I studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge, graduating in 1985. I remained at Cambridge under the supervision of Dr Stuart Warren to obtain my PhD studying the synthesis of vinylisoxazoles as synthons for unsaturated amine derivatives. In 1989 I moved to Imperial College to join the group of Prof. Steve Ley as the holder of the Merck, Sharp and Dohm postdoctoral research fellowship. My postdoctoral work included the study of allyltricarbonyliron lactone and lactam complexes, applications to total synthesis, and asymmetric catalysis. In 1991, I was appointed a lecturer in Organic Chemistry at Newcastle University and since that time have developed projects in synthetic methodology, asymmetric synthesis and chiral catalysis, and transition metal mediated reactions.
My School responsibilities include:
Chairman of the undergraduate Board of Examiners in Chemistry
Industrial placement co-ordinator
Distance learning co-ordinator
At University level, I am a member of:
The Blackboard Steering Group; the ReCap Steering Group; and the UTLC Standing Committee for Programme Approval.
My current research interests involve:
The development of new synthetic methodology.
The design and application of new ligands for asymmetric catalysis.
Development of novel immobilized ligands.
The latter two aspects of my research are supported by a strong collaboration with Dr Simon Doherty.
We are developing the synthesis of heterocycles by palladium catalysed carbonylation and cycloaddition chemistry as a route to piperidine and indolizidine alkaloids, imino sugars, piperazine, and isoquinoline targets.
We have an interest in the design of oxazoline-based ligands for asymmetric catalysis. Our current focus is on the use of Hartwig-Buchwald amination for the modular construction of new ligands. We are studying the application of these ligands in enantioselective Lewis acid catalysed processes.
We have recently begun the development of new chiral and tropos diphosphines for applications in hydroformylation, CO-ethylene copolymerisation and fundamental transformations such as asymmetric hydrogenation, cross couplings, and aminations.
We are also interested in preparing novel immobilized ligands. We are currently investigating the use of imidazolium-tagged bisoxazolines for catalysis in ionic liquids.
I currently supervise two PhD students in areas of synthetic methodology, ligand design, and catalysis.
Our work on catalysis is relevant to industries involved in the synthesis of organic compounds and polymers.
I am module leader/course organiser for the following:
Basic Organic Chemistry
Group assignment in chemistry or chemistry with medicinal chemistry
Advanced practical organic chemistry
Organic synthesis for drug targets
Advanced problem solving