Dermot leads outreach activities with the Royal Society of Chemistry

This month, TG group member Dermot Gillen has been bringing the RSC’s Spectroscopy in a Suitcase programme to schools across Dublin in association with the School of Chemistry, TCD. 5th and 6th year chemistry students at St Aidens CBS in Whitehall, Presentation Community College in Terenure and Old Bawn Community School in Tallaght got hands-on experience with IR and UV-visible spectrometers, as part of a murder mystery puzzle.

Outreach activities form an important part of the ethos of the TG group, and first-year PhD students Deirdre and Shauna are continuing the tradition. You can read all about the SIAS workshop in one of our earlier posts!

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

TGs present their work at RSC Meeting

Today several members of the Gunnlaugsson group attended the Irish Regional meeting for the RSC Organic Division at Queen’s University Belfast. Thorri presented some of the topics of the group in his talk, “Application of supramolecular recognition in synthesis and self-assembly formations” and Adam presented a poster about his previous work in St Andrews.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

New paper accepted in Chem. Commun.

Many congratulations to Dr. Sankarasekaran Shanmugaraju (Raju), Dr. Bjørn la Cour Poulsen (former PhD student), Dr. Aramballi J. Savyasachi, Hannah L. Dalton and Dr. Chris Hawes (now at Keele University, UK) who have in collaboration with Prof. Graeme Watson and Dr. D. Umadevi (School of Chemistry, TCD) have had their paper entitled: “Synthesis, structural characterisation and antiproliferative activity of a new fluorescent 4-amino-1,8-naphthalimide Tröger’s base-Ru(II)-curcumin organometallic conjugate” accepted for publication in Chem. Commun.


In this communication, they have reported the synthesis, photophysics and biological investigation of fluorescent 4‐amino‐1,8‐naphthalimide Tröger’s bases and a new Tröger’s base p‐cymene‐Ru(II)‐curcumin organometallic  conjugate;  these  compounds  showed  fast  cellular  uptake  and  displayed  good  luminescence  and  cytotoxic against cervical cancer cells.

The journal Chem. Commun. is published by the RSC and the paper is now available online for early view: 10.1039/C8CC01584H

Elena presents at the 2017 RSC Carbohydrate Group Meeting

Elena de Calatrava Pérez presented her work on “The Development of Glyconaphthalimides for Medicinal Applications” at the young investigator session of the 2017 meeting of the Royal Society of Chemistry carbohydrate group. Elena conducts this work as part of a close collaboration between Thorri and Prof. Eoin Scanlan. The Meeting featured an exciting array of both industry and academic talks, and was held in TBSI over the 7th and 8th of September.

Dermot becomes a SFI Smart Futures Ambassador

Dermot attended the SFI Smart Futures ambassador training this week at the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) head office in Dublin. As part of Smart Futures, Dermot will be teaching secondary school students about careers in science, technology, engineering and maths, or STEM.

Smart Futures is coordinated by SFI in partnership with a variety of other groups such as Engineers Ireland, BioPharma Ireland, and the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). The training was provided as part of the RSC’s Spectroscopy in a Suitcase programme in which PhD students travel to schools to provide students with hands on experience and a much richer understanding of spectroscopy.


Dermot outside the SFI Head Office at Wilton Place

Secondary school teachers who are interested in having Smart Futures or Spectroscopy in a Suitcase come to their schools should apply online (here and here).

Recently, Fergus and Sandra represented the Gunnlaugsson group at the 12th Nucleic Acids Forum in London, alongside Prof. John Kelly.

Sandra and Fergus at

Sandra and Fergus at the poster session

Fergus gave a talk entitled “Photochemically Active DNA-Intercalating Complexes – Insights by Combining Crystallography and Transient Spectroscopy”, where he presented some of our collaborative work into how time-resolved infrared spectroscopy, coupled with X-ray crystallography, enables us to study the interaction of the excited-states of intercalated ruthenium polypyridyl complexes with DNA and provides new insights into the nature of the binding sites of these complexes. Some of this work was recently published in

Sandra presented a poster entitled “New Ruthenium(II) Polypyridyl Complexes as Promising PDT Agents in HeLa Cells and Luminescent Probes for DNA”, showing the new classes of ruthenium polypyridyl complexes she designed and their potential biological applications.