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POB Group News 2017

December 2017

 Gram-Scale Synthesis of the (−)-Sparteine Surrogate and (−)-Sparteine

November 2017

  • Paul and Tom attended the European Lead Factory Learnings and Achievements Chemistry Meeting in Beerse, Belgium. Both  applied for and were awarded funding to attend and present their work at the conference. 

  • Kleo, Kev, Tom and Paul (along with Mahinder and Tom from the WPU group) all did Movember, rasing loads of money for men's health.

Movember 2017 

October 2017

Increase of enzyme activity through specific covalent modification with fragments

September 2017

  • Welcome to MChem students, Dan, Sam and Tom.


  • Kevin and Adam attended the European Symposium on Organic Reactivity in Durham. Kevin presented a poster and Adam gave a talk on the kinetics of the lithiation/trapping of N-Boc heterocycles.

August 2017 

  • Welcome to the newest member of the group, Giordaina who will undertaking a MSc by research on the C-H functionalisation of saturated heterocycles using organolithium reagents.

June 2017

General Procedures for the Lithiation/Trapping of N-Boc Piperazines

May 2017

  • The O’Brien group attended the Grasmere meeting (organised by the RSC Heterocyclic and Synthesis Group). All of the group presented posters covering electrochemistry, 3-D fragments, lithiation chemistry and enzyme activators, all featuring lots of heterocycles. In addition, Peter gave an invited lecture on the recent work in the group on oxygen and sulfur lithiation methodology. Unusually, the weather was spectacularly sunny and dry –ideal conditions for the afternoon walks on the fells.  A memorable meeting was had by all! 



  • Peter will be the next RSC Heterocyclic and Synthesis Group Chairman (2017-2020), taking over from Chris Willis (Bristol). Congratulations to Peter!


April 2017

  • Congratulations to Peter who has been awarded the 2017 AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer & Syngenta prize for Process Chemistry Research. The award was presented at the 34th SCI Process Development Symposium in Cambridge.  As part of the award, Peter was invited to give a plenary lecture at the symposium.  The award is a culmination of the group’s work in lithiation-trapping of nitrogen heterocycles. Here is Peter receiving the trophy from Alan Robinson of Syngenta.

Peter receiving the 2017 AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer & Syngenta prize for Process Chemistry Research

March 2017

  • Congratulations to Mickey who has been awarded a Humboldt Fellowship to join Frank Glorius’ group in Germany. 


  • The group attended the the RSC North East Organic Division meeting in Durham. Tom, Paul, Nico, Hanna and Sophie all preseted posters and congratulations to Nico who won second prize!

 Nico with his prize winning poster - Durham 2017

  • Paul and Tom both won bursaries to attend the biennial RSC Fragment Based Drug Discovery meeting in Vienna and presented posters.

Paul and Tom at RSC Fragment Based Drug Discovery meeting in Vienna

February 2017

  • The latest update meeting of the academic-industry consortium (with Astex, AstraZeneca, Lilly, Pfizer and Vernalis) on the 3-D fragments project was held at the Lilly site.  Masa, Hanna, Paul, Tom and Peter all presented an update on the project progress.


  • Congratulations to Mickey, who won 2nd prize for his poster at OrgSyn 50 in Manchester!

Mickey at OrgSyn50


January 2017

  • Virtually the whole group headed off to Sheffield to attend the 50th Annual Meeting on “Modern Aspects of Stereochemistry”.


  • Welcome to new postdoc Kevin Kasten who joins us from Andy Smith's group in St Andrews. Kevin will be working on an EPSRC project which aims to develop new routes to 3-D fragments, scaffolds and pharmaceuticals.


  • Welcome back to Erasmus student Nico Seling, who returns to the group to start a PhD on novel organolithium methodology.