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News Stories from the Department of ChemistryRSS

2008 Syngenta Postgraduate Scholarships2008 Syngenta Postgraduate Scholarships

Peter Lindsay-Scott and Timothy O’Riordan, graduate students from Prof. Tim Donohoe’s group, and also William Unsworth from Dr Jeremy Robertson's group were awarded the 2008 Syngenta Postgraduate Scholarships in Organic Chemistry, after completing a three-day workshop at the Syngenta research facilities at Jealott’s Hill in Berkshire. Syngenta is a leader in crop protection, and ranks third in the high-value commercial seeds market, employing over 21,000 people in more than 90 countries.

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Distinguished Technopreneur Award 2008Distinguished Technopreneur Award 2008

Professor Steve Davies was recently awarded the first Distinguished Technopreneur Award 2008 by A* Exploit Technologies, Singapore for his outstanding achievements in science, innovation and entrepreneurship

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President of the Republic of SloveniaPresident of the Republic of Slovenia

Dr Danilo Türk, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, visited the Chemistry Research Laboratory to meet with Slovenian chemistry students to see and hear how they undertake their studies and research at the University of Oxford.

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Nature News Feature Highlights NanoporesNature News Feature Highlights Nanopores

Oxford Nanopore Technologies founded by Professor Bayley in 2005 has been highlighted in a news feature in Nature titled "Standard and Pores - Could the next generation of genetic sequencing machines be built from a collection of miniscule holes". The article describes the company's current technological breakthroughs and future developments in the field of nanopore sequencing. Nanopore sequencing has the potential to sequence DNA directly from cells without amplification, modification or use of expensive reagents such as fluorescent tags.

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2008 AstraZeneca Research Award2008 AstraZeneca Research Award

Dr Michael Willis has been awarded a 2008 AstraZeneca Research Award in Organic Chemistry. He delivered his award lecture, titled "Exploring New Asymmetry and Reactivity using Transition Metal Catalysis", at a symposium held at AstraZeneca's Alderley Park site on Tuesday 4th November. The AstraZeneca awards have been awarded annually since 1990; one to a UK academic and one to a researcher from continental Europe.

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SANDWICH OF THE DAYSANDWICH OF THE DAY

Recent work conducted by Dr Andrew Ashley and Robert Cooper of the O’Hare group has been published in J. Am. Chem. Soc. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1021%2Fja8057138) and subsequently highlighted in Nature Chemistry and Chemical & Engineering News. Their synthesis and comprehensive characterisation of a new ‘higher order’ class of metallocenes of the first-row transition metals (V-Ni) was achieved using the permethylpentalene (C8Me6; Pn*) ligand framework (http://www.wipo.int/pctdb/en/ia.jsp?ia=GB2008/000818). The compounds were found to exhibit markedly different behaviour to their mononuclear bis-cyclopentadienyl (Cp2M) counterparts.

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Oxford Teaching Awards 2007-2008Oxford Teaching Awards 2007-2008

Drs Hugh Cartwright and Malcolm Stewart have have been recognised for their proactive and innovative approach to the teaching and learning of practical chemistry. They have also been given a project grant for teaching development.

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"Spin-Outs" by Graham Richards

Professor Graham Richards former Chairman of the Department will shortly publish a book titled "Spin-Outs - Creating Businesses from University Intellectual Property". The book paints the general picture and imparts the lessons learned by the University of Oxford (the leading UK university in spin-out activity), while being given a real-life focus by illustrating the businesses in which the author has been involved. The book provides information for universities about what can be achieved and how. It also provides guidance to the entrepreneur with thoughts of creating a high-tech company: the pitfalls, the problems and what is needed, as well as an indication of the potential benefits to all concerned.

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History of the Dyson Perrins LaboratoryHistory of the Dyson Perrins Laboratory

A book titled "THE DYSON PERRINS LABORATORY AND OXFORD ORGANIC CHEMISTRY 1916-2004" by Rachel Curtis, Catherine Leith, Joshua Nall, and John Jones, has recently been published. The book covers primarily a history of Oxford University’s Dyson Perrins Laboratory, which was opened in 1916 and was the base of one of the world’s leading Departments of Organic Chemistry until 2003.

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2008 Lilly Organic Chemistry Postgraduate Symposium Prizes2008 Lilly Organic Chemistry Postgraduate Symposium Prizes

Katherine Bogle, a graduate student from the Darren Dixon group and Timothy O’Riordan, a graduate student from the Tim Donohoe group, were awarded prizes at the 2008 Lilly Organic Chemistry Postgraduate Symposium held at Lilly’s UK research site at Windlesham in Surrey. Their presentations entitled 'An Oxidative Coupling for the Synthesis of Arylated Quaternary Stereocentres' and 'Studies towards the Total Synthesis of Oxazolomycin' were chosen by the plenary speakers Prof. Manfred Reetz, Prof. Eric Carreira and Lilly employees for the awards.

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John Denham MP VisitJohn Denham MP Visit

John Denham the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills was shown around the Chemistry Research Laboratory, October 2008. He also had a round table discussion with the VC John Hood and Heads of Divisions.

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Poster Prize for Sarah TaylorPoster Prize for Sarah Taylor

Sarah Taylor, a graduate student working with Gus Hancock and Grant Ritchie in the PTCL, has won a prize for the best poster at the 17th European Conference on Dynamics of Molecular Systems (MOLEC XVII) held in St. Petersberg in August. The poster was entitled "Frequency Modulated Circular Dichroism Spectroscopy: Application to ICN photolysis" and describes diode laser absorption measurements of the Doppler shifts for both alignment and orientation of quantum state resolved CN fragments following uv photolysis of the parent molecule. She was presented with the prize at the conference dinner by the conference chair, Prof Oleg Vasyutinskii from the Ioffe Institute, St.Petersburg, Russia.

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Inside Cover Story in Angewandte Chemie International EditionInside Cover Story in Angewandte Chemie International Edition

A paper by Marie Schuler from the Gouverneur’s Group is illustrated in Angewandte Chemie. The paper describes how Gold(I) catalyst teamed with selectfluor produce trifluorinated dihydropyranones from difluoroynones under mild conditions page 7927 ff. This gold chemistry is encouraging for the synthesis of architecturally complex polyfluorinated targets combining fluorinated precursors with electrophilic fluorinating reagents. The illustration was produced by Dr. Karl Harrison

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Hot Article in Chemical CommunicationsHot Article in Chemical Communications

The work of Jon Selby, a D.Phil student from Prof. Mountford's group is currently a Hot Article in Chemical Communications. In collaboration with colleagues from France and Australia, the authors have demonstrated for the first time 2+2 cycloaddition products to transition metal hydrazides, the key intermediates in the conversion of N2 to ammonia.

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Lilly Prizes for Excellence in Organic Chemistry Research - 2007/2008Lilly Prizes for Excellence in Organic Chemistry Research - 2007/2008

These prizes are awarded for excellence in the first year of postgraduate study and are assessed on the quality of experimental work, written submission and viva voce at the point of examination for PRS transfer of status to DPhil status. Winners for 2007/2008: Cedric Callens (Supervisor: Professor Tim Donohoe), Guy Giuffredi (Supervisor: Professor Veronique Gouverneur), Ruhma Syeda (Supervisor: Professor Hagan Bayley)
The following students were awarded a commendation for their work on transfer from PRS to DPhil status: Keri Backus (Supervisor: Professor Ben Davis), Matthew Hopkinson (Supervisor: Professor Veronique Gouverneur), Mitul Patel (Supervisor: Professor Ben Davis), Philip Scott (Supervisor: Professor Steve Davies), Rob Snell (Supervisor: Dr Michael Willis)

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Inhibox launches DrugFinderInhibox launches DrugFinder

InhibOx Limited announces the launch of a free hit identification service, devised by Professor Graham Richards of the Chemistry Department of the University. It will enable research groups in academia and biotechnology companies to exploit an increasingly important starting point for novel drug discovery, namely, crystal structures of target proteins with an inhibitor bound in the active site

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Dalton Prize for the Best Oral Presentation awarded to Dr. Jose GoicoecheaDalton Prize for the Best Oral Presentation awarded to Dr. Jose Goicoechea

Jose Goicoechea has been awarded the Dalton Prize for the Best Oral Presentation at the 2008 MICRA meeting held at the University of Leicester (8th-10th of September). MICRA meetings are a biannual event which provide an excellent opportunity for younger Inorganic chemists to meet one another and to present their work. The prize, awarded for the best oral presentation out of a total of 31 talks, was presented to Dr. Goicoechea for his lecture: 'Chemistry in highly reductive media: the solution reactivity of group 14 Zintl ions'.

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Professor Ben Davis wins the Wain Medal Lecture AwardProfessor Ben Davis wins the Wain Medal Lecture Award

The 2008 Wain Medal has been awarded to Professor Ben Davis from the Department of Chemistry, University of Oxford. The Wain Medal presentation and lecture, entitled 'Life is Sweet: Sugars in Nature', will take place at the University of Kent. The lecture is free and open to all, and will be presented in a way that is accessible to scientists and non-scientists alike.

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Hot Paper in Molecular BioSystemsHot Paper in Molecular BioSystems

Joint work by the Bayley and Wallace research groups has been highlighted by the RSC and Hagan Bayley describes in an interview the significance of this novel work. The research concerns Droplet interface bilayers (DIBs) which can provide a superior platform for the biophysical analysis of membrane proteins. The versatile DIBs can also form networks, with features that include built-in batteries and sensors.

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Isis licenses pH sensor technology to Phathom Nanosensors Isis licenses pH sensor technology to Phathom Nanosensors

A novel solid-state pH sensor technology invented at the University of Oxford is to be further developed and commercialised by San Francisco Bay Area based company Phathom Nanosensors Inc. The University’s technology transfer company, Isis Innovation has licensed the technology – originally developed for monitoring pH in oil wells – to Phathom, who will adapt it for other industries. The first industrial segment will be pharmaceutical, but measurement and control of pH is also vital in other industries such as water, food & beverage and chemical manufacturing.

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New Departmental ProfessorshipNew Departmental Professorship

The department is delighted to announce that the Vice-Chancellor has conferred the title of Professor on Véronique Gouverneur with immediate effect.

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Chemical Modification of Proteins Highlighted in Nature Chemical BiologyChemical Modification of Proteins Highlighted in Nature Chemical Biology

Recent work in the Ben Davis group has been highlighted in the current issue of Nature Chemical Biology. The research details the chemical incorporation of dehydroalanine on protein surfaces and its use in selective protein modification. This research has set a new benchmark in the precise chemical alteration of bio-macromolecules, including the first examples of olefin-cross metathesis on a protein.

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Prestigious Award for Dr. John Brown (CRL)Prestigious Award for Dr. John Brown (CRL)

Dr. John Brown (CRL) has been awarded a two-year Leverhulme Emeritus Fellowship for the project 'Understanding and extending homogeneous catalysis'. The purpose of the Fellowships is to 'assist senior established researchers to complete a research project that has already been begun and to prepare the results for publication'. Of thirty-three awards in the 2008 round, this was the only one to be made to a chemist.

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Symposium Poster PrizeSymposium Poster Prize

Sarah Gowrie, a Graduate Student from Gus Hancock’s group in the PTCL, has won a prize sponsored by PCCP for the best poster at the 20th International Symposium on Gas Kinetics held in July in Manchester. Her poster was entitled 'The fate of collisionally quenched NO A2Σ+ (v=0)', and she is shown receiving her prize at the conference banquet (held at Old Trafford Football Ground), presented by Professor Piergiorgio Casavecchia of the University of Perugia, the winner of the 2008 Polanyi Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

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Dr Christopher Blanford wins Career Advancement FellowshipDr Christopher Blanford wins Career Advancement Fellowship

Dr Christopher Blanford has been awarded a competitive five-year Career Advancement Fellowship from the Energy and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). He was one of just 23 successful recipients out of 437 applicants. The £943,000 grant will allow him to develop his research in quantifying the interactions between redox enzymes and surfaces, designing three-dimensional electrodes compatible with biological macromolecules, and engineering new, green cathodes for small-scale fuel cells.

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New horizons in chemical and photochemical dynamicsNew horizons in chemical and photochemical dynamics

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has recently awarded a research grant worth almost £6 million over five years to a team of academics from the Chemistry Department of the University of Oxford and colleagues from the University of Bristol’s School of Chemistry. The consortium comprises Professor Mark Brouard, Professor David Clary FRS, Professor Gus Hancock, Dr Grant Ritchie, Professor Tim Softley, and Dr Claire Vallance from the Chemistry Department and Professor Andrew Orr-Ewing, Professor Mike Ashfold, Professor Jeremy Harvey and Dr Fred Manby from the School of Chemistry in Bristol. The grant, entitled New horizons in chemical and photochemical dynamics, will enable the team to carry out experimental and theoretical investigations of the fundamental mechanisms by which chemical reactions occur, and has been one of the first awarded under the EPSRC new Programme Grants scheme in Chemistry

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CRL Research the Subject of Angewandte Highlight ArticleCRL Research the Subject of Angewandte Highlight Article

Recent work from Natalie Coombs in the Aldridge group on group 13 analogues of the classical organometallic ligands CO and N2, published earlier this year in J. Am. Chem. Soc., is the subject of an Angewandte Chemie highlight article.

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Royal Society Chemistry Award for Dr Véronique GouverneurRoyal Society Chemistry Award for Dr Véronique Gouverneur

Véronique Gouverneur has received the RSC Bader Award 2008 for her important contribution to synthetic organofluorine chemistry. This Award was founded by an endowment from Dr Alfred Bader to recognise eminence in organic chemistry.

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2008 Horace S. Isbell Award for Professor Ben Davis2008 Horace S. Isbell Award for Professor Ben Davis

Professor Ben Davis has been awarded by the ACS Carbohydrate Division the 2008 Horace S. Isbell Award for outstanding contributions to the field of carbohydrate chemistry. The award recognizes carbohydrate scientists under the age of 41 who have demonstrated excellence in the field and show promise of continuing to make high-quality contributions to carbohydrate chemistry and biochemistry. It is the first time someone in the UK has won this honour.

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Part II Research Highlighted in Chemical & Engineering NewsPart II Research Highlighted in Chemical & Engineering News

A recent publication from the Ben Davis group was highlighted in C&E News. The work was led by Yuya Angel Lin, a Part II student from Keble College. The authors have discovered that allyl sulfides are efficient substrates in aqueous cross-metathesis. The enhanced reactivity derives from a unique sulfur relay of the alkene to the ruthenium catalyst. The high reactivity of allyl sulfides in cross-metathesis was exploited in the first examples of cross-metathesis on a protein surface, setting a new standard in substrate sensitivity and complexity in olefin metathesis and expanding the toolkit for protein modification.

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