New Paper: Heavily Substituted Atropisomeric Diarylamines by Unactivated Smiles Rearrangement of N‐Aryl Anthranilamides

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…

Source: Heavily Substituted Atropisomeric Diarylamines by Unactivated Smiles Rearrangement of N‐Aryl Anthranilamides

New paper – Insights into the Mechanistic Basis of Plasmid-Mediated Colistin Resistance from Crystal Structures of the Catalytic Domain of MCR-1

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.

Full citation:

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

Summer Projects


Eloise, Mani and Natalie

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.


    Eloise at Skirting Science 2016

  • 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.


    Harry and Tom

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.


    (l-r) Harry, Tom, Harvey, Mani

Exploring Redox States, Doping and Ordering of Electroactive Star-Shaped Oligo(aniline)s – Mills – 2016 – Chemistry – A European Journal – Wiley Online Library

Fresh out and currently promoted as a hot paper, from my collaboration with Charl Faul’s group, a report on the PhD work by Ben Mills: Exploring Redox States, Doping and Ordering of Electroactive Star-Shaped Oligo(aniline)s – Mills – 2016 – Chemistry – A European Journal – Wiley Online Library

Ben’s paper accepted for CEJ!

Faul Research Group

Ben’s paper was very recently accepted by Chemistry – A European Journal as a very important paper!  This investigation, done in collaboration with Natalie Fey (Bristol), Patrice Rannou (Grenoble, France, and long-standing collaborator) and Tomasz Marszalek and Wojciech Pisula (Mainz, Germany and Lodz, Poland).


Here we show that a redox-active star-shaped oligo(aniline) provides an opportunity to explore and model the intricate optoelectronic properties of a seemingly simple molecule, using a combination of experimental and modelling investigations.  Congrats to all involved!

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Picture it...

Picture It… is proud to present the first in a new series of special short posts inspired by the return of the popular BBC TV baking contest, “The Great British Bake Off” and written by our guest author, Harry Morgan, a chemistry undergraduate at New College, Oxford. Each week we hope to embark on a brief journey into the science behind a particular ingredient, technique or recipe highlighted by the bakers in the GBBO tent.

Jelly1 Orange jelly with a selection of lab glassware and models of limonene, glycine and water.

Here at Picture It, we are as excited as anyone about the return of the Great British Bake Off, and in the opening week the technical challenge provided a chance for a quick glance at some kitchen chemistry. It saw the bakers attempting to make Jaffa cakes, a favourite sweet snack since their introduction in 1927, and normally flavoured…

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Science communication in action: At-Bristol

Picture it...

Last Wednesday, a few summer students, recent PhD graduate Steph Flynn, and Natalie Fey, Picture It’s co-founder and editor, made the short trip to At-Bristol, a collection of science exhibits which is located in Bristol’s Harbourside area.

There are lots of summer students in the School of Chemistry at the moment, and we’re mostly doing projects that last between 8 and 10 weeks. Funding is either provided by Bristol’s School of Chemistry, or by external organisations like the Royal Society of Chemistry. To varying degrees, these projects involve time in the lab, in the library and out on trips, and as my project relates closely to science and education, I wasn’t going to miss out on the opportunity to see some science communication in action!

Despite the fact that At-Bristol is only a ten minute walk from our desks, most of the group hadn’t visited before. We were impressed…

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