Prof. Declan Gilheany

Funded Investigator Molecule I
University College Dublin


980-81: Temporary Lecturer QUB; 1983-92: Lecturer St. Patricks College Maynooth; 1988-90: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Visiting Professor and Fulbright Scholar in K.B. Sharpless lab); 1992-date UCD: College Lecturer, Senior Lecturer 2002, Associate Professor 2006. 2008: Society of Chemical Industry Wesley Cocker Award for Chemical Industry. 2009: UCD Presidents Research Fellow, Stanford University Visiting Professor.

Member Royal Society of Chemistry (Hon. Sec. 1992-97), American Chemical Society and Institute of Chemistry of Ireland. Member of the Forfas Technology Foresight Chemical and Pharmaceutical Panel (1998, forerunner of Science Foundation Ireland). Member of Industrial Research Commercialisation Committee (IRCC) of Enterprise Ireland (2006/08), Member Government Chief Scientific Advisor Panel of Experts (2009-).

At MIT I found a significant improvement in the Sharpless asymmetric dihydroxylation (AD) reaction – patent recognition was granted for this contribution and is still generating royalty income. I am honoured to be able to note that this work formed a small part of the body of work for which Sharpless won the 2001 Nobel Prize and gratified that he mentioned this in his Nobel Prize address.

Research Expertise

Catalytic asymmetric synthesis

Metal-salen complexes for asymmetric oxidation

Metal-phosphine complexes for asymmetric hydrogenation and hydroformylation

Phosphine oxides and other additives in the Grignard reaction; construction of novel sugars by asymmetric oxidation organophosphorus chemistry

Anew route to P-stereogenic phosphines and oxides via asymmetric Appel conditions

Stable primary phosphines; mechanisms of the Wittig reaction

Reduction of phosphine oxides; construction of P-stereogenic units for ProTide drugs



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