History of the OGU

The Organic Geochemistry Unit (OGU) at Bristol is a well established group with more than 40 years of international research investigating the chemistry of soils, sediments and artefacts and using this to inform biogeochemical, palaeoenvironmental and archaeological studies.

We are based within the Organic and Biological section of the School of Chemistry, University of Bristol. The Unit has its origins in the former research groups of Professor Geoffrey Eglinton, FRS, and Professor James Maxwell, FRS, and is a hub for organic geochemical research where many of the concepts, discoveries and techniques now widely employed in the field, throughout the world, were developed. A multitude of people have either studied at, or visited, the OGU over the last four decades many of whom are now prominent researchers in the same (or related) field(s) at institutions spanning the globe.

With the return of Professor Richard Evershed to Bristol in 1993 and the recruitment of Professor Richard Pancost in 2000 the research portfolio of the OGU has been broadened to include subject areas such as archaeological chemistry, soil biogeochemistry and geomicrobiology. Other research activities within the unit include those of Dr Ian Bull whose own research interests include soil/freshwater molecular biogeochemistry and forensic biogeochemistry.

The OGU also houses house the Bristol node of the NERC Life Sciences Mass Spectrometry Facility which as well as providing UK based life scientists with access to cutting-edge analytical techniques also seeds a large amount of interdisciplinary collaboration.

Originally established by Professor Geoffrey Eglinton, FRS, and now led by Professor Richard Evershed, FRS, the Bristol Biogeochemistry Research Centre is an official University of Bristol research centre comprising groups (includes OGU, ACRG, Biogeochemistry and Environmental Geochemistry, and the Bristol Glaciology Centre) from four University departments (the School of Chemistry, the Department of Earth Sciences, School of Geographical Sciences and the School of Biological Sciences).

The OGU uses high-end analytical instrumentation as a fundamental tool to achieve research goals, the majority of them have been obtained using funds secured from the NERC and HEFCE.

"The Organic Geochemistry Unit (OGU) at Bristol is a well established group with more than 40 years of international research investigating the chemistry of soils, sediments and artefacts and using this to inform biogeochemical, palaeoenvironmental and archaeological studies."