Welcome from the TG Group!


[Most of] The TG Group, in the TBSI Boardroom, September 2017.

The TG Supramolecular and Medicinal Chemistry Research Group is based in the School of Chemistry, Trinity College Dublin and is at the cutting edge of research into supramolecular structures, sensor design and materials development. The principal investigator is Professor Thorfinnur Gunnlaugsson.

The TG Group is housed in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute (TBSI), as part of the School of Chemistry. The School is divided between several institutes on and near the main campus, such as the Chemistry Building, the Sami Nasr Institute of Advanced Materials (SNIAM), the Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN) and TBSI (Map).

Make sure to follow our news and updates below:


A joint effort! New review accepted for publication in Chemical Society Reviews

A new review article “Molecular logic gates: the past, present and future” has been accepted for publication in Chem. Soc. Rev. (DOI: 10.1039/c7cs00491e). This review highlights recent developments in the area of developing molecular logic gates mimics and their applications in solution and within/on solid material. This contribution is a collaboration between Thorri, Tony 
D. James (University of Bath, UK), Juyoung Yoon (Ewha Womans University, S-Korea) and Engin U. Akkaya (Bilkent University, Turkey), who have known each other’s for a long time; having worked with A P de Silva, Seiji Shinkai and Tony Czarnik, respectively as PhD students or postdocs. This contribution was written in collaboration with Sundus Erbas Cakmak, Safacan Kolemen and Adam C. Sedgwick.

This is the second review published by this group, the first one being entitled ‘Fluorescent chemosensors: the past, present and future’, which was also published in Chem. Soc. Rev in 2017 (Chem.Soc.Rev.,2017,46,7105-7123; DOI: 10.1039/c7cs00240h).

A new paper accepted on supramolecular self-assembly and coordination chemistry in Dalton Transactions

Many congratulations to PhD student Amy Lynes and Dr. Chris Hawes (now at Keele University) who have in collaboration with Prof. Wolfgang Schmitt and Kevin Byrne (School of Chemistry TCD) had their paper: “Coordination chemistry of flexible benzene-1,3,5-tricarboxamide derived carboxylates; notable structural resilience and vaguely familiar packing motifs”, accepted for publication in Dalton Transaction. Another fantastic collaboration between these groups of researchers, the paper is available on line at the RSC Dalton Transactions website.

A new paper accepted on MOFs in Inorganic Chemistry

Many congratulations to former PhD student Eoin McCarney and Dr. Chris Hawes (now at Keele University, UK) who have in collaboration with Prof. Wolfgang Schmitt and Kevin Byrne (School of Chemistry, TCD) and Dr. Jon Kitchen (who has moved from University of Southampton to his native county of New Zealand to take up a new position at Massey University Albany, Auckland) have had their paper entitled: “A Lanthanide Luminescent Cation Exchange Material Derived from a Flexible Tricarboxylic Acid 2,6-Bis(1,2,3-triazol-4-yl)pyridine (btp) Tecton” accepted for publication in Inorganic Chemistry.

The article is available online at the ACS Inorganic Chemistry website.

Niamh Murphy in Nature article on “Teen spirit in the lab”

Niamh Murphy in the lab with PhD student Dermot Gillen

Future chemist Niamh Murphy, a part-time student in the group, was recently featured in the journal Nature, talking about her experiences working with the TG Group while at school and preparing for university.

Niamh first joined the group for a week of work experience in 2015 and has been returning during the 2017-2018 part-time, working with PhD student Dermot Gillen. Currently, Niamh is working on interesting Amonafide derivatives.


The article by Chris Woolston, in the Nature Careers section describes:

Nature - Teen spirit in the lab“The Gunnlaugsson lab made an impression on Niamh Murphy, who was 15 years old when she spent a week working there in November 2015. “It was like walking into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory,” Murphy says. “Everything was so new to me.” Murphy, who just turned 18, parlayed that week-long introduction into a 7-month stint as a lab assistant. She’ll finish that position in May, before starting studies in chemistry at the Dublin Institute of Technology. “I still feel like a puppy running around with a lot of older dogs,” she says. “

To me, column chromatography is so cool. But the postdocs do it every day.” […]  Murphy feels lucky to be in a lab where she can contribute to the research itself. Some teens she’s talked to, she says, have no chance to run equipment or perform other such tasks. She says that students should talk to lab alumni to determine whether the principal investigator will make teaching them a priority. “If you can find someone who is really invested in young people, like Thorri, you’ll be on your way,” she says.”

Also in the article, Thorri voiced his opinion on the benefits of welcoming young students into the lab, the benefits to them and to the wider public:

“We get quite a few requests,” he says. “We take them in for three or four weeks and let them do some experiments. They can see that scientists are not portrayed correctly on television most of the time. There’s a lot going on.” […] Gunnlaugsson says that he never expects adolescents to make immediate contributions to his lab, but he adds that his government grants over the years have imbued him with a sense of duty. “That’s money from the public, so we’re obliged to engage with the public,” he says. “We have to let them know what we’re doing.” Opening the doors to adolescents is an important part of that outreach effort, he says”

The group regularly hosts young students in the lab, as well as contributing to outreach of our own research and programmes run centrally in the School of Chemistry through the participation of a number of group members, both PhD and Post-doctoral researchers.

Well done Niamh for sharing your experience with other students, so that they might also be inspired to find a placement, and with academics world-wide, so that they might consider providing the same opportunities to others!

The full article is available here, and is part of a special issue on Adolescence.


Eoin McCarney successfully defends his PhD Thesis

Congratulations to Eoin, who successfully defended his PhD thesis “Templated synthesis of novel molecules and materials using 1,4-disubstituted-1,2,3-triazole supramolecular building blocks” and passed his viva today. The 40th PhD graduate from the Gunnlaugsson group. Eoin’s thesis was examined by Prof. Mike Zaworotko, a world leader in crystal engineering, from the University of Limerick.

Eoin’s PhD was funded by the IRC and continued the groups work on btp ligands, their coordination chemistry, self-assembly processes and materials applications; leading to 3 publications to date. These interests are continued by Isabel and June in the TG group while Eoin has departed to join the team at Abbott in Longford. The TG group wish him all the best for the future!


Bjørn successfully defends his Thesis!

Congratulations to Bjørn, who successfully defended his PhD thesis “Ruthenium Polypyridyl Complexes for Biological Application in Imaging and Treatment of Cancer” today. The work, which was completed under the supervision of Thorri with Prof. D. Clive Williams and Prof. John M. Kelly, was examined by Prof. Donal O’Shea (RCSI) and Prof. Isabel Rozas (TCD).

Bjørn’s research was funded by IRC and continued a long-standing collaboration in TCD between Thorri, Clive and John.  and Bjørn’s contributions have featured in 4 publications to date. These interests are continued by Sandra while Bjørn returned to his native Denmark at the start of 2018 and the TG group wish him all the best for the future!

Gunnlaugsson group presents their work at Inorganic Dublin Symposium

Dr. Oxana Kotova gave an oral presentation at Inorganic Dublin Symposium in CRANN at Trinity College Dublin on “Discrete white-light-emitting Ln-based heterometallic assemblies in solution” which has been published in Chemical Science.

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Hannah Dalton, June Lovitt, Bruno D’Agostino, Savyasachi A J, Dr. Samuel J. Bradberry and Dr. Adam Henwood took part to the conference poster session by giving some small presentations of their works, with Bruno impressing the committee, which awarded him with the poster prize. Keeping up the good work!