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SSPC Academic Collaboration of the Year
September 5, 2023

Congratulations to the teams at UCC and UCD named SSPC Academic Collaboration of the Year.

Team: Katie S. O’Callaghan, Denis Lynch, Stuart G. Collins and Anita R. Maguire, UCC and Marcus Baumann, UCD

The collaborative background

The Baumann lab in UCD and the Maguire-Collins lab in UCC have complementary skills and expertise in the area of continuous flow chemistry, and in recent years have been developing productive links between these research teams to underpin a coherent flow chemistry platform within SSPC, complemented by other teams across SSPC. Future collaborative engagement is envisaged between the two groups due to the clear synergy and complementarity, and positive collaborative relationship.

When Katie O’Callaghan (SSPC funded PhD in UCC) presented her work on photolysis in flow at a Molecules 1 theme meeting, Marcus suggested experiments which might be conducted within his lab in UCD using a complementary LED light source (365nm) to the lamps Katie had used in UCC (mercury lamp and blue LEDs 450nm) with a view to enhancing the selectivity of the photochemical transformation and decrease degradation. Accordingly, Katie visited Marcus’ lab during the summer of 2022, having prepared the precursors in UCC. She undertook the photolysis experiments with Marcus in UCD, then brought the product mixtures back to UCC for detailed analysis and comparison with earlier results.  Unexpectedly the results showed that use of the LED led to an indistinguishable outcome to that seen with the medium pressure mercury lamp in UCC. This unanticipated outcome led to enhanced insight into the role of the photosensitiser in the reaction system.

Output via joint publication: “Flow photolysis of aryldiazoacetates leading to dihydrobenzofurans via intramolecular C–H insertion.” Katie S. O’Callaghan, Denis Lynch, Marcus Baumann, Stuart G. Collins and Anita R. Maguire Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry, 2023, 21, 4770 – 4780 (https://doi.org/10.1039/D3OB00541K).

New insights gleaned through this collaborative work have been included in the above paper describing Katie’s research undertaken during her PhD and presented at a number of international meetings highlighting the collaborative environment within the SSPC, including SelectBio at Rotterdam in March 2023 where both Marcus and Anita presented their work.

Strategically this collaboration was central to the development of the first SSPC Flow Day at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals in early 2023 which drew ~50 delegates from across Ireland to discuss the current state of the art in the field as well as challenges and opportunities of strengthened links with SSPC as an enabler. Moreover, our team effort also triggered discussions on how to best showcase the SSPC research community at the upcoming 14th CFRT meeting in Dublin (September 26-28th, 2023) where both Anita and Marcus are actively involved as chairs and panel members of a roundtable discussion. Due to the very positive resonance of this collaboration and the resultant publication that has provided for additional international visibility of SSPC funded research activities, the team is now also in a strong position to apply for competitive funding and initial discussions with international stakeholders are underway.

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