In the O’Duill group, we are interested in the development of reagents and catalytic methods to sustainably convert cheap, simple feedstock chemicals into structurally complex products, through the selective construction of C–X bonds (X = C, D, F). Current projects focus on hypervalent iodine chemistry, catalytic deuteration of pharmaceutically relevant small molecules and the design and synthesis of fluorinated medical imaging probes (PET tracers).

Our group’s goal is to address these challenges using mechanistic insights to develop catalytic transformations. The interdisciplinary nature of our research projects allows students to gain experience in synthetic organic, physical organic, organometallic, and fluorine chemistry, as well as related disciplines in and outside of chemistry.

We gratefully acknowledge financial support from the EPSRC/UKRI, the University of Nottingham, the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), and the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI).

Lay summary:

Molecules are the building blocks of modern life: They are the pharmaceuticals that cure us when we are ill, the agrochemicals that protect our crops, and some can even transform heat into electricity. But making these molecules is not always straightforward. In the O’Duill group, we develop new reactions that allow us to make molecules. We aim to understand the reaction mechanisms in detail, and use this understanding to develop more sustainable chemistry (e.g. using catalysts, and/or alternatives to precious metals).