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     New Chemistry




     A transition metal borylene

     complex stabilized by a non-

     carbonyl ligand set: formation

     by spontaneous halide loss to

     give an extremely short metal-

     -boron bond (video).

     (work by David Addy)






Former Group Members


Since 1998, twelve students have completed doctoral degrees in the Aldridge group. On graduating, these students have gone on to take up post-doctoral positions (with six former group members then going on to obtain permanent academic faculty positions), or to work in the chemical industry, in patent law, or in teaching.


Former Doctoral Students


Dr Richard Calder (PhD, Cardiff, 2002). Rich was the first PhD student to graduate from the group and got the transition metal boryl project up and running. Some of his work in the area can be found here.


Dr Deborah Kays, née Coombs (PhD Cardiff, 2003). Debs was our second PhD graduate and was instrumental in getting the borylene project going. She now has a faculty position in Nottingham and is a budding film star on YouTube. Some of her work in the group can be found here.


Dr Andrea Rossin (PhD Cardiff, 2004) worked on a joint experimental and theoretical project and was obviously more enthused by the latter, leaving the group to work for Prof Lledos in Barcelona as a PDRA. Some of his DFT contributions to our work can be found here, and experimental work here.


Dr Amal Al-Fawaz (PhD Cardiff, 2004). Amal joined the group from Saudi Arabia, where she subsequently returned to take up a faculty position at King Saud University. Her work in the group concerned aspects of perfluoroarylboryl systems.


Dr Chris Bresner (PhD Cardiff, 2005). Chris holds the record as the longest serving member of the group – spending time as an undergraduate project student, PhD student and PDRA with us before heading off to work as a senior chemist at Biotage in October 2007. He recently took up a new post at Purolite International. His sterling efforts got the sensor project off the ground and some of his results were published here.


Dr Natalie Bunn (PhD Cardiff, 2005). Natalie was a Cardiff graduate who started her PhD in 2002 after completing her final year undergraduate project in the group. She started the gallium-based ligands project and is currently working as a chemistry teacher in Australia.


Dr Rebecca Baghurst (PhD Cardiff, 2005) worked on a Synetix (latterly JM) sponsored project on transition metal complex synthesis and catalysis. Some of her work can be found here.


Dr Joanna Day (PhD Cardiff, 2008). Jo worked in Cardiff and in Oxford on the Lewis acids/sensors project and recently graduated having successfully defended her thesis in May 2008. Some of her recent work was featured on the cover of Inorganic Chemistry here.


Dr Natalie Coombs (PhD Cardiff, 2008). Natalie ‘Mini’ Coombs was also involved in the move from Cardiff to Oxford, and was the last member of the group to submit her thesis in Cardiff – successfully defending it in September 2008. Aspects of her work were the basis of a recent highlight article in Angewandte Chemie.


Dr Glesni Pierce (DPhil Oxford, 2009) joined the Aldridge group to study for her DPhil in January 2006. She worked on the formation and reactivity of terminal borylene complexes, (see here for an example of her work) and after a recent successful thesis defence, now works for the Research and Commercial Division of Cardiff University.


Dr Alex Broomsgrove (DPhil Oxford, 2010). Alex obtained his MChem degree from Cardiff University before joining the group on its move to Oxford in January 2007. Alex’s project focused on ferrocene based sensors for cyanide and fluoride. He graduated in late 2010, and example of his work can be found here.


Dr Hassanatu Mansaray (DPhil Oxford 2011) did her undergraduate MChem Chemistry with Industrial Experience degree at the University of Manchester. She joined the group in September 2007 and worked on highly sterically demanding amido ligands in Main Group chemistry. Part of her work was recently published in Chem.-Eur. J. and in Chem. Commun. Hassaine left the group in 2011 to take up a position with the African Development Bank.


Victoria Chislett. Victoria graduated in 2006 with 1st class honours (MChem) from Cardiff University. Following a year in corporate finance, she rejoined the world of chemistry and undertook a project in collaboration with the EPSRC National Mass Spectrometry Service Centre in Swansea. She is currently working as a chemistry teacher.


Former Post-doctoral Co-workers


Dr Deborah Kays, née Coombs (Cardiff) and Dr Chris Bresner (Cardiff, Oxford) – see above.


Dr Matt Hargreaves (Cardiff). Matt, along with Tom Tatchell was involved with aspects of an EPSRC funded project on chemical sensors.


Dr Tom Tatchell (Cardiff). Tom worked in conjunction with the group of Ian Fallis on sensor systems and made a significant contribution to a recent patent in the area. Tom was recently appointed as Taught Schemes Administrator for the Cardiff School of Chemistry.


Dr Juan Urbano. Juan joined the group in March 2009 after completing his PhD studies with Professor Pedro Pérez at the University of Huelva, and returned to Spain to take up a position in the same institution in October 2010. His work in the group targeted sub-valent boron-containing ligand systems, parts of which are due to be published soon.


Dr Dragoslav (Drasko) Vidovic was born in Serbia and received his BSc from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver in 2002. He joined the group in 2007 having completed his PhD studies with Prof Alan Cowley at the University of Texas at Austin. Drasko worked in the group as an EPSRC-funded research associate for three years on group 13 element chemistry, before leaving to take up a faculty position at NTU, Singapore in November 2010.


Dr Christina Tang obtained both her first and DPhil degrees from Oxford. She carried out her Part 2 and postgraduate research projects with Prof Tony Downs on the synthesis and characterization of group 13 metal hydride complexes. She joined the Aldridge group in May 2007, and worked on aspects of the transition metal mediated dehydrogenation of ammonia borane and related amine derivatives. In June 2011 she left the group to take up a faculty position at Hong Kong Baptist University.


Dr Inke Siewert. Inke was born in Germany and received both of her degrees from the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Her postgraduate research in the group of Prof Christian Limberg was focused on dioxygen activation with bioinspired mono- and dinuclear iron complexes, the oxygenation reactions of which were then investigated mechanistically. From September 2009 until December 2011 she worked in the group as a postdoctoral fellow, funded by the DFG, investigating multidentate Lewis acids for the sensing of environmentally relevant anions. Currently she is working towards her habilitation in Göttingen.


Dr Jochen Niemeyer joined the group in March 2010 from Gerhard Erker’s group in Münster. Jochen’s post-doctoral stay in the group was funded by the DFG and involved working on aspects of metal borylene chemistry, including extended conjugated systems. Aspects of this work were recently published in Angew. Chem.


Former Part 2 Undergraduate Project Students


For a selection of published work based on recent Part 2 projects see here.


The first cohort of Part 2 students (2007/8) comprised Will Smith (Wadham), Cally Haynes (also Wadham) and David Addy (St Peter’s). Will made a big contribution to the iridium N-heterocyclic carbene project, Dave had work published on the sensor project and is starting a DPhil in the group, while Cally has gone to start a PhD with Prof Phil Gale in Southampton.


The 2008/9 crew comprised Mike Kelly, who is now a DPhil student in the group, Angie DiPaolo who is currently employed by BP and had a paper including some of her Part 2 work published in Chem. Commun., and Jan Lednik who worked with Christina Tang on the Group 9 NHC project.


Phil Fitzpatrick, Nick Phillips, Katie Smart and Antonia Vanbergen were the Part 2 students in 2009/10. Phil who hails from Yorkshire worked on steric effects in Lewis acid sensors and had his name on two papers published by the group in 2010. Antonia, who was also from Queen’s studied bulky pyridine ligands and their reactions with metal dihalide compounds. Katie – who was the third project student to join the group from Wadham College – worked on the use of N-heterocyclic carbenes in the stabilization of unsaturated transition metal systems and is now working for her PhD in Toulouse under the supervision of Sylviane Sabo-Etienne. Nick Phillips (Balliol) worked on the synthesis of new transition metal borylene complexes possessing non-carbonyl ligand sets and subsequently started his DPhil studies in the group.


The 2010-11 cohort of Part 2 students comprised Mike O’Neill and Alex Rowe from Queen’s College, Sian Edmonds (Jesus College) and Jessica Smart (LMH). Papers in J. Am. Chem. Soc. and Chem. Commun. arose from their efforts.







     Further Information




    Group Calendar

    Group Members

         Post-doctoral co-workers

         DPhil and Part 2 students

         Former Group Members

         Simon Aldridge











    Group photo, Cardiff Nov 2004:

    (back) Bres, Simon, Debs, Ollie

    Buttler (Erasmus visiting student);

    (front) Geraint Worgan (project

    student), Jo, ‘Mini’ and Bunno.



    Former Part 2 students Antonia

    Vanbergen and Katie Smart in lab S12





    Dave, Vicky, Drasko, Hassanatu,

    Alex and Glesni slumming it

    at Queen’s.



    The group as of October 2009 (minus

    Simon, Drasko, Andrey and Phil).



    Another shot from the 2009-10

    academic year. (Back) Mike, Ian

    Dave, Jochen; (front) Antonia, Katie

    Hassanatu, Inke and Alex.