David Parker grew up in the North-East of England and graduated with a First in Chemistry from Oxford in the summer of ‘78. After a D.Phil. with John M Brown on mechanistic studies in asymmetric catalysis, in October 1980 he took up a NATO fellowship to work with Jean-Marie Lehn in Strasbourg. He returned to Durham in January 1982 to a Lectureship in Chemistry and was promoted to a Chair in 1992. He received the RSC Hickinbottom Fellowship for 1988/9, the Corday-Morgan Medal and Prize in 1989, the ICI Prize in Organic Chemistry in 1991, an RSC Interdisciplinary Award in 1996, a Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship (1998/9), the inaugural IBC Award for Supramolecular Science and Technology in 2000, the first RSC award for Supramolecular Chemistry in 2002, a Tilden Lectureship and Silver Medal in 2003, the Ludwig Mond Medal for Inorganic Chemistry in 2011 and the triennial Lecoq de Boisbaudran award for rare earth science in 2012. In 2002 aged 45, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, and in 2014 was recognized as a RISE Fellow by EPSRC. He has twice served as the Chairman of Durham Chemistry and held an ERC Advanced Investigator Grant (2011-16).
The chemistry of complex chiral systems is studied to address challenging aspects of complexation phenomena in aqueous media.
New aspects of complexation chemistry, are being examined developing metal complexes or conjugates that may bind reversibly or react selectively with biomolecules, and their behaviour is studied, from in vitro measurements, via in cellulo examinations to in vivo applications.
The development of responsive, luminescent lanthanide complexes is being undertaken, in which the metal-based emission is a function of the local ionic or chiral environment; this work embraces the synthesis of imaging probes for bioactive ions and the development of chiral probes for circularly polarised luminescence (CPL) spectroscopy and microscopy.
The synthesis and characterisation of functional magnetic resonance probes is being pursued, developing responsive and targeted paramagnetic contrast agents (e.g. tumours for cancer imaging) for Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy (MRI/MRS).