Ren’s new Paper in OBC

Our latest paper has been published online in the RSC journal Org Biomol Chem. The paper describes a new way to make glycosyl chlorides using oxalyl chloride as chlorine source and just a catalytic amount of phosphine oxide. The reaction is very clean and so the product can be further reacted without purification in a subsequent organocatalytic glycosylation.

graphical abstract for website

The paper comprises work by Imlirenla, Eoghan and our UCD colleague Kirill Nikitin. This is Ren’s second paper and first as lead author, so particular congratulations to her. The research was funded by Science Foundation Ireland (mostly under a CDA grant to Eoghan). The paper can be read online (currently with a valid subscription, open access will follow, reprints available, email Eoghan):

Org Biomol Chem 2019, advance article;


Sofia in Chemistry World

Great to see former PhD student Dr Sofia Papadouli featured in chemistry world in an article on the important issue of gender equality. Sofia did her PhD in the Bristol Synthesis CDT, jointly supervised by Prof. Paul Pringle and Eoghan. Also featured is another former Bristol CDT student Jo Sampson. Both are now working at CatSci, featured in the article because it has an almost 50/50 gender balance. The McGarrigle group is as close to 50:50 as you can get 9 people to be (5:4); we are committed to equality and diversity in all forms.

EuroCarb XX in Leiden

The McGarrigle group was well represented at EuroCarb XX in Leiden this week. Eoghan gave a short talk and we presented four posters. Some of our highlights of the meeting included Prof Steve Withers changing blood to universal donor blood type, Prof David Crich on promising antibiotics (which the world badly needs), Prof Adrian Minaard on site-selective catalysis and Prof Charles Loh on his group’s organocatalysed glycosylations. Congratulations to Prof Carme Rovira and Alba Silipo on their award lectures for the Emil Fischer and Carbohydrate Research awards, respectively. Thanks to the Leiden group for hosting the >500 participants in the beautiful city of Leiden. We enjoyed our visit to the city, with its beautiful canals, windmills, and lots of bicycles. Thanks to SFI and UCD for funding to participate in the meeting. Now we are looking forward to the next EuroCarb in Paris!

PhD position available

SFIA funded PhD position is available to start in the group in September 2019. The position is funded by the SFI SSPC-Pharm5 programme. It is a 4-year position, with funding for stipend, EU-fees, consumables and travel. There will also be an opportunity for a placement in one of the centre’s pharmaceutical company partners during the PhD. The topic of the project concerns use of organocatalysis in the asymmetric synthesis of organophosphorus compounds.

Applications are welcome from EU students with, or expecting to gain, a first class honours BSc degree (or equivalent) or MSc. Experience in any area of modern Chemical Synthesis including organic and inorganic methodology, natural product and target molecule synthesis, organometallic chemistry, catalysis, asymmetric synthesis, or carbohydrate chemistry would be an advantage. The closing date for applications is June 4th 2019.

Successful candidates will be encouraged to develop their chemical knowledge, technical skills and transferable skills. They will attend courses on the Dublin Chemistry programme and those offered through SSPC, and attend group meetings, seminars and international conferences. They will develop advanced synthetic chemistry skills and gain particular expertise in the development of catalysts for organic reactions. On graduation they should be well placed to pursue a career in either the chemical industry or as an academic researcher.

Inaugural Lecture and Medals Awarded

Congratulations to Joseph Ruddy, Cian Reid and Cathal Caulfield – yesterday they were awarded Dervilla Donnelly medals for finishing joint top of the 2018 BSc class in Medicinal Chemistry & Chemical Biology. Cian and Joe carried out their final year research projects in the group last year. Joe is a current group member while Cian is now a research student in the Guiry group. Congratulations also to our former summer intern, Anna Sozanschi, who was awarded the Frank Hegarty medal for her performance in the 3rd year of the BSc in Medicinal Chemistry & Chemical Biology. For a full list of winners see the School news item.

These medals were awarded as part of the School of Chemistry’s Research Day. The research day finished with the UCD Chemistry Society’s Inaugural Lecture. The invited lecture was given this year by Prof Steve Ley (Univ. Cambridge). Well done to the ChemSoc team for all their efforts throughout the year, especially President Gaffney!

Peter presents at School Research Day

Inaugural Photo 2019 croppedWell done to Peter who presented his poster yesterday on his final year undergraduate research project. The poster session was part of the UCD School of Chemistry Research Day and marks the end of the final year undergraduate projects for most of our BSc students. It was a great celebration of all the research carried out during the year. We take this opportunity to thank Peter for all his hard work during the year – his efforts have progressed the group’s science significantly. Zohair will present his poster later in the year when his project is complete. Peter and Zohair are pictured with members of the lab (Gilheany and McGarrigle research groups). We wish Peter and Zohair good luck for their summer exams, the last exams for Peter in his BSc.

Bristol Synthesis Meeting

BristolSynthesis Speakers Dinner 2019BristolSynthesis VKA academics 2019






We attended the Bristol Synthesis Meeting yesterday. The annual meeting had excellent talks from Profs. Ilan Marek, Dean Toste, Helma Wennemers, Craig Townsend and Michinori Suginome. The meeting was hosted by Prof. Varinder Aggarwal. Eoghan is pictured with some of the former Aggarwal group members who attended the meeting, and at dinner with the speakers.

Congratulations Dr O’Fearraigh!

MartinViva Photo croppedCongratulations to Martin who passed his PhD viva voce exam yesterday! This is culmination of 4 years of research for Martin. We had a party to celebrate of course. The examination was conducted by Prof. Marc Lecouvey (Univ. Paris 13) as the external examiner and Prof. Pat Guiry (UCD) as the internal examiner, with Prof Mike Casey (UCD) as chair. In the afternoon Prof. Lecouvey gave a seminar on his own research on “The Synthesis of Bisphosphorylated Compounds and their Applications in Biomedicine“. Martin’s PhD was sponsored by the Irish Research Council under a Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship. Some of his PhD has been published in Synthesis last year and more publications will follow.

Eoghan presents in Germany

Eoghan spoke this week at the 691st WE Heraeus Seminar this week. The meeting was held in Physik-Zentrum in Bad-Honnef near Bonn and was entitled “Physical Organic Chemistry: Recent developments in instrumentation, structure, theory, and mechanisms”. The meeting was organised by Prof. Christina Thiele (TU Darmstadt) and Prof. Peter Schreiner (Uni. Giessen) and had great talks from across the breadth of physical organic chemistry. Some of our highlights were talks by Profs Peter Chen (ETH Zurich), Ruth Gschwind (Regensberg), Derek Pratt (Ottawa), Steve Fletcher (Oxford) and Dan Singleton (Texas). There were lots of opportunities to engage with all of the participants at this excellent venue. Thanks to the meeting sponsors, the Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Foundation, for making this excellent meeting possible.