Synthesis, Catalysis and Mechanisms

Research in this theme focuses on the development of new methods for the synthesis of molecules with impact in organic, inorganic, and biological chemistry. The grouping delivers a wide range of innovative activities, including fundamental studies in transition metal catalysis, mechanistic physical organic chemistry, prebiotic/origins of life chemistry, target molecule synthesis, macrocycles, data-driven reaction optimisation, and main group organometallic chemistry. This is complemented by applied projects that address global challenges such as antibiotic resistance, environmental remediation, and environmental sustainability. The group has strong links with the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries. A distinctive feature of York research within this theme is that it is underpinned by fundamental, mechanism-led research that seeks to combine experimental, spectroscopic and computational approaches.


  • Duncan Bruce - Materials Chemistry
  • Victor Chechik - EPR and nanoscale chemistry
  • Paul Clarke - Total Synthesis of Natural Products, Prebiotic Chemistry and Origins of Life
  • Caroline Dessent - Physical chemistry of gas-phase biological ions; Gas-phase inorganic chemistry; Mass spectrometry
  • Richard Douthwaite - Molecular and materials chemistry, photocatalysis
  • Simon Duckett - Organometallic chemistry and reaction mechanisms
  • Anne Duhme-Klair - Metal ions in biology and medicine
  • Ian Fairlamb - Transition metals in synthesis, catalysis and chemical biology: reactivity, mechanism and applications
  • Martin Fascione - Chemical glycobiology, synthetic carbohydrate chemistry,  chemical/enzymatic modification of proteins
  • Pratibha Gai - Surface science; Catalysis; Nanomaterials; Atomic processes; Electron microscopy developments
  • Gideon Grogan - Structure, function and application of novel biocatalysts
  • Roderick Hubbard - Structure-based drug discovery
  • Peter Karadakov - Modern valence-bond theory and chemical reactivity; Ab initio calculation of NMR properties
  • Jason Lynam - Transition metal and main group chemistry
  • Duncan Macquarrie - Heterogeneous catalysis; Green chemistry: development and applications of novel organic-inorganic hybrid materials
  • Avtar Matharu - Green and Sustainable Chemistry: biobased chemicals, processes and materials
  • Michael North - Green organic chemistry
  • Peter O'Brien - Development of New Methods in Synthesis and Medicinal Chemistry
  • Alison Parkin - Electrochemical insights into redox-active metalloproteins, bacterial metabolism and catalysis
  • Robin Perutz - Organometallic Photochemistry, Small Molecule Activation, Catalysis and Solar Fuels
  • Anne Routledge - Bio-organic chemistry
  • Isabel Saez - Liquid crystals and functional materials
  • John Slattery - Ionic liquids, computational chemistry and main-group chemistry
  • David Smith - Dendrimer, supramolecular and nanoscale chemistry
  • Richard Taylor - The total synthesis of compounds of biological importance: design and development of new synthetic methods
  • William Unsworth - Synthetic chemistry, macrocycles, spirocycles, natural products
  • Paul Walton - Bioinorganic chemistry