TG Group, October 2016. In the Boardroom, TBSI

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:

Bjørn presents at the 2017 TBSI Postdoctoral Research Day

Bjørn la Cour Poulsen, a final year PhD student in the TG group, presented a talk about the biological applications of ruthenium complexes at the Postdoctoral Research Day, which took place Friday in Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute (TBSI). His talk, entitled “Spectroscopic studies of the binding of ruthenium complexes to DNA” covered his work concerning synthesis of a new class of ruthenium (II) complexes and their interactions with DNA as well as their anticancer activity.
Chris and Oxana also presented their work at the poster session, in what was an exciting and engaging day which highlighted the breadth of research in TBSI.

Dermot presents at the 69th Irish Universities Chemistry Research Colloquium

IMAG3204Dermot Gillen, a third year student in the TG group, was selected as one of six representatives from Trinity College Dublin to present his work at the 69th Irish Universities Chemistry Research Colloquium, which took place over Thursday and Friday of this week in DCU. The conference gathers chemistry postgraduate students from all over Ireland to showcase their work in a highly interdisciplinary setting.

Congratulations to Aoife Lucid from the Watson computational chemistry group in TCD, who won the Lilly prize for her talk on the computational modelling of electrolytes for solid oxide cells.

Fergus presented with the RIA Young Chemist Prize

Congratulations to Dr Fergus Poynton, who was formally presented with the RIA Young Chemist Prize today. The prize is awarded annually by the Royal Irish Academy for the most outstanding chemistry thesis in Ireland.

Fergus won the prize in March for his thesis “Spectroscopic Investigations into the Excited-State Processes and Reactivity of Ruthenium(II) Polypyridyl Complexes”, he has since won one of the five IUPAC-Solvay International Awards for Young Chemists, and will receive the prize at the 46th IUPAC World Chemistry Congress in São Paulo this July.

In a special ceremony in the Academy, the prize was presented by Prof. Pat Guiry, Vice-Chair of the Physical, Chemical & Mathematical Sciences of the RIA. The ceremony was also attended by Fergus’ family and friends, as well as collaborators Clive Williams, TCD and Susan Quinn from UCD, co-supervisor John Kelly and his colleagues from the Donnelly research group in the School of Medicine.

Well done!

Eoin is presented with the Irish Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting Award

EoinMcCarney-LindauAwardCongratulations to fourth year PhD student Eoin McCarney, who was selected to attend the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting this year by the Irish Research Council. Eoin was formally presented with an award by the IRC to recognise this achievement at a ceremony in the council headquarters in Ballsbridge. Congratulations Eoin!

Anna speaks at the 13th Italian Conference on Supramolecular Chemistry

4th Year PhD student Anna Aletti travelled from (surprisingly) sunny Dublin to the (exceedingly) sunny south coast of Sardinia on behalf of the group and attended the 13th Italian Conference on Supramolecular Chemistry held from the 18th to the 21st June 2017. Anna, who works on the design of anion receptors and anion-directed materials, gave an oral presentation of her work on interlocked [2]-catenanes based on the BTP motif and their anion binding properties, which was published last year in Angewandte Chemie with Dr Joseph Byrne (now at U. Bern with Prof. Martin Albrecht) and being continued in collaboration with Eoin McCarney, also a 4th year PhD student in the group.

She showcased the groups work and described the self-templated formation of [2]-catenanes from RCM of dimers formed from allyl-appended BTP ligands, which in their macrocyclic and catenated forms showed anion recognition properties.

The conference, organised by Claudia Caltagirone at the University of Cagliari and held on the beautiful Sardinian coast in Santa Margherita di Pula, brought together European and Italian researchers (of which the TG have a number both in the ranks and graduated from the group) from across Italy and some of those researching further afield. Anna, who studied at Università degli Studi di Pavia before arriving to the TG group, was reunited with a number of her former professors including Valeria Amendola and Piersandro Pallavicini, and continues to enjoy the interesting programme of talks from PIs and students of the Italian supramolecular community. (and the weather!)


Group Photo with all delegates (taken from supramol2017 website).

New publication in Chemical Communications


A sample of the naphthalimide-based hydrogel

Congratulations to Chris and Amy from the TG group, as well as collaborators Kevin Byrne and Prof. Wolfgang Schmitt (TCD School of Chemistry and CRANN) and Dr Gavin Ryan and Prof. Matthias Möbius (TCD School of Physics) for their recent publication in Chemical Communications entitled “A resilient and luminescent stimuli-responsive hydrogel from a heterotopic 1,8-naphthalimide-derived ligand”. This work describes the synthesis of a fluorescent naphthalimide-containing gelator which forms robust hydrogels in the presence of potassium ions. As well as a rare example of a hydrogelator containing no hydrogen bond donors, this material exhibits the useful property of chemical reversibility, where 18-crown-6 and potassium chloride can be used to disrupt or re-form the gel, respectively.

New paper on DNA-targeting phototherapeutic drugs published in Chem. Eur. J.

Congratulations to Fergus and Bjørn on their recent paper in Chemistry a European Journal titled Inosine can increase DNA’s susceptibility to photo-oxidation by a Ru(II) complex due to structural change in the minor groove. Key to the development of DNA-targeting phototherapeutic drugs is determining the interplay between the photoactivity of the drug and its binding preference for a target sequence. In this work, the photoactivity of Λ-[Ru(TAP)2(dppz)]2+ and its binding to oligonucleotides was studied, showing enhanced photo-oxidation when guanine is substituted with inosine, in spite of inosine being less easily oxidised. The work has been performed in collaboration with Prof. Susan Quinn of University College Dublin, Páraic Keane and Prof. Christine Cardin of the University of Reading, Prof. John Kelly from Trinity College Dublin and groups at the Diamond Light Source and Rutherford Appleton Laboratories in England.


Structural features of the interaction of the Ru(II) complex with two different DNA sequences.