News (August 2015) - Collaborative research initiated through OxSynC has just been published in Nature Communications. We contributed synthetic samples of the 'drilodefensins' HEFS and PEFS for structural confirmation and so that their properties could be properly studied.
Associate Professor in Organic Chemistry and Tutorial Fellow at Brasenose College.
Overview - Undergraduate (1983–1987) and graduate (1987–1990) degrees at Oxford then post-doctoral research at Columbia University, New York (1990–1992).
Research projects - Undergraduate - with Prof. Laurence Harwood on the synthesis of substrates for intramolecular cycloadditions. Graduate - with Prof. Sir Jack Baldwin on free radical ring-expansion reactions. Post doc - with Prof. Gilbert Stork on the total synthesis of taxol.
Independent research - My labs were initially housed in the Dyson Perrins Laboratory (1992 onwards) then moved to the Chemistry Research Laboratory ('the CRL') in February 2004.
Other activities - I was a Business Fellow with the London Technology Network (2008–2010) and, in 2012, co-founded OxSynC for connecting external researchers with Oxford's synthetic chemists.
Natural product synthesis - My group pursues natural product synthesis problems that promote the invention of new synthetic strategies and methodologies, provide stringent tests of our newly-developed methods, and generate synthetic analogues for collaborative projects requiring compounds with a specified biological activity. Particular areas of focus include targets with relevance to cancer chemotherapy, neurodegenerative disorders, and cognition.
Synthetic methodology - We develop mechanism-based hypotheses in order to discover new chemistry and gain insights into reaction selectivity and efficiency. We are especially interested in free radical chemistry and electron transfer mediated processes, pericyclic cascades, ‘high chemical potential’ intermediates, and catalysis for complexity generation.
Working in the group - These two areas act cooperatively and students in my group receive a broad training in mechanistic organic chemistry, multistep synthesis, methodology development, and the interface of organic synthesis and biological systems.