Alfred Mayhew


As a PhD student at the University of York’s Wolfson Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratories (WACL) I study the night-time chemistry of isoprene through the box modelling of chamber experiments, alongside analysis of ambient measurements.

I undertook my undergraduate degree in Chemistry at the University of York, where I was introduced to Atmospheric Chemistry as a subject. I then carried out my Masters project in WACL investigating the ionisation of compounds in electrospray mass spectrometry (ESI-MS), through machine learning predictions of relative ionisation efficiency (RIE). My masters project introduced me to coding in python, which I now use almost daily in my PhD project and enjoy thoroughly.


2015 – 2019: MChem from University of York

Research Interests

Isoprene is the most emitted non-methane volatile organic compound (VOC) globally, so the chemistry of this compound is highly consequential for air quality and climate. I am particularly interested in the potential for Secondary Organic Aerosol (SOA) formation from isoprene.

The study of SOA is challenging due to the complexity of the organic mixtures produced when aerosol is formed, alongside the potential for heterogeneous and particle-phase reactions that are difficult to model and study. As such, there are large uncertainties surrounding SOA formation and composition, despite its potential to have a large impact on human health and climate.

Teaching interests

As a graduate teaching assistant, I enjoy teaching practical chemistry to undergraduate students. This is a rewarding experience, and also helps to keep my lab skills honed!

Project Title

Does Night-time Chemistry of Isoprene Impact Air Quality in Polluted Environment?


Prof. Jacqueline Hamilton

Dr. Peter Edwards


Panorama NERC DTP, 2019

Project outline

The project aims to understand the impact of night-time isoprene chemistry on air quality in polluted urban and rural environments. Box modelling, simulation chamber experiments, and ultrahigh-resolution mass spectrometry analysis of ambient particle samples will be used to identify the impact of nitrate radical chemistry (which can become the major loss route of isoprene at night) on the fate of isoprene in the atmosphere.