Research Highlight

Dr Stephen Mansell has written an article in The Conversation detailing the discovery and uses of radium over the last 120 years. Discovered in time for Christmas in 1898, the story of radium is one of boom-to-bust as the effects of its high radioactivity to health were realised. However, the development of radiation therapy, and the knowledge about radioactivity that came with the discovery of radium remain hugely important.

Research Highlight

Cathryn Shepherd Cathryn Shepherd, who is currently a second year PhD student under the supervision of Dr Gareth O. Lloyd, won a RSC Advances Outstanding Poster Prize at the recently held 7th EuCheMS Chemistry Congress in Liverpool. Cathryn's work highlighted the recently developed dynamic covalent chemistry of 1,3,4,2-dioxazaboroles.

Annual PhD Talks

The ICS final year PhD students gave talks on their research to Institute members on the 14th June. After a range of excellent talks covering synthetic, physical and theoretical/computational chemistry, two students were selected as equal prizewinners.

Danica Pinto (supervisor Dr Hendrik Nahler) for her talk 'Transportable CELIF Set-up Design' and Dan Sutherland (supervisor Dr Ai-Lan Lee) for his talk 'Advancements in Selective Gold Catalysis'. Danica and Dan are pictured accepting their prizes from the Head of the Institute of Chemical Sciences, Professor Kenneth McKendrick.

Professor Kenneth McKendrick and Danica PintoProfessor Kenneth McKendrick and Dan Sutherland

Research Highlight

Dr Mairi Haddow

Dr. Mairi Haddow has joined the Institute of Chemical Sciences as a Daphne Jackson Fellow with funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). Dr. Haddow will be working on developing computational techniques for the modelling of guest molecules in porous materials. This project is being carried out in partnership with OlexSys, which produces the freely available crystallography program Olex2.

Research Highlight

Heriot-Watt agrees major capital investment in NMR. The University is investing >£160K in the Heriot-Watt NMR operation, hosted by ICS. The new funding will enable the replacement of our oldest existing console and workstation with new units, thus building, effectively, a new spectrometer. Promising a step-change in reliability and resilience, the new hardware will also facilitate new experiments and reduce acquisition times for existing ones. Records show that usage of the three spectrometers has doubled over the previous eight years as the applications of NMR across chemistry, chemical engineering, materials and life sciences has expanded rapidly. Since the time of the last significant upgrade in 2010, Heriot-Watt has invested c.a. £250K in NMR.

New hardware

Grant success

Heriot-Watt NMR benefits from £1.4 million EPSRC funding package. ICS is a partner in a successful submission to the recent EPSRC High-Field NMR Infrastructure Call, set to provide £20 million of funding to upgrade and renew the national high resolution NMR estate. The grant will allow upgrade of existing instrumentation at the University of Edinburgh, providing world-leading capability in both solid and solution phase observation. Members of the Scottish NMR Users Group (SNUG), including Heriot-Watt, all other major Scottish Universities, and the CRUK Beatson Institute, will have access to this new facility. An innovative business plan will ensure both a sustainable future for this exciting resource and initiate student training and public engagement events.

Dutch Students enjoy a visit to Edinburgh Campus

A large group of Masters students from Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, recently visited Heriot-Watt University and the Institute of Chemical Sciences. The student organisers of the trip reflected that the University visit had been "a great opportunity to learn of the outstanding and interesting research being undertaken in Edinburgh." A report of the visit is available here.

MChem Day 2018

Thanks to all who took part in a very successful MChem Day on 30 April. Final year students on MChem in house degrees showcased results from their research projects. There were many high quality talks and posters, and the following winners were voted by the students: (in order from top to bottom below) Dominic Taylor, Andrew Hall and Steven Welsh for the best talk in each of the parallel sessions and Malgorzata Kogut and Tatiana Rybintseva for the best posters. Well done!

Research Highlight

A paper on "Gold(I)-Catalysed Hydroarylation of 1,3-Disubstituted Allenes with Efficient Axial-to-Point Chirality Transfer" from the Lee Group has been published in Chem. Eur. J. as a "Very Important Paper", as judged by the referees. Congratulations to Dan Sutherland (3rd year PhD student), Luke Kinsman (MChem project student) and Stuart Angiolini (ICS undergraduate summer research student) who worked on the project. See: D. R. Sutherland, L. Kinsman, S. M. Angiolini, G. M. Rosair and A.-L. Lee,* Chem. Eur. J. 2018, DOI: 10.1002/chem.201800209 Twitter link here.

Research Highlight:

Our lively and enthusiastic PPICSS (PhDs and Post Docs of ICS Society) team were at the Edinburgh International Science Festival Family Open Day at Oriam on 14th April. At their drop-in stall the children could make slime to educate about polymers and non-Newtonian fluids, and their fully booked workshop introduced catalysis and chemiluminescence by making glow-sticks. The day was attended by over 5000 people, and over 500 visited the PPICSS stall.

Research Highlight:

A Communication 'Electrophilicity of Oxalic Acid Monomer is Enhanced in the Dimer by Intermolecular Proton Transfer', by Z.G. Keolopile, M.R. Ryder, B. Calzada, M. Gutowski, A.M. Buytendyk, J.D. Graham and K.H. Bowen, has been highlighted by the Editors of Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics as a HOT manuscript in 2017. We analyzed the effect of excess electron attachment on the network of hydrogen bonds in the oxalic acid (OA) dimer. The most stable anionic structures may be viewed as complexes of a neutral hydrogenated moiety HOA. coordinated to an anionic deprotonated moiety (OA-H)-. HOA. acts as a double proton donor and (OA-H)- as a double proton acceptor. The excess electron attachment drives intermolecular proton transfer.

Research Highlight:

Congratulations to Claire Lamb (2nd Year CRITICAT CDT student with Ai-Lan Lee and Filipe Vilella) for winning the runner-up poster prize at the 46th Scottish Regional Meeting of the RSC Organic Division – Perkin Meeting 9th January 2018 on her poster titled "Development of an Auto-Tandem Catalytic Dehydrogenation/Oxidative Heck Reactions on 2,2-Disubstituted Cyclopentanediones".