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.

New paper in Organic Letters on anion mediated synthesis of 3-amino-[1,2,4]-triazolo pyridines from our group

Many congratulations to present and former members of our group Komala, Anna, Devis, Jon, Miguel and Salvador for their recent publication, Supramolecular Anion Recognition Mediates One-Pot Synthesis of 3-Amino-[1,2,4]-triazolo Pyridines from Thiosemicarbazides, in Organic Letters!. This work was done through a collaboration of Prof. Gunnlaugsson and Prof. Eoin Scanlan and showed how supramolecular interactions with F (as tetrabutylammonium fluoride, TBAF) of a series of thiosemicarbazides could lead to the formation of 3-amino-[1,2,4]-triazolo pyridines. The synthesis of these heterocycles was obtained in a one-pot reaction from variously substituted hydrazine pyridine and isothiocyanates in the presence of TBAF.


Crystal structures of thiosemicarbazides and 3-amino-[1,2,4]-triazolo pyridines.

Anna presents at the ChemSem series in Trinity

Anna Aletti presented her work on Tuesday as part of the ChemSem series of postgraduate seminars organised by the School of Chemistry. Her talk, entitled “Tripodal tris(urea) systems: from anion binding to self-assembly” was attended by a cohort of students and staff from different research groups around Trinity. Brava Anna!


Anna presenting her work on sulfate-templated self-assembly

TG Group attend Supramolecular Chemistry Ireland Symposium in NUI Maynooth

The Gunnlaugsson Group attended the Supramolecular Chemistry Ireland half-day symposium in NUI Maynooth carefully organised to great effect by Dr. Rob Elmes, who obtained his PhD from under Thorri’s supervision and who’s now a Lecturer in Organic Chemistry at the university. The attendees were treated to a tour-de-force of supramolecular chemistry developments from the islands of ireland and Britain and from as far away as Universidad de Santiago de Compostela whence Dr. Miguel Martínez-Calvo made is return having carried out a post-doctoral fellowship in the Gunnlaugsson Group. Miguel spoke about his work on the “Development of new tools in chemical biology: specific transition metal catalysis in the mitochondria”. 

A poster session followed the day’s talks where Dermot Gillen brought home a poster prize for his work entitled “Anion binding of the meta-Phenylene bis(phenylurea) motif“. Congratulations to Dermot and the organisers of the event which was a great success.

Miguel alongside current TG group members

Miguel alongside current TG group members


TG Group travel to Southampton for Supramolecular Symposium

Anna Aletti, Samuel Bradberry and Dr. Oxana Kotova of the TG group attended Southampton Supramolecular Chemistry Symposium on the 24th of June 2016.


Southamption Supramolecular Symposium 2016 Delegates

All of them presented posters and, in addition, Samuel gave an excellent talk on “Lanthanide Luminescent Logic – functional organic scaffolds and soft polymers gels as logic gate mimics”.


Sam giving his talk


Sam and A P at the poster session



Oxana with her poster


Anna presenting her poster

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A P de Silva, Oxana, Anna, Joe and Sam at the drinks reception

Our former group member Dr. Joseph Byrne who is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the University of Bern attended the conference as well and presented a poster on his recent work published in Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. on self-templated btp [2]Catenane.

The meeting included speakers and posters from UK Universities and beyond, including an outstanding lecture from the plenary speaker Professor A. P. de Silva.

2016 RSC Organic Division Ireland Regional Meeting Held in TBSI/TCD

The Royal Society of Chemistry held its annual Organic Division Ireland Regional Meeting in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute (TBSI), Trinity College Dublin, on the 19th of May 2016. The meeting was organised by Prof. Eoin Scanlan from the School of Chemistry (TCD), and featured contributions from several Irish Universities. These included Maynooth University, University College Dublin, University College Cork, Trinity College Dublin, NUI Galway and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

In addition to featuring lectures by Irish researchers, Professor Véronique Gouverneur (Oxford University) presented her 2016 Tilden Prize Lecture. The meeting was attended by a large crowd of researchers with over 30 posters being presented at a dedicated poster session.

Anna Aletti with her prize-winning posterAnna Aletti from the TG group was awarded a prize for her poster about the anion studies on our btp-based catenane, recently accepted in Angewandte Chemie. Congratulations to Anna and also to Fiona O’Donovan (UCC) for winning the poster prizes.

A great day that showcased some of the most exciting chemistry research being carried out in Ireland at the moment.

More info can be found at:

Self-templated btp [2]Catenane Article Accepted for Publication in Angewandte Chemie


Self-templated btp [2]catenane

Many congratulations to Joseph P. Byrne, Salvador Blasco, Anna B. Aletti and Gary Hessman on their publication “Formation of Self-Templated 2,6-Bis(1,2,3-triazol-4-yl)pyridine [2]Catenanes by Triazolyl Hydrogen Bonding: Selective Anion Hosts for Phosphate” that has been accepted for publication in the prestigious chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie.



Abstract: We report the remarkable ability of 2,6-bis(1,2,3-triazol-4-yl)pyridine (btp) compounds with appended olefin amide arms (2) to self-template the formation of interlocked [2]catenane structures (3) in yields of up to 50% when subjected to olefin ring-closing metathesis in CH2Cl2. X-ray diffraction crystallography allowed structural characterisation of both the [2]catenane 3a and the non-interlocked macrocycle 4a. These [2]catenanes show selective triazolyl hydrogen bonding interactions with the tetrahedral phosphate anion when screened against a range of ions; 3a and b being the first examples of selective [2]catenane hosts for phosphate.