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Dr Scott L. Cockroft

Dr Scott L. Cockroft

Senior Lecturer in Organic Chemistry

Room 222

University of Edinburgh
Joseph Black Building
David Brewster Road

Research Interests

Physical organic chemistry, molecular recognition, non-covalent interactions, supramolecular chemistry, single-molecule biophysics, molecular machines

Research Overview

Physical Organic Chemistry

By studying the properties and behaviour of intramolecular and supramolecular systems in a systematic way, we seek to investigate the fundamental phenomena governing non-covalent interactions and chemical reactivity; i.e. the key determinants of structure and activity in chemical and biological systems.

Single-molecule studies of molecular machines and enzymes

We are developing nanopore-based biophysical approaches for monitoring the activity and conformational dynamics of molecular machines and enzymes in real-time. The method works on the principle that conformational changes in a single macromolecule held near (or threaded through) a transmembrane protein pore will induce tiny (but detectable) changes in the ion current flowing through the pore under an applied transmembrane potential (voltage).

Physical organic chemistry and single molecule studies


  1. Quantifying solvophobic effects in non-polar cohesive interactions  L. Yang, C. Adam & S. L. Cockroft*. J. Am. Chem. Soc. doi: 10.1021/jacs.5b05736 (2015).
  2. Partitioning solvophobic & dispersion forces in alkyl and perfluoroalkyl cohesion C. Adam, L. Yang & S. L. Cockroft*. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 54(4), 1164–1167 (2015).
  3. How much do van der Waals dispersion forces contribute to molecular recognition in solution? L. Yang, C. Adam, G. S. Nichol & S. L. Cockroft*. Nature Chem. 5(12), 1006–1010 (2013). Featured in: Nature Chem. News & Views | Chemistry World | C&EN | 'In The Pipeline' Blog
  4. Electrostatic modulation of aromatic rings via explicit solvation of substituents K. B. Muchowska, C. Adam, I. K. Mati & S. L. Cockroft*. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 135, 9976–9979 (2013).
  5. Aromatic reactivity revealed: beyond resonance theory & frontier orbitals J. J. Brown & S. L. Cockroft*. Chem. Sci. 4, 1772–1780 (2013).