After a week of very cold weather (where has the summer gone?), the sun came out for our lab picnic yesterday. Thank you to everyone for your hard work – here’s to another great year of chemistry!
Marie Curie Expression of Interest now open
The Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Postdoctoral Fellowships 2023 call is now open, and the University of Nottingham School of Chemistry is inviting potential applicants to submit an expression of interest by Wednesday, 7th June.
If you are interested in developing a proposal on hypervalent iodine chemistry or late-stage fluorination with the O’Duill group, please get in touch with miriam.oduill(at)nottingham.ac.uk as soon as possible. Full details can be found on the school’s fellowship website.
PhD studentships available
Join our team! We have two fully-funded PhD studentships available (for UK students only, due to funding restrictions).
- Project 1 investigates medical imaging agents for the diagnosis and treatment of bacterial infections. Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a non-invasive diagnostic tool that is used e.g. in cancer diagnosis and treatment monitoring. We are interested in expanding its use to bacterial infections. Tracers for this application will be designed, and isotopically labelled with fluorine and deuterium. Their application as imaging agents will be investigated in collaboration with Dr Helen Betts at the Nottingham University Hospital.
To apply to this project by 19 April 2023, follow this link to the Nottingham CDT website and apply to the DISRUPT theme.
- In project 2, radical precursors for atmospheric chemistry studies will be synthesised. As human emissions are reduced to Net Zero, emissions from plants – so-called biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) – will become major contributors to climate effects. However, the effect of these BVOCs on the climate is not understood very well yet. In this project, we will synthesise small molecular probes to mimic BVOCs, which the Atmospheric Chemistry group under Rabi Chhantyal Pun will submit to photochemical studies to gain a better understanding of their effects on climate.
To apply to this project, by 30 March 2023, email miriam.oduill(at)nottingham.ac.uk with a CV and cover letter.
To find out more about the two projects, please email miriam.oduill(at)nottingham.ac.uk.
 M. G. Campbell, J. Mercier, C. Genicot, V. Gouverneur, J. M. Hooker, T. Ritter, Nature Chemistry 2017, 9, 1.
 Z. Feng, X. Yuan, S. Fares, F. Loreto, P. Li, Y. Hoshika, E. Paoletti, Plant, Cell & Environment 2019, 42, 1939.
LGBT+ history month
In this month’s University of Nottingham EDI blog, Miriam and Andy highlight the importance of role models and supportive peers for young scientists from underrepresented groups. Read about Nobel laureate Carolyn Bertozzi, discrimination and M&Ms here: Sweet success for female Nobel laureate.
PhD studentship available in synthetic and atmospheric chemistry
PhD Studentship: Synthesis of Small Molecule Probes for Atmospheric Chemistry Studies
A fully-funded 42-month chemistry PhD studentship ‘Synthesis of small molecule probes for atmospheric chemistry studies‘ is available for a joint project in the research groups of Drs Miriam O’Duill and Rabi Chhantyal Pun at the University of Nottingham.
Start date: 2 October 2023. Application deadline: 15 March 2023.
The 21st century will see one of the largest changes in the chemical makeup of the atmosphere as countries around the world implement policies to meet the targets of net zero carbon emissions. As the anthropogenic carbon footprint decreases, biogenic emissions from plants are expected to become the main constituent of the lower atmosphere, but the oxidation chemistry and effect on climate of these molecules is not yet clearly understood. The aim of this PhD project is to synthesize small molecule mimics of biogenic emissions and perform photochemical studies to understand their oxidation mechanism. The organic synthesis will be carried out under the direction of Dr Miriam O’Duill, and photochemical studies will be performed under the direction of Dr Rabi Chhantyal Pun.
The O’Duill group is based in the GSK Carbon Neutral Laboratory, and the Chhantyal Pun group (https://rcpchem.com/) is based in the School of Chemistry, University of Nottingham. During this project you will receive extensive training in organic synthesis, analytical techniques (NMR, mass spec, UV, IR) and laser-based photochemical studies. You will also have the opportunity to present your research at conferences.
Applications are invited from UK home students with an interest in organic synthesis and photochemistry. If you are expecting to graduate by summer 2023 with a first class or 2:1 degree in chemistry or natural science specializing in chemistry, we would love to hear from you. Substantial research experience in organic synthesis and analysis will be highly advantageous. Please contact Drs O’Duill (email@example.com) or Chhantyal Pun (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want to know more about the project.
To apply, please:
1. Send your CV (max 2 pages) and a cover letter to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Apply to the School of Chemistry https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/pgstudy/how-to-apply/apply-online.aspx, stating Dr Miriam O’Duill and Dr Rabi Chhantyal Pun as the potential supervisors.
Funding Notes: The position is a 42-month, fully-funded PhD studentship starting in October 2023. 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 £17,668 per year). Due to funding restrictions this position can unfortunately not be offered to EU or international students.
Deadline: Review of applications will start on Wednesday 15th March 2023, and the position will be filled as soon as a suitable person has been found; hence you are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.
PhD studentships available
Fully funded PhD studentships – DISRUPT: Disruptive processes for late-stage functionalisation in chemical synthesis
Closing Date: Friday, 6th January 2023
Apply here: https://suschem-nottingham-cdt.ac.uk/index.php/apply
The EPSRC and SFI Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Sustainable Chemistry at the University of Nottingham is offering three 48-month PhD studentships in organic chemistry in its thematic area “DISRUPT: Disruptive processes for late-stage functionalisation in chemical synthesis”.
The pharmaceutical industry is a large contributor to the UK’s carbon footprint. To meet current Net Zero goals, sustainable processes are required for the synthesis of high-value chemicals (pharmaceuticals, materials, etc.). DISRUPT aims to address this challenge by delivering new methodology for late-stage functionalisation of pharmaceutically relevant molecules. Projects will develop new reactions to access target molecules and investigate their application in drug discovery, drug delivery and medical imaging.
Examples of potential research areas in the theme include:
- Development of novel photocatalytic reactions for C-H functionalisation of complex molecules (e.g., pharmaceuticals), and prediction of their selectivity.
- Biocatalytic & enzymatic strategies for the modular chemical modification of drug targets.
- Transition-metal catalysed isotopic labelling of medical (PET) imaging agents for the diagnosis and treatment of bacterial infections.
- Selective functionalisation of biocompatible polymers for therapeutic applications, such as non-invasive monitoring of cancer drug delivery in real time.
The first year of this CDT involves a student-focused and individually tailored series of technical and laboratory training courses and workshops, designed to provide the students with the skills and confidence required to successfully undertake their PhD project. We will provide research training in synthetic organic chemistry leading to a core PhD in chemistry, but the projects will also provide opportunities to work across disciplinary boundaries with co-investigators from the schools of pharmacy, medicine, engineering and computer science. With the support of their academic mentors, the students also have the unique opportunity to co-design and develop the research projects which they will focus on in years 2-4 of their studies.
The academic mentors in the theme are: Dr Miriam O’Duill (School of Chemistry); Prof. Cameron Alexander (School of Pharmacy); Dr Helen Betts (Nottingham University Hospital); Dr James Cuthbertson (School of Chemistry); Dr Kistaps Ermanis (School of Chemistry); Dr Grazziela Figueredo (School of Computer Science); Prof. Anna Grabowska (School of Medicine); Dr Anca Pordea (School of Engineering); Dr Mattia Silvi (School of Chemistry).
Applicants should have, or are expected to achieve, a First Class or good 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in chemistry or natural sciences specialising in chemistry. Research experience will be advantageous. The University of Nottingham and our CDT are committed to providing an inclusive study environment for all students. We welcome applications from candidates from different backgrounds and protected characteristics.
For more information about the research topics, please contact Dr Miriam O’Duill at miriam.oduill(at)nottingham.ac.uk. For more information about the programme and how to apply, please visit: https://suschem-nottingham-cdt.ac.uk/index.php/apply
Application deadline 6th January 2023.
Welcome to the O’Duill group!
It’s been an exciting summer for the O’Duill group. We moved into the GSK Carbon Neutral Laboratory on Jubilee Campus (a big thank you to Andrew for doing most of the heavy lifting!), and expanded the group.
Suman Das joined us from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, for a 3-year postdoc. He immediately set out to expand and improve our set-up for air- and moisture-free chemistry in the lab.
Charlotte McIvor finished her MChem at Northumbria University and has started her PhD here. She will be applying her experience with Fe(III) chelators to I(III) chemistry.
We also welcome Georgia Brown, Laura Carter and Rory Cunningham, who will be doing their MSci projects in the group this year.
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.
The University of Nottingham Institute for Policy and Engagement runs a monthly Science Public Lecture Series (open to the general public and free to attend), and I had great fun last week talking about alchemy, how catalysts help us make molecules, and why we might want to destroy them again. A recording of my lecture can be found here: Molecule Makers.
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: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/jobs/currentvacancies/ref/SCI018822
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 http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/chemistry. 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 https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/chemistry/about/athena-swan.aspx.
Informal enquiries may be addressed to Dr Miriam O’Duill, email: miriam.oduill(at)nottingham.ac.uk. Please note that applications sent directly to this email address will not be accepted. Formal applications are to be made online https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/jobs/currentvacancies/ref/SCI018822 by 10th March 2022.