Key Research Interests and Expertise

Allenes are rather unique structures that contain two p-orbitals perpendicular to each other. Although the structure of allenes was predicted a long time ago, they were considered as chemical curiosities due to the difficulty to distinguish them from the corresponding alkynes. The development of the IR and Raman spectroscopy made possible the characterisation of these compounds and the development of their chemistry. The synthetic utility of allenes is extensive, and chemo-, regio-, stereo- and positional-selective transformations have been developed. Over 150 natural products contain allenes or cumulenic structures, some of them showing pharmacological activity (steroids, prostaglandines, amino acids, nucleosides, etc.). The industrial potential has also been shown, and numerous patents cover the use of allenes as dyes, drugs, antioxidants, (co)polymers suitable for paints, fibres, elastomers, printable films and heat- or corrosion-resistant materials.

During the past 15 years different reactions involving allenes and other components (alkenes, alkynes), rearrangements, or cycloadditions have been developed. However, there is still room for new chemistry of allenic systems to be discovered.

Research in our group involves the development of novel and exciting chemistry of allenic systems, from acid to transition metal catalysis, to the understanding of interactions of allenes containing products in living systems and their application as drugs.

- Platinum- and gold-catalysed addition of nucleophiles to allenes

- Metal-catalysed reaction of polyallenic systems

- Synthesis of metal complex with allenic ligands for catalysis and as metallodrugs

- Mechanistic studies on metal-catalysed reactions of allenes

- Developing of new methodologies involing heterobimetallic catalysis

 

Research Group Membership

Current members

 PhD Students

Hanna K. Maliszewska, PhD studetn since October 2017 (Studentship from School of Chemistry - Faculty of Sciences competition funding), working on synthesis of heteroatom containing allenes as ligands in metal catalysis and therapeutic applications. Email: H.Maliszewska@uea.ac.uk

Andreas Apostolides, PhD studetn since October 2019 (Self-funded), in collaboration with Dr Z. Waller - School of Pharmacy, UEA, working on synthesis of heteroatom containing allenes as ligands in metal catalysis and therapeutic applications. Email: A.Apostolides@uea.ac.uk

MSc students

Anu Sha, MSc studetn from January-September 2020, working on the synthesis of fluororescent tetrazolium salts.

Undergraduates 2019-2020

Tino Freestone, MChem student working on the synthesis of heteroatom containing allenes as ligands in metal complexes.

Mei Young, BSc student working on the synthesis of fluororescent tetrazolium salts.

November Walker, BSc student working on the synthesis of fluororescent tetrazolium salts.

 

Past members

 Post Doctoral members

Jose Miguel Alonso-Gomez, PDRA funded by a Leverhulem Trust Reseaarch Grant. December 2015-December 2018, working on "New Transition-Metal Catalysed cascade Cyclisationof N-Tris(allenes).  

Lewis Williams, PDRA funded by NERC. January-December 2018, working on the synthesis of fluororescent tetrazolium salts to measure plankton respiration in a collaborative project with ENV-UEA (Dr Carol Robinson) and international groups as part of the REMAIN project. 

 Maria Teresa Quiros, PDRA funded by a Marie Curie Fellowship April 2015-April 2016, working on the "Platinum-Catalysed Reaction of Bis(allenes): Mechanistic Insights and Future Application". Teresa worked in the group since March 2014 (funded by an EPSRC First Grant), working on "Understanding the Platinum-Catalysed Reaction of Allenes with Nucleophiles: Towards New Reactivities and Novel Structures".

 

Postgraduates

Cesar Hurtado, PhD student graduated in 2016  (Studentship from School of Chemistry; Matching fund for AI-Chem Channel Program), working on: “Gold-catalysed azidation of allenes” and New Transition Metal Catalysed Reaction of Allenes and Bisallenes.”

 Lisa Cooper, PhD student graduated in 2017 (Studentship from School of Chemistry – Novartis; Matching fund for AI-Chem Channel Program), working on: “Synthesis of multi-heteroaromatic structures by metal-catalysed reaction of allenes with nucleophiles.” 

  

Master Students

Stefanie Höehne, German Master Students from Ruprecht-Karls-University of Heidelberg, April-September 2012, working on: “Gold-catalysed addition reactions of azides to allenes.”

Salomé Poyer, French Master Students from University of Rouen (Interreg Program), January-June 2012, working on: “Stereochemistry of the Lactonisation of Allyl Malonates Promoted by Triflic Acid; an NMR Study.”

Ahad Alsahli, MSc Student from January-Spetember 2014 (Self-funded), working on "Platinum-catlaysed reactions of ynamide propargyl esters." in collaboration with Dr David Carbery (University of Bath). 

Bandar Alshammari, MSc studetn from January-September 2019 (Self-funded), working on the synthesis of fluororescent tetrazolium salts.

 

Undergraduates 2018-2019

Jamellah Paragas, MChem student working on the synthesis of fluororescent tetrazolium salts.

Elizabeth Crlly, BSc student working on the synthesis of heteroatom containing allenes as ligands in metal complexes.

 

Undergraduates 2017-2018

Greg Sharp, MChem studetns working on: "Gold-platinum bimetallic catalysis in the nucleophilic addition to allenes".

Jimmy Tran, BSc student working on: "Transition metal catalysed reaction of indolyl bisallene and indolyl bisalkyne structures and other derivatives".

 

Undergraduates 2016-2017

Kirsty Smith, MChem studetn working on: "Using platinum catalysis for the rational design of non-natural products with potential biological activity from C2-indolyl allenes".

Nafimul Haque, MChem studetn working on: "Using platinum catalysis for the rational design of non-natural products with potential biological activity from C3-indolyl allenes".

 

Undergraduates 2015-2016

Sachini Herath, MChem Student, working on: “Platinum-catalysed ireaction of indolylallenes with indoles: alternative technologies for the synthesis of substituted tetrhydropyrido[1,2a]indoles with potential biological activity”. 

Henry Bell, BSc Students, working on "Synthesis if 1,5-Bisallenes". 

 

Undergraduates 2014-2015

Louise Eagling, MChem with a year in Industry Student, working on: “Platinum-catalysed ireaction of indolylallenes with indoles: alternative technologies for the synthesis of substituted tetrhydropyrido[1,2a]indoles with potential biological activity” in collaboration with Novartis. 

Ben Julian, MChem Student, working on: “Platinum-catalysed synthesis of multiindole structures".

Carlos Perez Guerrero, Erasmus Student, working on:“Synthesis on new Au(III) complexes with allenic ligands".

 

Undergraduates 2013-2014

Helen Newson, MChem with a year in Industry Student, working on: “Platinum-catalysed inter- and intra-molecular addition of nucleophiles to indolylallenes” in collaboration with Novartis. 

Laura Hone, MChem Student working on: “Synthesis on new Au(III) complexes with allenic ligand for cancer treatment”

Lucia Castillo-Nieto, Erasmus Student, working on: “Platinum-Catalysed cyclisation of substituted bisallenes.”

Lydia Jacobs, BSc Student, working on literature project based on “Cyclisations of Bisallenes.” 

 

Undergraduates 2012-2013

Lisa Cooper, MChem Student, working on: “Acid-Promoted / Catalysed Synthesis of Lactones From β- And γ-Allenic Esters.”

Adam Green, MChemStudent, working on: “Investigating the active catalyst in the platinum-catalysed dihydroalkoxylation of allenes.”

 

Undergraduates 2011-2012

Elisabeth Pinneh, 2nd year undergraduate at the School of Chemistry, UEA, working on: “Synthesis of 1,3-disubstituted allenes in the microwave, and Platinum catalysed reaction with nucleophilic azides.”

Charlie Gibbons, BSc, working on: “Triflic acid mediated dealkylative lactonisation of allylmalonates.”

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