Research interests

I carried out research for my PhD under the supervision of the late Professor Ralph Raphael. I developed a new route to dihydrofuranones, and completed a synthetic approach to the Pseudomonic acids. With this training in target synthesis, I spent one year at the ETH, Zürich, working with Professor Dieter Seebach on the synthesis of a derivative of the macrodiolide Elaiophylin.

I returned to the UK in 1985 to take up a lectureship in Newcastle. Our initial work was in nucleophilic epoxidation, and epoxide anion chemistry, but we also initiated a programme in the area of unnatural amino acid synthesis. We found that organozinc derivatives of amino acids could be prepared, were surprisingly stable, and provided an easy route to a large variety of useful compounds. This latter area blossomed, and resulted in various awards, from Pfizer, Zeneca and the Hickinbottom Fellowship of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

More recently, we have extended our research to the area of asymmetric catalysis, and discovered a simple method for the asymmetric epoxidation of enones, and a highly efficient method for the asymmetric oxidation of alkyl aryl sulfides to the corresponding sulfoxides. We are also interested in solid phase chemistry, and the application of combinatorial techniques to the discovery of new catalysts.

I am a member of the Sheffield Synthesis Solutions team, who offer a range of consultancy, training and collaborative research services. Further details are available from the S3 website: