 years’ experience in the chemistry of natural products, including their synthesis, isolation and characterisation. He plays a leading role in Institute of Process Research and Development (iPRD) at The University of Leeds, which focuses on the commercial development of process-related research. He is the author of over 100 publications, review articles and patents, and research interests range from natural product synthesis, drug synthesis, natural product extraction, characterisation and utilisation, new methods of carrying out synthetic procedures, and the chemistry of CO2. His current academic research interests focus on two main areas, specifically the extraction, characterisation and utilisation of natural products in consumer and biomedical applications, and developing new chemistry involving CO2







Dr. Meryem Benohoud is Technical Director of Keracol Limited.She has a PhD in organic synthesis from the Natural Products Chemistry Institute (ICSN-CNRS, France) and has conducted research work at the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland) and at Tokyo University of Science (Japan) on sustainable organic synthesis. She is a specialist in organic synthesis, analytical chemistry and natural products chemistry and has experience in natural products synthesis, collaboration with industrial partners, research funding applications and projects coordination. She has published extensively in the field of natural products chemistry, with many recent publications in the area of anthocyanins.