My name is David Leonard and I am a doctoral student of chemistry at the Leibniz Institute for Catalysis in Rostock, Germany. I am primarily focussed on using non-noble metals for the activation of C(sp3)–C(sp3) bonds, using air as the oxidant. In addition, I have recently been working with heterogeneous nickel catalysts for the reductive dehalogenation of aryl halides.
Raised in the small village of Killearn, Scotland, I was formerly a paper delivery boy, a kitchen porter, and an office clerk. I became fascinated with science as a child when my parents bought me a children's chemistry set and an encyclopaedia, and after attending Balfron High School, I moved out of the sticks to study chemistry at the University of Strathclyde.
In 2016 I moved to Frankfurt to take a 12-month internship with Bayer AG to work in the fields of biocatalysis and process chemistry. I then completed my studies under the supervision of Dr David Nelson (Strathclyde)—working on nickel-catalysed Suzuki–Miyaura cross-coupling reactions—and graduated in 2018 with a Master of Chemistry with First Class Honours.
I have been working in Prof Matthias Beller's group ever since and I am on track to graduate in the summer of this year.