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The University of Southampton

Research Group: Organic Chemistry: Synthesis, Catalysis and Flow

Currently Active: 

Synthetic organic chemists look to make molecules that have an interesting function, whether this be biological activity (natural products, drugs, drug-like compounds, agrochemicals, diagnostics, probes etc.) or materials with useful properties (liquid crystals, organic electronic materials etc.). Importantly, some of our targets are known molecules while others are newly designed ones. As a consequence, we often work together to solve problems that demand a broad range of expertise.


Areas of interest to group leaders in Southampton include:

Total synthesis. Research is focused on exploring strategies for the efficient construction of target compounds. In many cases, judicious selection from the existing ‘toolbox’ of organic transformations is key, but at times novel transformations need to be developed to address a particular structural feature.

Methodology. Here our focus is on developing tools to enable synthetic transformations to be performed in an efficient manner. This includes the discovery, development and exemplification of new transformations; the optimisation and scoping of existing transformations (e.g. by developing new reagents or catalysts) and the creation of novel molecular architectures such as scaffolds for drug development. Results from this type of research feed into, or are directly connected with, our interests in total synthesis and medicinal chemistry.

Flow chemistry. Southampton staff are at the forefront of developments in flow chemistry, where chemical reactions are conducted in a continuous fashion rather than as batch process. Our primary expertise is in the development of new reagentless methodologies using photo-, thermo- and electrochemistry, and in the study of reaction mechanisms.

Medicinal chemistry. In Southampton this covers a wide range of research, typically directed at the optimisation of properties through introducing changes in the molecular structure of ‘lead’ compounds (the synthesis of analogues). For the most part it is centred on the optimisation of bioactivities, but also includes metabolic stability and lipophilicity. In fact, the study of the change in molecular properties upon introduction of a particular modification (e.g. fluorination) can be a goal in itself. Medicinal chemistry oriented research is typically conducted in collaboration with biological scientists, in academia and industry, who are interested in exploiting bioactive compounds.

The section comprises 5 group leaders, who are listed below with their specific research interests. More information can be found on their webpages.

Bruno Linclau. Medicinal chemistry, organofluorine and carbohydrate chemistry, synthetic methodology

David Harrowven. Total synthesis, flow chemistry, photo- and thermochemistry, reaction mechanism

Richard Brown. Total synthesis, flow chemistry, electrochemistry, synthetic methodology

Ramon Rios. Methodology, organocatalysis, synergistic catalysis, photocatalysis, supported catalysis

Richard Whitby. Medicinal chemistry, flow chemistry, reaction mechanism, organic electronic materials



If you are interested in joining us either to study or to become part of our research team please select the relevant link below for further information.

Taught degrees (MSc Chemistry, MSc Instrumental Analytical Chemistry, MSc Chemistry by Research, MSc Electrochemistry)

Funded PhD Opportunities

PhD Opportunities. Most of the vacancies in chemistry are not individually listed. Instead, applicants are invited to list several members of chemistry whose research interests them, within one of our main research groups when applying

Current job vacancies at the University of Southampton

Key Publications

List of related projects to Organic Chemistry: Synthesis, Catalysis and Flow
Related ProjectsStatus
Whitby: Natural product synthesis using zirconium chemistryActive
Grossel: New materials for Optoelectronics ApplicationsActive
Linclau: The Influence of Fluorination on LipophilicityActive
Linclau: The influence of fluorination on hydrogen bonding properties of functional groupsActive
Harrowven: Chemistry Without ReagentsActive
Grossel: Supramolecular Approaches to Cryogenic NMR Relaxation AgentsActive
Solid-Phase Organic SynthesisActive
Linclau: Polyfluorinated CarbohydratesActive
Rios: Asymmetric Synthesis of Natural Products and PharmaceuticalsActive
Grossel: New Crystal Engineering SynthonsActive
Whitby: Invention of new transition metal catalysed reactionsActive
Grossel: Biological applications of polymersActive
Rios: Design of new catalystsActive
Flow ElectrosynthesisActive
Harrowven: Total SynthesisActive
Rios: Asymmetric Organocatalytic methodologiesActive
Rios: Synergistic catalysisActive
Harrowven: Synthesis of Medium-Sized Rings, Biaryls and TriarylsActive
Harrowven: Radical ReactionsActive
Nandhakumar & Whitby: Molecular Electronics and Neural Networks Active
Whitby: Organic synthesis using transition metal chemistryActive
Whitby: Asymmetric Synthesis - Novel chiral transition metal complexesActive
Oxidative Cyclisation: Total Syntheses of AcetogeninsActive
Whitby: Insertion of carbenoids into organozirconocene chloridesActive
Harrowven: Total Synthesis of Cavicularin and Riccardin CActive
Linclau:Intramolecular hydrogen bonding between organofluorine and alcoholsActive
Rios: Organocascade ReactionsActive
Rios: Synthesis of Fluorinated CompoundsActive
Linclau: The synthesis of luminacin DActive
Whitby: Insertion of carbenoids into zirconacyclesActive
Whitby: Synthesis of Bioactive compounds: Ligands for Nuclear Receptors and Neuroactive aminesActive
Metal Oxo-Mediated Methodology: Oxidative Cyclisation of 1,5-dienesDormant
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