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!


A new paper on monitoring the onset of bacterial infection using lanthanide luminescent probes within hydrogels accepted for publication in JACS


The europium-based luminescence is only quenched when urease enzymes break down urea in the solution

Many congratulations to Esther, Sam and Sandra who had their paper “Luminescent Lanthanide Cyclen-Based Enzymatic Assay Capable of Diagnosing the Onset of Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections Both in Solution and within Polymeric Hydrogels” accepted in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. The work focuses on using delayed 
luminescence Eu(III)-based pH-responsive probes to monitor the activity of urease, which hydrolyses urea in
 aqueous solution upon onset of bacterial infection.
 This system can be incorporated into soft polymeric materials such as hydrogels. The work was carried out in collaboration with Prof. Clive Williams of the School of Biochemistry and Immunology in TCD and Prof. Colin McCoy from the School of Pharmacy, Queen’s University of Belfast.

Cover feature for Elena’s work in Chemical Communications


The inside front cover designed by Elena De Calatrava-Pérez and Amparo Mérida-Navas

Many congratulation to Elena De Calatrava-Pérez on her article in Chemical Communications: Glycosidase activated release of fluorescent 1,8-naphthalimide probes for tumor cell imaging from glycosylated ‘pro-probes’ (Chem. Commun., 2016, 52, 13086-13089). The work has been featured on the cover of the journal, which was designed by Elena and her sister-in-law Amparo Mérida-Navas, a trained graphic designer. The work describes the development of fluorescent glycosylated 4-amino-1,8-naphthalimide derivatives as ‘pro-probes’ that are taken up into cancer cells upon being selectively hydrolysed in situ by glycosidase enzymes. Elena is a joint PhD student between Thorri and Prof. Eoin Scanlan in the School of Chemistry here at TCD (both based in TBSI) and the work was carried out in collaboration with Prof. Clive Williams from the School of Biochemistry and Immunology (TBSI).

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.

Ru(II)-polypyridyl surface functionalized gold nano-particles – publication in Nanoscale

aunpTG group has in collaboration with Clive Williams’ team (School of Biochemistry) published an article in Nanoscale entitled “Ru(II)-polypyridyl surface functionalized gold nano-particles; A biological perspective” where we profiled the biological activity and cellular uptake of 15 nm gold nanoparticles. Authors include Miguel Martínez-Calvo, Kim N. Orange, Robert B. P. Elmes, Bjørn la Cour Poulsen, D. Clive Williams and Thorfinnur Gunnlaugsson.

Fergus Poynton Presents at TCD Metals Seminar Series

Presentation_image_Fergus_TCD MetalsFergus Poynton presented a talk entitled “Transient absorption spectroscopy of ruthenium polypyridyl complexes and their cell localisation studies” as part of the TCD Metals Seminar Series, organised by Dr. Aidan McDonald.

This talk detailed the progress made on the localisation studies of luminescent ruthenium (II) polypyridyl probes  within cancer cell lines in vitro as part of the joint collaboration between the TG Group and  Professor Williams’ group in the school of Biochemistry, TCD. The talk also covered the use of picosecond transient visible and mid-IR absorption spectroscopy in an effort to further understand the interaction of the excited states of these complexes with biological molecules upon internalisation by cells, which has been undertaken in collaboration with Professor John Kelly, TCD, at the Central Laser Facility at Rutherford Appleton Laboratories, UK.