Isabel wins a poster prize at Supramolecular Chemistry Ireland 2017 at Maynooth


The Gunnlaugsson Group attended the Supramolecular Chemistry Ireland (SCI 2017) conference in Maynooth University yesterday. The conference, organised by former group member Dr Rob Elmes, brought together an array of international speakers for a jam-packed day of lectures and short talks.

Several members of the group presented their work at the poster session, with second year PhD student Hannah Dalton giving a flash talk on “Metallosupramolecular assemblies of a family of N,N,Oterdentate ligands”, work which was recently published in Crystal Growth and Design.

Many congratulations to Isabel Hegarty, who beat a tough field to win the prize for best poster, for her poster entitled “Lanthanide Directed Self-Assembly of a Series of btp Derivatives”

Bjørn speaks 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.

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.

New Paper published in Dalton Transactions

Graphical Abstract

Structure of the tetrameric [Zn4(L)4]8+ cation investigated in the work.

Congratulations to Dawn, Chris, Bjørn and Joe for their recent paper in Dalton Transactions titled “A folded [2 × 2] metallo-supramolecular grid from a bis-tridentate (1,2,3-triazol-4-yl)-picolinamide (tzpa) ligand“. In this work, a new flexible bis-tridentate donor ligand containing 1,2,3-triazolyl-picolinamide (tzpa) binding sites was developed, which contained structural elements from two of the group favorites 2,6-dipicolinamide (dpa) and 2,6-bis-(1,2,3-triazolyl)pyridine (btp). The new ligand was then used in the formation of a tetranuclear grid with Zn(II) or Fe(II) ions, which was probed with X-ray diffraction, NMR, UV-Visible spectroscopy and mass spectrometry. It also involved a productive collaboration with Dr Manuel Reuther and Dr John O’Brien from the NMR Spectroscopy Facility in TCD, who provided help in understanding the solution behavior of the material using the T1 spin-lattice relaxation parameter in 1H NMR spectroscopy.

Three new papers accepted for publication from the group

Many congratulations to Bjørn C. Poulsen, Sandra Estalayo-Adrián, Salvador Blasco and Sandra A. Bright, who in collaboration with Professors John Kelly and Clive Williams have had their manuscript “Luminescent ruthenium polypyridyl complexes with extended ‘dppz’ like ligands as DNA targeting binders and cellular agents”, accepted in the RSC journal Dalton Transactions. DOI: 10.1039/c6dt03792e. The work was mainly funded under the SFI PI scheme (2013), the IRC (Postgraduate fellowship to BCP) and via the Marie Curie Fellowship Programme (to SB).


Six dppz-like ligands investigated as DNA targeting binders and cellular agents.


Fluorescence Emission spectra in aqueous dispersions.

Many congratulations to Raju (Sankarasekaran Shanmugaraju) on the acceptance of his manuscript “Tröger’s base derived coordination zinc polymer for fluorescent sensing of phenolic-nitroaromatics explosives in water”. This work was funded in part though an IRC postdoctoral fellowship to Raju and comes out of a very fruitful collaboration between the TG research group and the Schmitt Group at TCD and the Kitchen Group at University of Southampton. The work is in part based on results obtained by a visiting student Charlyne Dabadie, who under Raju’s supervision spent 6 months in the TG laboratory in 2015, and is to be published in the RSC journal Chemical Science. DOI: 10.1039/C6SC04367D


Ligand geometry, coordination environment and partially extended structure of a naphthalimide-based coordination polymer.

Many congratulations to Chris Hawes on his manuscript “Flexible porous coordination polymers from divergent photoluminescent 4-oxo-1,8-naphthalimide ligands”, that has been accepted for publication in the ACS journal Inorganic Chemistry. DOI: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.6b02137. The work was made possible through a postdoctoral fellowship award to Chris from IRC and through the TCD Dean of Research Pathfinder Programme; the work being carried out in part in collaboration with the Schmitt research group in TCD.

TG Group attend Supramolecular Chemistry Ireland Symposium in NUI Maynooth

The Gunnlaugsson Group attended the Supramolecular Chemistry Ireland half-day symposium in NUI Maynooth organised to great effect by Dr. Rob Elmes, who obtained his PhD from under Thorri’s supervision and who is 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 his 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


Strong showing from TG Group at 68th Chemistry Colloquium in Cork

Nine members of the TG Group left the Pale behind and travelled to University College Cork on the 23rd & 24th of June for the 68th Universities Chemistry Colloquium. Both Savyasachi AJ and Eoin McCarney gave 25 minute oral presentations on their work on the Thursday and Friday morning sessions respectively.


Sachi giving his talk


Eoin presenting his work

Meanwhile Bjørn la Cour Poulsen and Amy Lynes presented their posters at the designated poster session. Dermot Gillen, Sandra Estalayo Adrian, Bruno D’Agostino, Hannah Dalton and Isabel Hegarty all attended and gained a great taste of the flavour of the chemical research being conducted from all disciplines from all over the country.


Amy at the poster session


Bjørn beside his poster


TG Group and fellow Trinity delegates at the Colloquium BBQ


On the Thursday evening all delegates attended the traditional Colloquium BBQ where research chemists were suitably nourished, collaborations were strengthened and friends were made.

The TG Group would like to thank UCC for their hosting of the event and their accommodation of the TG Group members during their stay.