RSC Carbohydrate Meeting in Belfast and first SugarCoat Team Meeting

Members of the team attended the RSC Carbohydrate Interest Group Annual Meeting at Queens University Belfast. Joe gave an oral presentation in the Great Hall. There were many interesting international speakers including Alexander Titz and Ulf Nilssen, as well as contributors from the UK and Ireland. The event was co-sponsored by the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland also (Division on Medicinal Chemistry), making it an excellent all-island event. Thanks to Gerd Wagner and Aisling Ní Cheallaigh, among others, for organising.

This meeting also gave an opportunity for the first in-person meeting of the full team of the SugarCoat North South Research Programme project – funded by the Shared Island Fund and the HEA. Postdoc Dr Hannah Crory has been working in the Wylie/McCoy lab in the School of Pharmacy, QUB.

RSC Carbohydrate Interest Group ECR Webinars

Joe was invited to give a talk as part of the series of Early Career Researcher webinars that the Royal Society of Chemistry Interest Group are organising this summer. His talk was titled: “Metals and carbohydrates: organometallic catalysts & bacterial lectin‐targeting glycoclusters”

Joe speaks at festive RSC Coordination and Organometallic Discussion Group Christmas Meeting

At the annual RSC Coordination and Organometallic Discussion Group Christmas meeting (UCD Dublin), everyone was asked to select an element as the focus of their talk, to celebrate the end of the International Year of the Periodic Table. Joe gave a talk celebrating the versatility of ruthenium complexes. The talk brought together two different project, linked by this transition metal.

He spoke about the carbohydrate-functionalised Ru-NHC catalysts which were published recently in Dalton Transactions, as well as some Ru(II) coordination complexes (also featuring carbohydrates) which have shown antimicrobial activity (unpublished results, collaboration with Prof Thorri Gunnlaugsson and Dr Ciaran O’Reilly).

It was a very festive meeting, with inorganic chemists from all over Ireland and the UK in attendance – a great chance to catch up with old friends and new.

New publication in Dalton Transactions

I’m delighted to finally publish this work, the first of my research carried out during my Marie Curie Fellowship in University of Bern to come out. A lot of hard work by Erasmus student Pauline went into gathering data behind this manuscript where we asked the question – what impact would incorporating carbohydrates into the structure of a Ruthenium(II)-triazolylidene complex have on its ability to convert a ketone to an alcohol via transfer hydrogenation catalysis.

There were challenges in isolating the desired compound, so it had to be generated in situ, but we were able to assess the activity, and the results were interesting, and can be found in detail here in Dalton Transactions.

To summarise the conclusions: The carbohydrate functionality does impact catalytic activity (transfer hydrogenation of ketones). In complexes with the glucose directly triazolylidene-bound,  turnover rates were substantially higher when compared to more remote carbohydrate functionalisation (i.e. with an ethylene spacer). Both new complexes, however, have reduced activity compared to  unfunctionalised carbene complexes. Insight was also gained into the nature of the catalytic cycle through a substrate scope analysis.