Sandra Estalayo defends her PhD Thesis succesfully

The whole TG group congratulates Sandra, who successfully defended her PhD Thesis “Photophysical and Biological Profiling of Ruthenium(II) Polypyridyl Complex-based Systems”. Sandra’s Thesis was examined by Prof. Gilles Gasser of ParisTech, Paris Science and Letters (PSL), University of Paris.
Sandra was a joint PhD student of Thorri and Prof. John Kelly and she worked on the Ruthenium complexes that title her thesis and their effects on biological systems.
After the Viva was finished, Sandra, Thorri and Prof. Gasser went to lunch together as usal for the group, then the group had a small celebration party together.
The group wishes Sandra, who now returns to sunny Spain, all the best for her future!

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Oxana, Sam and Sandra take part in the 27th PhotoIUPAC conference in Dublin

PhotoIUPAC, the biennial global IUPAC conference for photochemistry, came to UCD this July (8th – 13th, 2018) and several TG members contributed throughout the week. Post-doctoral researchers Dr. Oxana Kotova and Dr. Sam Bradberry gave talks titled “Effect of Spacer Size in Chiral Luminescent Di-metallic Eu(III) Helicates” and “Supramolecular Scaffolds for Lanthanide Luminescence”, respectively, describing some of the research they have undertaken recently in the group.

PhD student Sandra Estalayo presented a poster on the Ru(II) complexes for singlet-oxygen generation work that she has been carrying out in her PhD in close collaboration with Prof. John Kelly (TCD). Working backstage, PhD students Jason Delente and Isabel Hegarty volunteered to help run the four parallel sessions throughout the week. The group were exposed to exciting and varied science from all corners of the globe, early career researchers and established names from every field of photochemistry, in what was an excellent and diverse programme of talks.

The conference, at its 27th edition, was organised by Dr. Susan Quinn of UCD and Prof. Miguel A. Garcia-Garibay from UCLA. It showcased world-class research in photochemistry with contributors from over 40 countries and was a very stimulating meeting. The 28th meeting will be held in Amsterdam in 2020. See you there, PhotoIUPAC!

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Amy, Anna, Dermot and Sandra present their work at the the Third Year Talks in UCD

On Tuesday 30th May, 3rd year students Anna Aletti, Sandra EstalayoDermot Gillen and Amy Lynes participated in the annual Third Year Talks, which took place at University College Dublin as part of the Dublin Chemistry graduate program. The day gave them the opportunity to present their work and achievements so far in their PhDs to an audience of their peers and academics. The day was supported by Lilly and brought together PhD students from UCD and DIT for a full day featuring 52 talks, spanning all disciplines of chemistry.

Anna and Dermot presented their work on anion receptors and anion-directed self-assembly; Amy talked about the synthesis of BTA gels and soft materials; while Sandra spoke about the design of Ru(II) polypyridyl complexes for biological applications such as photodynamic therapy (PDT).

Congratulations to all who participated. Well done Anna, Dermot, Amy and Sandra for another year of excellent talks from the TG group!

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TG Group Attend MASC 2016 in Edinburgh

This year’s Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry (MASC) group meeting was held in the beautiful city of Edinburgh. Several members of the group attended the two-day RSC conference, presenting their work alongside a busy programme of international speakers from Europe, the US, Japan and New Zealand, including one of this year’s Nobel Laureates in Chemistry, Sir Fraser Stoddart.

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.

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.

Dr. Oxana Kotova wins poster prize at MASC 2015

Dr. Oxana Kotova with her award, "Porous Polmers", for her poster prize at MASC 2015

Dr. Oxana Kotova awarded the book, “Porous Polmers”, for winning a poster prize at MASC 2015

The Gunnlaugsson Group represented Trinity College Dublin at the  annual RSC Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry conference in Durham, UK on the 21st and 22nd of December 2015. Prof. Thorri Gunnlaugsson alongside 3 post-docs and 10 PhD students descended on the picturesque town in the north-east of England for two days of talks featuring extremely prominent international speakers from all aspects of supramolecular chemistry.

The meeting was attended by 130 people from a total of eight countries. Prof. Thorri Gunnlaugsson was among the 5 plenary speakers, but the meeting also included ten invited speakers, a poster session, and 6 flash talks. Dr. Oxana Kotova’s poster entitled “Healable Luminescent Self-Assembly Supramolecular Lanthanide (Eu/ Tb) Metallogels” (pictured) took home a poster prize for the group.

The famous Durham castle was a fitting setting for the conference dinner after which was held lively discussion and entertainment in the form of a Biopharma Casino Night. More success for the Thorri’s came in the form of PhD students Anna Aletti and Sandra Estalayo who were rewarded for their skill on the roulette tables with one magnum of Champagne each.

The conference was a great success and Prof. Jonathan W. Steed and all at Durham University must be congratulated for the careful organisation of the event.