Welcome back Isabel!

Isabel has returned to the group following a three month internship at Alkermes Biopharmaceutical. During the internship Isabel worked as part of the R&D Formulations department, developing formulations for new oral dose drug substances, which allowed her to get experience in early stage formulation development through to scale-up, as well as investigating the potential for  PAT (Process Analytical Technology), in the form of various spectroscopic techniques, with a view to inline process monitoring. This opportunity was made possible due to a collaboration with Tarek Zeidan (Alkermes, Waltham) on Isabel’s PhD project over the last three years. This experience will greatly benefit Isabel as well as the wider Gunnlaugsson group.

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Deirdre takes part in the Spectroscopy in a Suitcase workshop

Our first year student Deirdre co-facilitated RSC’s Spectroscopy In A Suitcase workshop to the 6th year Chemistry class at St. Paul’s College today in Raheny. The students solved a Murder Mystery while being introduced to different analytical tools including mass spectrometry, IR and UV-Vis spectroscopy.

St Pauls

Amy Lynes successfully defends her PhD Thesis

The TG group congratulates with Amy, who successfully defended her thesis, “Supramolecular soft materials and structural studies of a series of BTA and pyridine-dicarboxamide derivatives with various d-metal ions”. Amy’s thesis was examined by Prof. Jonathan Steed from Durham University.

Amy’s PhD was funded by the SFI and expanded the work of the group on BTA motif-based molecules which resulted in several paper, the most recent a ChemmCommun. We all at TG group wish together Amy best of luck for her future and whatever it will have in store for her!

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New Dalton Frontier Article on lanthanide luminescent soft-material published

Many congratulations to Oxana, Sam and Sachi, who had their invited Frontier article accepted in Dalton Transaction, “Recent advances in the development of luminescent lanthanide-based supramolecular polymers and soft materials” (Dalton Trans., 2018, 47, 16377-16387. DOI:10.1039/C8DT03768J). This work reviews some of the most recent use of luminescent lanthanides ions as crosslinking moieties to generate functional soft materials, giving the readership of Dalton a fantastic inside into this fast-growing area of material research.

Oxana, Sam Sachi

Farewell, Raju!

The whole TG group bids farewell to Dr Sankarasekaran Shanmugaraju, who is leaving the group after four years filled with research and achievements thanks to which he was assigned the professorship at the IIT Palakkad, where he will start a new chapter of his life and career. We salute a great collaborator and mentor to many students in the group. All the best, Raju!

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Left to right, Raju, Bruno  and Sachi at the goodbye lunch. Yes, we’re sure it’s not Bruno who’s leaving!

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.

 

Sam, Anna and Dermot teach TY students about molecular logic

As part of the School of Chemisty’s annual Transition Year (TY) programme, Sam, Anna and Dermot gave an interactive demonstration on molecular logic to a group of sixty TY students. This is the second year in a row that the group has presented on smart materials and chemical computation, in an informative lecture that covers the life and legacy of mathematician George Boole, logic gates and the life-saving work of Prof A.P. de Silva in Belfast, and our own group’s work with lanthanides.

The students learned how logical functions operate in a series of interactive exercises, before testing out the gel-based logic gates themselves. The demonstration was originally developed by Sam and Joe as part of Discover Research Dublin 2015, and to mark the 200th birthday of Boole.