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WELCOME As the Head of School, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of our readers, both alumni and friends. This newsletter will give our readers a taste of yet another busy year in the School of Chemistry. From student events, to critical impact across multidisciplinary research areas, the School community continues to make notable contributions to life, both on and off campus. This edition of the newsletter will give our alumni and friends a sample of the many achievements that the School has had during this academic year.

The School of Chemistry always welcomes support and good new stories from our alumni and friends. If you would like to connect with us in anyway, please contact our Global Officer, Dr Niamh McGoldrick at nmcgoldr@tcd.ie With very best wishes for the coming year.

In particular, we are proud to add to our education portfolio with both the launch of our new Master’s degree in Energy Science and our newly transformed undergraduate chemistry degree offering, TR061 Chemical Sciences. Details of both programmes are included inside. Our students and staff have had another amazing year and continue to do the School proud. Our Junior Sophister students, Anastasiia Shandra and Sean Mok, were awarded the 2018 Trinity Employability Award in partnership with Intel. Dr Junsi Wang received the prestigious Royal Irish Academy Young Chemist award for 2017 in recognition of the quality of her postgraduate research. In recent weeks, Prof John Kelly, Fellow Emeritus in the School, was the recipient of Ireland’s 2018 Boyle Higgins medal for his work on photochemistry and our Professor of Theoretical, Chemistry Prof Graeme Watson was also elected to the Royal Irish Academy this year. On behalf of the School, I would also like to thank Prof Sylvia Draper for all of her dedication and leadership as Head of School for the last four years. I look forward to continuing her vision as the new Head of School.

Professor Michael Lyons Head of School

Newsletter 2017-18 2014 – 2015

New degree offerings at the School of Chemistry will focus on how our energy demand is being met and how conventional energy resources and technologies can or cannot be replaced by more sustainable resources and technologies. For more information visit www.tcd.ie/courses/energyscience/.

The School of Chemistry’s new Master’s degree in Energy Science and undergraduate degree in Chemical Sciences.

The School of Chemistry is proud to announce the launch of a new Master’s degree programme in Energy Science. Our Energy Science degree is a joint collaboration between the School of Chemistry, Physics, Natural Sciences

and Engineering. This course is designed for students from science and engineering disciplines who are interested in the science and socio-economics of global energy utilisation. In particular, the programme

The School is also proud to announce our new undergraduate degree stream, TR061 Chemical Sciences. A new module in the history and philosophy of science, as well as the introduction of a Capstone project feature in the new degree structure. This aims to embed 21st century learning skills in our curriculum as part of the Trinity Education Project. Dean of Undergraduate Science Education, Prof. Kevin Mitchell commented “The goal of science education in Trinity is not just to train the next generation of scientists, but also those who will work in other careers enabled by advances in scientific knowledge. In doing so we hope to instil an understanding of how science works in all our graduates and provide the ultimate in transferable skills – an ability to evaluate and synthesise evidence, think critically and learn rapidly and continually.” For more information visit www.tcd.ie/Science/streams/.

Salters Festival of Chemistry 2018

Winner of the University Challenge St Andrews College with Dr Carl Poree

The Salters’ Festivals of Chemistry are an initiative of the Salters’ Institute, whose aim is to promote the appreciation of chemistry and related sciences amongst younger students. Each year the festivals are run across dozens of universities in the UK and Ireland with support from the Royal Society of Chemistry. The School of Chemistry at Trinity 2

was chosen to host one of two festivals in the Republic of Ireland this year with the other one being hosted University College Cork. This year, School of Chemistry’s festival took place on the 21 April 2017 with more than 60 1st year Junior Cycle science students from over 20 Leinster based secondary

schools participating in the event. This year’s programme included “The Mystery of the Missing Trophy” and a precision challenge using a rate of reaction experiment. While the students were busy solving problems in the lab, the teachers were treated to a professional development workshop based around teaching rates of reaction at Junior Cycle level. Thank you to all of the students and teachers for taking part in this year’s Salters’ Festival. The School would also like to congratulate this year’s winner of the Salters’ Challenge, Mount Temple Comprehensive School, Clontarf and Maryfield College, Drumcondra. Also, congratulations to St. Andrews College, Booterstown, who are this year’s winners of the University Challenge. Special thanks also to our academic, administrative and technical staff as well as our postgrads who volunteered their time to organise and run this event.



Students celebrate 2018 Trinity Employability Award success students to build on their skills and knowledge to make them ready for the workplace after graduation. We are especially delighted to be doing this in conjunction with Intel Ireland..”

Provost Dr Patrick Prendergast, with winning students, Sean Mok and Anastasiia Shandra, and Intel Ireland General Manager, Eamonn Sinnott

Junior Sophister Nanoscience-Physics and Chemistry of Advanced Materials students, Anastasiia Shandra and Sean Mok, are the winners of the 2017/18 Trinity Employability Award, an initiative in partnership with Intel, which aims to prepare students for future employment by enhancing their career readiness. Trinity joined forces with Intel in late 2016 to pioneer the Trinity Employability Award. The 54 undergraduate students that took part in the 2017/18 programme came from Trinity’s Schools of Engineering, Physics, Chemistry and Computer Science & Statistics.

In addition, a further 52 third-year undergraduate, and postgraduate students from Trinity celebrated their successful completion of the Trinity Employability Award in Partnership with Intel at a special showcase and ceremony. Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast, congratulated all of the students who participated in the programme. He said: “We are dedicated to preparing students for the ever-changing challenges of the 21st century workforce and the Trinity Employability Award has set out to do this. Through a combination of training and experience the Award helps

Anastasiia Shandra, said: “I am very thankful to Trinity and Intel for giving such an opportunity to students as it really shows the perspective that not only grades matter, but the other attributes as well. I am really happy I found out about this program; overall it made me much more confident and aware about my potential and skills!” Sean Mok, said: “It’s refreshing to give us a chance to be acknowledged for extracurricular activities in a formal manner, and for our work outside lectures college is about working to grow as young people and there’s more to development than passing exams. It’s so important to see a big industry player showing us how we can prepare ourselves to be future employees and apply our skills in the real world.” These students received a monetary grant, as well as ongoing support and mentoring from Intel to support their academic studies and allow them to experience practical learning aligned to the needs of industry.

Chemistry breakthroughs open new doors to drug developers and cancer researchers Two independent chemistry breakthroughs have opened doors locked to drug developers and cancer researchers. The discoveries, which involved adding new materials to a previously unstable chemical scaffold, and building molecules onto the “pigments of life”, will also offer new possibilities to molecular engineers, materials and computer scientists and energy researchers. Scientists solved a decades-old challenge by developing new tools for a synthetic (man-made) molecule called cubane, that is widely used in the pharma industry. Cubane molecules consist of eight carbon atoms arranged at the corners of a perfect cube. Yet despite the simplicity of the shape, modern chemistry has, until now, had a very

tough time handling its unique reactivity. By deciphering cubane’s reactivity, the door is now open for drug developers to create new, more diverse therapeutics from cubane and its derivatives. A team of six researchers under the supervision of Professor of Organic Chemistry, Mathias O. Senge, discovered how to circumvent the reactivity of the core, while Senior Research Fellow, Dr Bernhard, and the other team members essentially filled the empty cubane toolbox, which allowed them to establish new connections and craft important residues onto the cubane scaffold. Another group of scientists, also led by Professor Senge, recently discovered how to reconfigure porphyrins, the “pigments of life”, which have long held untapped potential

as useful players in the fields of cancer therapy, solar energy and materials science. In nature, porphyrins are responsible for the green colour of leaves and the red colour of blood. Most of their functions in nature (photosynthesis, oxygen transport) arise when they host different ‘guest metals’ (magnesium, iron, cobalt and nickel) in the centre of the molecule. Different metals spark different functions in these ‘metalloporphyrins’. The five-strong research team discovered that by overcrowding the large porphyrin ring, they could force it to turn inside out and change into a shape similar to a saddle. Importantly, this little trick enabled them to exploit the special properties of the formerly inaccessible core.


Newsletter 2017-18 2014 – 2015

Alumna Interview – Dr Kyra O’Sullivan, graduate of the B.A. Mod Medicinal Chemistry and Ph.D. in Chemistry programme for a year and have now returned to the technical role of senior process engineer.

4. What opportunities did you get during your time at Trinity?

2. Why did you choose your current career?

Studying in Trinity afforded me a huge number of opportunities. During my undergraduate years I spent three months in Vancouver Canada which was a hugely rewarding experience. I spent three months in Copenhagen working on a research project in the final year of my medicinal chemistry degree. It was a fantastic time that I often wish I could repeat!

I have always been technically minded and wished to pursue a career within science and technology. While studying for my Ph.D, I realised that my future was not to remain in academia and I wanted to move into the private sector. Having studied Medicinal Chemistry as an undergraduate, I always assumed my career would be within the pharmaceutical arena. However when I graduated college, Intel was offering a superb graduate engineering program that many of my Trinity colleagues had joined. Despite having almost no semiconductor experience, I applied, was offered a position and have never looked back! 3. What are your strongest memories of Trinity?

Dr Kyra O’Sullivan, graduate of the School of Chemistry

1. What are you doing these days? I have been working with Intel for 5 years, my first career focused job after completing my Ph.D. in Chemistry at Trinity. I joined as a graduate engineer, quickly progressed to a process engineer for two years, moved to a management position


My strongest memories of Trinity are twofold. The first would be the amount of fun I had. I was fortunate enough to study at an undergraduate and postgraduate level at Trinity so I spent the best part of 8 years hanging around campus. In this time, I met a huge plethora of people, many of whom remain close friends and have helped mould me into the person I am today. The second is the vast number of opportunities I had during my time at Trinity. To this day I am still in contact with previous lecturers and staff within the School of Chemistry, not to mention the vast number of alumni who are currently working at Intel. As it happens, my now fiancé is also a Trinity graduate, whom I never met during my time in Trinity, but met in Intel through our connection to Trinity.

As a postgraduate student, I attended a huge number of research talks, both in Ireland and abroad. These events really helped me to develop my networking skills and begin building my own professional network, which is key in helping you succeed in any professional capacity. As part of my research, I collaborated with universities in Reading, Nottingham and Brussels. These collaborations allowed me to work within institutions and many individuals of different expertise. This broadened my knowledge and experiences and helped me to become a better researcher. Outside of my studies, I am hugely interested in sports and was a member of the Ladies Basketball team, Ladies Netball team, Ladies Soccer team and Ladies Rugby team in Trinity. Through competing for these teams, I played in numerous tournaments across Ireland and got the opportunity to try out for the Leinster Ladies Rugby team. Do you have any news or updates that you would like to share with your fellow alumni? Submit your news with an image, subject of study and year of graduation to alumni@tcd.ie



New Staff in the School of Chemistry

New staff members Profs Richard Hobbs, Max Melchor-Garcia and Kim McKelvey

We are delighted to welcome Prof Richard Hobbs, Prof Max Melchor-García and Prof Kim McKelvey to the School of Chemistry. Prof. Richard Hobbs joined the School as a Royal Society-Science Foundation Ireland University Research Fellow in October 2016. He received both B.Sc. (2007) and Ph.D. (2012) in Chemistry from University College Cork. In 2012, Richard joined the Quantum Nanostructures and Nanofabrication group at MIT as a postdoctoral associate where he worked with Prof. Karl Berggren on research related to fundamental interactions of charged-particle beams with matter, development of ultrafast photocathodes and electron optics design and simulation. Since joining the School of Chemistry Richard’s research interests now include the combination of nanofabrication and electron microscopy for the study of energy transfer processes relevant to nanoscale chemistry. Prof Max García-Melchor received his B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Chemistry from the

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. His Master and Doctorate studies focussed on computational methods to elucidate the reaction mechanisms of several palladiumcatalysed cross-coupling reactions. Dr García-Melchor joined the School as the Ussher Assistant Professor in Chemical Energy Systems and leads the Computational Catalysis and Energy Materials (CCEM) group. His research group focuses on the theoretical description of homogeneous and heterogeneous catalytic reactions with energy-related applications, and the design of more efficient materials for the development of renewable energy technologies. Prof Kim McKelvey completed his B.ASc and M.AppSci in Computational Modelling at the University of Otago before undertaking a MSc. and Ph.D. at the University of Warwick. Prof McKelvey has held postdoctoral positions in the University of Notre Dame and the University of Utah before joining us in September 2017. Kim is an interdisciplinary

scientist and specialises in quantifying and visualizing electrochemical reactions at the nanoscale. He has extensive expertise in electrochemistry, physical chemistry, and scientific computing. His research group focuses on the use of electrochemistry to understand the effect of nanostructure in energy storage and conversion technologies, such as batteries, fuel cells, solar cells, sensors. The School also welcomed Executive Officer, Jennifer McHugh, Teaching Fellows Carl Poree and Steffi Suja Thomas and technical staff Tom Conroy and Edward Scanlon. We also said goodbye to Prof Rachel Evans and Prof Georg Duesberg in 2017 and wish them well as they take up new academic positions in the University of Cambridge and Universität der Bundeswehr München respectively. We look forward to continuing our connection with both through many fruitful collaborations in the coming years.


Newsletter 2017-18 2014 – 2015

Chemistry Alumni to Student Careers Networking Event In February 2018, the School of Chemistry was delighted to host our first Alumni to Student Careers Networking event. The School’s networking events aim to prepare students for careers both in and outside of chemistry by enabling them to hear personal stories from a variety of graduates. This event showcased careers in research, industry, business, marketing, and education as well as personal stories that took our graduates across the globe. The School would like to thank all of our alumni for giving up their time and sharing their experiences with our staff and students.

Pictures from our Alumni to Student Careers Networking event from February of this year

The School will be holding a similar event for postgraduate students in June. If you are a graduate of either our M.Sc or Ph.D programme, and are interested in coming to the event, please contact the School’s Global Officer, Dr Niamh McGoldrick at nmcgoldr@tcd.ie

Prizes and awards

Dr Junsi Wang receiving her award from the Royal Irish Academy with her supervisor Prof Sylvia Draper

The School of Chemistry wish to congratulate Dr Junsi Wang, the winner of the Royal Irish Academy’s 2017 Young Chemist Prize sponsored by Henkel. Dr Wang completed


her undergraduate degree in Dalian University of Technology in China and her postgraduate degree under the supervisor of Prof Sylvia Draper in the School of Chemistry. Her research included collaborative work with Prof. Jianzhang Zhao at Dalian University of Technology. Dr. Wang’s winning paper entitled “In search of strong light-harvesting and long-lived Ru(II) and Ir(III) triplet photosensitisers” focuses on a process called upconversion. This has been shown to improve the efficiency of solar cells and to broaden the application of photodynamic therapy in the treatment of certain types of cancer. Her research results have made an impactful contribution to this field. Congratulations also to Prof John M. Kelly, Fellow Emeritus, on winning the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland’s 2018 Boyle Higgins Gold Medal. Prof Kelly has over 50 years experience in photochemistry, most recently in the area of metal complexes as DNA probes. To mark the occasion, Prof. Kelly gave a lecture entitled

Prof John M. Kelly (right) being presented with his Boyle Higgins Gold Medal

‘1.4 Giga-seconds Exciting Chemistry -Time and the Photochemist’ at the Institute’s AGM in the Royal College of Surgeons on April 19th. Finally, the School wishes to congratulate Prof Graeme Watson on his recent election to the Royal Irish Academy.



Research Highlights Prof Mathias Senge was recently awarded ‘Polythea’ European Joint Doctorate. This the first joint doctorate programme to have been awarded to Trinity under the Horizon 2020 Marie Curie Innovative Training Network programme. The network of 7 universities, 4 industrial partners and 1 research institute across Europe, led by Université de Limoges in France, will train 10 young researchers in the field of photodynamic treatments over the next 4 years.

Some of our new postgraduate class, who have joined the research community at the School of Chemistry this year with Prof. Donall Mac Donaill, Director of Postgraduate Teaching and Learning

The School continues to attract major national and European funding to support the cutting-edge research being performed by our outstanding researchers. Some examples of recent successes are highlighted here. Congratulations to Prof Richard Hobbs and Prof Aidan McDonald, who are recipients of prestigious Royal Society University Research Fellowships in 2017. The University Research Fellowship programme, which is

co-funded by Science Foundation Ireland, is for outstanding early career scientists, who have the potential to become leaders in their chosen fields. Prof Hobbs received the award for his work on ‘Engineering energy transfer on the nanoscale at plasmonic surfaces’ while Prof McDonald’s research focuses on the chemistry of synthetic compounds that allow us to understand metal-containing enzymes that play a pivotal role in human health.

Congratulations to Dr Parvaneh Mokarian who is coordinating a major E.U. project valued at €8.2m to pioneer the mass production of anti-reflective, scratch and abrasion resistant surfaces. Dr Parvaneh Mokarian was recently awarded a Trinity Innovation Award by Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast, in the “One-2-watch” category for her innovation research and entrepreneurship. Congratulations to Dr Alessandro Iannaci who has been awarded a Marie SkłodowskaCurie actions Individual Fellowship for his project entitled “Biotic and abiotic functionalysed electrodes for Microbial Fuel Cells”. Dr Iannaci will carry out his project under the mentorship of Prof Paula Colavita.

Retirements in the School of Chemistry The School of Chemistry had two notable retirements to the team in 2017, Prof Michael Bridge and Dorothy Delahunty. Prof Michael Bridge completed his B.A. in Chemistry at Hertford College in Oxford, and a Ph.D. in surface science at Kings College Cambridge. He was first appointed as a lecturer to the School of Chemistry in 1979. His research portfolio has included topics such as material characterization, surface science, thin film deposition and kinetics and has included both national and international collaborators. He has served as the School’s Safety Officer, International Coordinator and most recently as the School’s Director of Undergraduate Teaching and Learning. He has also made a notable contribution to the college during his

time as a college tutor, as well his work on the Salter’s Institute Festival and the School’s service teaching for Fresher Engineering. The postgraduate community will undoubtedly remember his questionable refereeing skills during the annual Keeley Cup soccer tournament, while other Emeritus staff have fond memories of his notable fact checking. Dorothy Delahunty joined the School of Chemistry in 1998 as a term time assistant. She became a laboratory assistant in 2002 and will be remembered by many students and staff as an integral part of the Cocker Lab family! We wish to thank both Michael and Dorothy for their years of service to the School and wish them both the best of luck and health in the coming years.

Prof. Michael Bridge who, along with Dorothy Delahunty, retired from the School of Chemistry earlier in the year


Remember. The power of a legacy to Trinity

There’s an old saying that the true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade one does not expect to sit. When you leave a legacy to Trinity however big or small, you’re planting a tree which will grow to provide shelter to many. You’re empowering ground-breaking research which will benefit people in Ireland and all over the world. You’re supporting students from all backgrounds to access a Trinity education. You’re helping preserve our unique campus and heritage for new generations.

Oregon Maple Library Square Planted early 1800s

Get Involved

Upcoming Events

Trinity has a long tradition of outreach and community engagement. To find out about the numerous ways you can get involved with Trinity both at home and abroad, please visit www.tcd.ie/alumni/volunteer

Alumni Weekend 25 - 27 August 2018

When you remember Trinity in your will, you join a tradition of giving that stretches back over 400 years – and reaches far into the future. For more information about leaving a Legacy to Trinity, please contact Carmen Leon.

T. +353 1 896 1714 E. carmen.leon@tcd.ie www.tcd.ie/development

Class Notes

www.tcd.ie/alumni/weekend/ Schrödinger at 75: The Future of Biology 5 - 6 August 2018 www.tcd.ie/biosciences/whatislife/

Do you have any news or updates that you would like to share with your fellow alumni? Submit your news with an image, subject of study and year of graduation to alumni@tcd.ie For more information please visit www.tcd.ie/alumni/news-events/publications

Other Events www.tcd.ie/alumni/news-events/events

School of Chemistry Trinity College Dublin Dublin 2, Ireland Ph +353 (0)1 896 1726 Twitter: @TCD_Chemistry, @npcamtcd Schoolchemdept@tcd.ie of Mathematics Email: Hamilton Building Trinity College Dublin 2, Ireland Phone +353 (0)1 896 1949 Email mathdep@ tcdalumni maths.tcd.ie tcdalumni


www.maths.tcd.ie @tcdalumni


Profile for TCD Alumni

School of Chemistry Newsletter 2018  

School of Chemistry Newsletter 2018