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 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.

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

2016-06-24 18.02.36

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.

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.

Thorri in Top 10% of highly cited authors in RSC for recent years


Recent statistics show that research from the Gunnlaugsson Group published in RSC journals is gaining attention as Prof Gunnlaugsson is in the top 10% of cited authors in the General Chemistry portfolio of these journals. The highlights of recent attention-gaining articles included “Self-assembly formation of mechanically interlocked [2]- and [3] catenanes using lanthanide ion [Eu(III)] templation and ring closing metathesis reactions” by Dr Christophe Lincheneau et al. in Chemical Communications, which has been cited 18 times since 2014 and downloaded 1167 times. Also listed was the comprehensive review article of the supramolecular and coordination chemistry of 2,6-bis(1,2,3-triazol-4-yl)pyridine (btp) ligands  by Dr Joseph Byrne et al. published in Chemical Society Reviews, which has been cited 18 times since publication and downloaded 1237 times, according to the RSC’s download records up to February 2016.

Dr Joe Byrne visiting scholar in Hong Kong University


This month, Dr Joseph Byrne travelled to Hong Kong University in order to work in the laboratory of Prof Vivian Wing-Wah Yam and establish a collaboration, investigating luminescent inorganic complexes and bringing together expertise from the Yam group and the TG Group.

This exchange was made possible through the support of Science Foundation Ireland’s International Strategic Collaboration Programme for China.


Dr Byrne worked closely with postdoctoral fellow Dr Sammual Yu Lut Leung while hosted at HKU.

On Friday 11 December, he gave a seminar to members of the Department of Chemistry about research from the TG Group and had fruitful discussions about these topics.



Student work experience


We were delighted to host secondary student Niamh Murphy from Mercy College for a week in the TG laboratory. Niamh is very interested in pursuing a career in scientific research and so, as part of her Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme course, she got in touch with us about getting some work experience in a working research lab.

Niamh worked with Dr Joe Byrne, helping with the synthesis of a number of ligands for ongoing research and made a valuable contribution to the lab while there.

The TG Group often hosts students for work experience in order to open up the possibility of research to the wider community.