Somehow, this academic year has been getting away from me, but here’s a quick overview of my research group over the last few months, and, to be on the safe side, for the next few months as well:
I have supervised three final year undergraduate projects this academic year: Josie Endacott (BSc), who’s been mapping ligand effects on C-N coupling reactions, Elena Mogort-Valls (MSci), working on Baeyer-Villiger reactions and Elliot Cross (MSci), investigating catalysts capable of breaking C-O linkages in ethers. They are all currently writing up their project reports. We have also hosted Maximilian Menche for four weeks earlier this year. He is an undergraduate student in Germany and studied some first-row transition metal catalysts.
There are two PhD students that are shared with other groups: Pongsathon (Nan) Boonrod, who is a BCFN student and jointly supervised with Charl Faul. He is working on the design of nitrogen-rich functional materials, splitting his time between synthesis and computation. I also make a small contribution to Callum Woof’s PhD research. He is a member of the Catalysis CDT, based at the University of Bath with Ruth Webster, and his project focusses on the synthesis and characterisation of iron catalysts. The other parts of the supervisory team are my Bristol colleague Craig Butts, as well as Emma Richards in Cardiff.
Here at Bristol, we are very fortunate to be involved in a range of Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs), and most of them involve at least one research project as part of the training offered in year 1; students then progress to PhD research in later years. Because of this, I’m currently hosting Rebekah Taylor (Catalysis CDT), who is wrestling with copper catalysis, and Harry Morgan (TMCS), working on iron catalysts. Later in April, after Rebekah and Harry have finished their projects, Derek Durand will join us for his Catalysts CDT research broadening sabbatical.
Accessing Alkyl- and Alkenylcyclopentanes from Cr-Catalyzed Ethylene Oligomerization Using 2-Phosphinophosphinine LigandsPosted: March 29, 2018
The other paper out earlier this month, this time from a collaboration with Stephen Mansell and his group at Heriot-Watt and colleagues at Sasol:
Accessing Alkyl- and Alkenylcyclopentanes from Cr-Catalyzed Ethylene Oligomerization Using 2-Phosphinophosphinine Ligands
New paper out (earlier this month), from a collaboration with Adrian Mulholland and Reynier Suardiaz here at Bristol, as well as colleagues from Manchester, led by Nigel Scrutton and brought to fruition by Hanan Messiha:
Biochemistry, Article ASAP, DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.8b00169
Biocatalytic Routes to Lactone Monomers for Polymer Production
A Simple and Broadly Applicable C−N Bond Forming Dearomatization Protocol Enabled by Bifunctional Amino ReagentsPosted: October 30, 2017
New paper, drawing on Tom’s summer work: A C−N bond forming dearomatization protocol with broad scope is outlined. Specifically, bifunctional amino reagents are used for sequential nucleophilic and electrophilic C−N bond formations, with the…
New Paper: Heavily Substituted Atropisomeric Diarylamines by Unactivated Smiles Rearrangement of N‐Aryl AnthranilamidesPosted: September 7, 2017
What UG summer student Harvey Dale did last summer (2016)… worked out a likely mechanism to explain experimental observations:
Diarylamines find use as metal ligands and as structural components of drug molecules, and are commonly made by metal‐catalyzed C−N coupling. However, the limited tolerance to steric hindrance of these…
New paper – Insights into the Mechanistic Basis of Plasmid-Mediated Colistin Resistance from Crystal Structures of the Catalytic Domain of MCR-1Posted: January 10, 2017
Tom Young’s summer project, funded by an RSC undergraduate bursary, enabled us to become involved in a project led by colleagues in biochemistry and together with Adrian Mulholland’s group in the Centre for Computational Chemistry. This work has just been published in Scientific Reports (Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 39392 (2017), doi:10.1038/srep39392) and there is a press release to go with it on the Bristol news page.
Insights into the Mechanistic Basis of Plasmid-Mediated Colistin Resistance from Crystal Structures of the Catalytic Domain of MCR-1, Philip Hinchliffe, Qiu E. Yang, Edward Portal, Tom Young, Hui Li, Catherine L. Tooke, Maria J. Carvalho, Neil G. Paterson, Jürgen Brem, Pannika R. Niumsup, Uttapoln Tansawai, Lei Lei, Mei Li, Zhangqi Shen, Yang Wang, Christopher J. Schofield, Adrian J Mulholland, Jianzhong Shen, Natalie Fey, Timothy R. Walsh & James Spencer, Scientific Reports 2017, 7, Article number: 39392, doi:10.1038/srep39392
As it’s nearly time to submit final reports to funders, I thought I should write a brief update about the summer – it’s been really busy, with 3 summer students working for me on a diverse range of projects. So here’s last summer’s gang:
- Eloise Hicketts, funded by an RSC Small Outreach Grant to develop resources and activities for Picture It… Sharing Molecules. This project is a pilot study to develop resources and activities which empower women to share scientific knowledge and activities with children. As a secondary outcome, we also seek to facilitate practitioners of the chemical sciences to engage these audiences by providing such resources and sharing our own experiences and insights.
- Mani Latham, funded by a CCP5 Summer Bursary for Undergraduate Students and tasked with developing experiments for the teaching laboratory in the area of computational solid state modelling.
- Tom Young, funded by a Royal Society of Chemistry Undergraduate Research Bursary to develop “Computationally-guided ligand selection in rhodium(I)-catalysed hydroformylation”. This involved investigating the mechanism of hydroformylation with a view to identifying the most promising systems and then testing these in collaboration with Prof. Paul Pringle. Due to an insatiable appetite for computational chemistry, Tom also became involved in computational projects on metalloporphyrins and zinc metalloproteins, more about those soon.
In addition, a couple of summer students working for my colleague Neil Allan offered to help with some of the ongoing projects. Those were:
- Harry Morgan, who decided to contribute a weekly post on Picture It… Chemistry, taking the Great British Bake Off as his inspiration. You can see his latest here.
- Harvey Dale, who has been working with Johno Matlock in the Clayden group to shed some light on their experimental observations.