Indole deuteration preprint available online

Our first preprint is available on ChemRxiv! Congratulations to Liam, who carried out this work under truly challenging conditions, as well as Rachael and Andrew who provided valuable validation studies.
Deuterated compounds find important applications in drug discovery programmes and biomolecular analysis, as well as providing fundamental insight during methodology development. In this manuscript we develop a deuteration strategy with programmable regioselectivity, allowing access to indoles with selective isotope incorporation at C2, or C3, or C2-and-C3 without the need for directing groups. The preprint is available here: Undirected, Pd-catalysed deuteration of indoles with programmable regioselectivity

Lay summary: Compounds containing carbon-deuterium bonds find important applications in drug discovery programmes, as well as providing fundamental insight during the development of new chemical reactions. Selectively incorporating deuterium at one particular position in a molecule can require long processes with several steps and expensive reagents. In this manuscript, we show how to create these selective carbon-deuterium bonds using a short route with mild, catalytic methods. We hope that this method will find application in the development of new pharmaceuticals, and spark further new discoveries.

PhD Studentship Available

Fully-funded 42-month organic chemistry PhD studentship available for UK students in the O’Duill group at the University of Nottingham.
Start date: October 2022.
Application deadline: April 11th 2022. Apply on:

About the Project: Hypervalent iodine reagents for late-stage functionalisation

Heteroatom alkylation is one of the most widely used reactions in medicinal chemistry. However, traditional approaches (Williamson/Mitsunobu reactions; metal-catalysed cross-coupling) are limited and there is a need for reliable methods for quick and selective alkylation of hindered nucleophiles. The aim of this PhD project is to address this challenge and develop new hypervalent iodine reagents for late-stage alkylation. The specific focus of the project will be defined in collaboration with the successful applicant.

The position is a 42-month, fully-funded PhD studentship starting in October 2022. This funding covers the payment of tuition fees at the UK/Home rate and gives you a tax-free stipend at the standard UKRI rate (currently £15,609 per year). Due to funding restrictions this position can unfortunately not be offered to EU or international students.

The O’Duill group is based in the School of Chemistry, University Park, University of Nottingham (for more information about postgraduate study at Nottingham, click here). During this project you will receive extensive training in organic synthesis and catalysis, reaction screening for methodology development and analytical techniques (NMR, MS, X-ray). You will also have the opportunity to present your research at conferences.

We are looking for UK home students with an interest in organic synthesis and catalysis. If you are expecting to graduate by summer 2022 with a first or 2:1 degree in chemistry or natural sciences specialising in chemistry and are excited to develop new reagents in a dynamic and growing research group, we would love to hear from you. Please contact Dr Miriam O’Duill (miriam.oduill(at) if you want to know more about the project or the research group.

To apply, please:

1.   Apply to the School of Chemistry via the link found on , stating Dr Miriam O’Duill as the potential supervisor.

2.   Send your CV (max 2 pages) and a cover letter to miriam.oduill(at)

The position will remain open until filled, but active review of applications will start on April 11th, so application by this date is highly recommended.

EPSRC postdoc position available

In a nutshell:
We are hiring! Postdoc position available from April 1st or as soon as possible thereafter.
Project: design, synthesis and reactivity of hypervalent iodine reagents for late-stage alkylation
Duration: 36 months
Deadline: 10th March 2022
Apply here:

More detailed information:
Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Associate/Fellow in Synthetic Organic Chemistry and Catalysis to work under the supervision of Dr Miriam O’Duill in the School of Chemistry, University of Nottingham for a period of 36 months. This post is funded by the EPSRC project ‘Alkyl(aryl)iodonium Reagents for Late-Stage Alkylation’ which investigates the design, synthesis and reactivity of hypervalent iodine reagents. 

The successful candidate will develop new alkyl(aryl)iodonium reagents, gain an understanding of their stability through mechanistic studies and demonstrate their usefulness as late-stage alkylating agents in catalysis. The candidate will write high quality scientific research articles, present research at national and international conferences, liaise with academic collaborators, contribute to the supervision of student projects and to the maintenance and smooth running of the research laboratory.

Successful candidates must have a PhD (or near completion)  in organic chemistry. In addition, candidates should have hands-on experience in synthetic organic chemistry and methodology development, including reactivity and mechanistic investigations. Experience with hypervalent iodine reagents is advantageous, but not essential. Excellent oral and written communication skills, teamworking skills, the ability to manage the day-to-day running of a research project and a track record of high-quality publications are expected. If English is not the candidate’s first language, they must provide evidence that they meet the University’s minimum English Language requirements (IELTS 6.0 with at least 5.5 in each element).

The post is available from 1st April 2022 and is fixed term for 36 months. 

Information about the School of Chemistry can be found at The School of Chemistry values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity. The School holds a Silver Athena SWAN Award in recognition of our commitment to advancing women’s careers in science. You can read more about what this means at

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Dr Miriam O’Duill, email: miriam.oduill(at) Please note that applications sent directly to this email address will not be accepted. Formal applications are to be made online by 10th March 2022.

PhD Projects in Sustainable Chemistry

Fully funded PhD studentships available at the University of Nottingham EPSRC and SFI CDT in Sustainable Chemistry: HeatToPower investigates the synthesis and characterisation of thermoelectric materials to address sustainability challenges by converting waste heat into electricity. We are looking for organic, inorganic or physical chemists to take on the challenge of preparing new and exciting molecular thermoelectrics.

We will provide research training in synthetic or theoretical skills leading to a core PhD in chemistry but will also afford opportunities to work across disciplinary boundaries with physics and engineering co-investigators to optimise, characterise and exploit these materials’ thermoelectric performance as part of a multidisciplinary team. These posts would ideally suit those with a strong interest in sustainability and in the search for scientific and technical solutions to global energy issues.

More information available in this studentship ad (pdf) or in this video.

Apply here, or email miriam.oduill(at) for informal inquiries.

Deadline: 25. February 2022.

Andrew joins the lab

A big welcome to Andrew Greener, who joined the O’Duill group this month as its very first Nottingham PhD student!

After completing an MSc in the James group at the University of York where he worked on transition-metal-free cross-coupling reactions, Andrew will investigate the design, synthesis and reactivity of hypervalent iodine reagents.

Marie Sklodowska Curie Postdoctoral Fellowships 2021

The University of Nottingham School of Chemistry is inviting expressions of interest for the current Marie Skldowska Curie Postdoctoral Fellowships (MSCA PF) 2021 call under the Horizon Europe programme. If you have an interest in catalysis and methodology development for late-stage functionalisation and would like to develop a Fellowship application for a postdoctoral position in the O’Duill group, please get in touch!

Expressions of interest are required by July 20th 2021. Please click here for more information. Please contact miriam.oduill(at) before this date for an informal discussion.

A Guide to Directing Group Removal: 8‐Aminoquinoline in press

Do you use directing groups in catalysis and struggle to remove them at the end of a synthesis? Liam has utilised the time out of the lab during lockdown to bring you this review on how to remove 8-aminoquinoline, one of the most popular N,N-bidentate directing groups used in C–H activation and alkene functionalisation. We hope to provide a useful end-users’ guide for chemists in academia and industry who are considering using this powerful directing group—and want to be able to remove it from their final products.

For a link to the paper, click here:

We are hiring!

Fully-funded 42-month PhD studentship available for UK or European students in the field of catalysis. Application deadline: March 1st 2021. More information on and below:

Catalytic labelling methods for the deuteration and fluorination of drug targets

The incorporation of isotopes such as deuterium, tritium or fluorine-18 into molecules is instrumental in medicinal chemistry: Deuterium and tritium labelling is required for preclinical ADME studies and clinical trials,1 deuteration can improve the metabolic stability, pharmacokinetics and toxicity profile of drugs,2 and fluorine-18 is the isotope of choice for positron emission tomography (PET) – an in vivo imaging technique that is used both for diagnostics and in the drug development process.3 Developing new, selective functionalisation reactions that allow for the incorporation of these isotopes at a late stage in the synthesis is therefore of utmost importance and interest. 

The aim of this PhD project is to address this challenge and develop reactions for the late-stage deuteration, tritiation and fluorination of drug-like molecules using transition-metal catalysed and metal-free, organocatalytic methods. The specific focus of the project will be defined in collaboration with the successful applicant.

Based in the School of Chemistry, University of Nottingham, this project will provide extensive training in organic synthesis and catalysis, reaction screening for methodology development and analytical techniques (NMR, MS, X-ray). 

Candidates will have a chemistry degree with a strong interest in catalysis and methodology development. The starting date for the project is flexible: Apr 2021 or, ideally, Oct 2021. Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact Dr Miriam O’Duill (miriam.oduill(at) for more details or enquires about the project.

Formal applications should be made online through the University of Nottingham’s online application system: Please also send a cover letter and CV to miriam.oduill(at) detailing your previous research experience and current research interests. Applications are open until March 1st 2021.

Funding notes

Fully funded studentship to commence before Oct 2021. UK students – tuition fees paid and full stipend, tax-free, for 42 months at the RCUK rate (currently £15,285 per annum). EU students eligible and considered as UK students if available to start by Aug 2021, please get in touch for further details.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have, or expected to achieve, a First Class or good 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in chemistry and an interest in catalysis. Substantial research experience will be advantageous.
If English is not the candidate’s first language, they must provide evidence before the beginning of the studentship that they meet the University minimum English Language requirements (IELTS 6.0 with at least 5.5 in each element).


1. Atzrodt, J.; Derdau, V.; Kerr, W. J.; Reid, M. Deuterium‐ and Tritium‐Labelled Compounds: Applications in the Life Sciences, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2018, 57, 1758–1887.
2. Lowe, D. In The Pipeline, (accessed 6.12.2020)
3. S. Purser, P. R. Moore, S. Swallow, V. Gouverneur, Fluorine in medicinal chemistry, Chemical Society Reviews 2008, 2008, 320–330.

Sapientia urbs conditur

I am excited to be starting my new post as Assistant Professor at the University of Nottingham today (albeit remotely).

I would like to thank all of my colleagues and students at NUI Galway – I thoroughly enjoyed working with all of you and have learned a lot in the last 2.5 years. I am looking forward to meeting my new colleagues in Nottingham soon and welcoming my first students into the lab there. Please get in touch with miriam.oduill(at) if you are interested in joining us.