Principal Investigator

David was born in Inverness (1986) and raised in West Lothian. After obtaining his MChem degree from the University of Edinburgh (2003 - 08), which included a year at AstraZeneca (Macclesfield) and a research project in the group of the late Professor Hamish McNab, David moved to the University of Strathclyde for his PhD. There, he studied reaction mechanisms and structure/reactivity relationships in alkene ring-closing metathesis reactions, under the supervision of Professor Jonathan M. Percy (2008 - 12). He then worked with Professor Steven P. Nolan FRSE at the University of St Andrews, studying various late transition metal complexes for a number of applications. In May 2014, David was appointed to a Chancellor's Fellowship at the University of Strathclyde, and in December 2018 he was promoted to Senior Lecturer.
David recieved a 2019 JSP Fellowship to attend the Burgenstock Conference and was a 2020 Thieme Chemistry Journals Awardee. He joined the Editorial Board of the Springer Nature journal Communications Chemistry in 2020.

Postdoctoral Researchers

 

Dr Daria Timofeeva completed her PhD in physical organic chemistry under the supervision of Professor Herbert Mayr and Dr Armin Ofial at LMU Munich. She is working on a collaborative research project in C-H activation with Professor Billy Kerr, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, which aims to develop an understanding of C-H activation selectivity using hydrogen isotope exchange as a model reaction.

[54] Catal. Sci. Technol. 2020, 10, 7249
[60] Catal. Sci. Technol. 2021, In Press

Graduate Students

Elliot Johnson Humphrey joined the group in October 2018 to start his PhD, funded by a University of Strathclyde Research Excellence Award. He graduated from the University of East Anglia in 2018 with an MChem in Chemistry, which included research in the group of Professor Manfred Bochmann. His graduate research project is on the synthesis, characterisation, and reactivity of new low-valent nickel complexes relevant to catalysis.

[57] Catal. Sci. Technol. 2021, 11, 2980
[58] Top.Catal. 2021, In Press

 

Hayley Russell joined us in January 2021 to start a PhD in collaboration with Dr David Palmer and Dr Marc Reid, and jointly supervised by Dr Andrew Dominey (GSK). The project, funded by GSK and the EPSRC, merges reaction understanding and machine learning techniques. Hayley obtained her MChem in Chemistry with Industrial Experience from the University of Edinburgh in 2019, and was a publishing editor at Dalton Transactions, CrystEngComm, and New Journal of Chemistry from 2019 to 2020.

 

Kieran Redpath graduated from the University of Strathclyde in 2021 with an MChem degree in Chemistry with Drug Discovery. He will join the team in September 2021 for his PhD, funded by the EPSRC and Syngenta and co-supervised by Dr Catherine Weetman (Strathclyde) and Dr Tom Corrie (Syngenta). His project will examine the nickel-catalysed reactions of sterically-hindered substrates.

Alumni

 2021

Jennifer Durward graduated from the University of Strathclyde in 2021 with an MChem in Chemistry. This included a research project in the Nelson group examining oxidative addition reactions of heterocyclic substrates using DFT calculations.

Megan Greaves joined the team in October 2017 to start her PhD, funded by AstraZeneca and jointly supervised by Dr Thomas Ronson. She graduated from the University of Leicester in 2017 with an MChem in Chemistry, which included research in the group of Dr Alison Stuart. Her research project focussed on understanding the reactivity of alkyl and vinyl electrophiles with nickel(0) and how this relates to cross-coupling catalysis. After completing her PhD, she moved to MIT for a postdoctoral position with Professor Stephen Buchwald

[53] ACS Catalysis 2020, 10, 10717
[57] Catal. Sci. Technol. 2021, 11, 2980
[59] Organometallics 2021, 40 1997.
[63] Chem. Sci. 2021, In Press.

Douglas Robinson graduated from the University of Strathclyde in 2021 with an MChem in Chemistry with Drug Discovery. He undertook his final year research project in the area of hydrogen isotope exchange, using DFT calculations to examine reaction selectivity.

 2020

Alasdair Cooper graduated from the University of Strathclyde in 2016 with an MChem in Chemistry. His degree included research with Dr Craig Jamison. His PhD was on nickel catalysis, was funded by Syngenta and the EPSRC and jointly supervised by Dr Paul Burton, and began in October 2016. He now works as a musician, having completed an album (as Celestial Fury) and contributed to a number of collaborative records with other artists.

[50] Synthesis 2020, 52, 565.
[51] Chem. Sci. 2020, 11, 1905.
[63] Chem. Sci. 2021, In Press.

 

Craig Jardine graduated in 2020 with a First Class MChem degree in Pure and Applied Chemistry, which included a year at Syngenta in Berkshire. He undertook his final year project in the group, working on the nickel-catalysed cross-coupling reactions of aryl BMIDA reagents. He now works as a chemist for Aptuit in Oxfordshire.

 2019
 

Barbara Bielonko undertook a summer placement in the group between the second and third years of her MChem degree in Forensic and Analytical Chemistry. She worked on the cross-coupling of arylboron reagents using nickel catalysis.

 

Dr Etienne Brouillet completed his MChem and PhD at the University of Strathclyde, working with Dr Stuart Robertson on new molecular inorganic materials for energy storage. He then stayed on at Strathclyde for a Carnegie Trust funded project with Dr Robertson and Professor Serena Corr (then University of Glasgow). Etienne worked on a short project (January - April 2019) in collaboration with an industrial partner, which was funded by the EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account. Etienne then took up a position as an Application Scientist with Thermal Hazard Technologies in Milton Keynes.

 

Hamzah Durrani is in the final year of his MSci degree in Applied Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, and joined the group in October 2018 for his final year project on the functional group scope of nickel catalysis. After his degree, he took up a position in the financial sector.

 

Kirstie Gallagher is in the final year of her MChem degree in Chemistry, which included a research placement at Pfizer in Sandwich, and joined the group in October 2018 for her final year project on organoboron reagents in nickel catalysis. After her degree, she took up a position in the financial sector.

 

Kaarel Hunt carried out a summer placement during August and September 2015, between his second and third years of study towards an MChem in Chemistry. He investigated applications of nickel-catalysed cross-coupling to the synthesis of bi(hetero)aryl compounds. After an industrial placement year, he spent a year doing national service in the Estonian army, before returning to Strathclyde to complete his degree. He rejoined the group in October 2018, and studied selectivity in ruthenium-catalysed C-H functionalisation reactions. After his degree he took up a PhD position in Estonia.

[32] Beilstein J. Org. Chem. 2015, 11, 2171.

 

María Redondo Álvarez completed her degree at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in 2019, and joined us for a three month Erasmus+ placement to work on nickel catalysis during the summer.

 

Dr Susanna Wood graduated from the University of Strathclyde in 2015 with an MChem in Chemistry with Drug Discovery. Her degree included research with Dr Craig Jamison. Susie started a GSK-funded PhD in October 2015, studying mechanistic aspects of fluorination reactions with Professor Jonathan Percy. She joined the Nelson group in January 2017. Susie passed her PhD viva in March 2019, examined by Dr AnnMarie O'Donoghue (Durham) and Professor Nick Tomkinson (Strathclyde). She undertook a short research placement with Armin Ofial in Munich, before taking up a position at Syngenta in Grangemouth in summer 2019. She returned to the University of Strathclyde in 2021 as a Research Associate with Dr Nick Tomkinson, working on a collaborative project with GSK.

[47] Z. Anorg. Allg. Chem., 2019, 645, 105
[48] Chem. Eur. J., 2019, 25, 5574

 2018
 

Frances Bugden carried out a summer project between the second and third years of her MChem degree in Chemistry with Drug Discovery, during which time she synthesised a number of nickel complexes and prepared some bidentate NHC ligands. She returns for summer 2018, working on a GSK-funded project in the area of iron catalysis. Frances started a PhD at the University of Warwick in 2020 with Dr Mark Greehalgh.

 

Gillian Laidlaw completed a summer placement between the third and fourth years of her MChem degree in Chemistry with Drug Discovery, funded by a Carnegie Trust Vacation Scholarship. Her project concerned the study of structure/activity relationships in nickel catalysis. She then spent a year at Bayer near Frankfurt, before returning to Strathclyde for her final year. For her final year project she worked on the synthesis, characterisation, and application of a new NHC ligand. She is currently undertaking her PhD at the University of Lancaster with Dr Vill Franckevicius

[39] Organometallics 2017, 36, 1662.
[47] Z. Anorg. Allg. Chem., 2019, 645, 105.

 

Abigail Larsen, an undergraduate student at Carroll University (Wisconsin, USA) joined us for a summer placement. Abbey worked on the synthesis of new NHCs and their applications in organometallic chemistry and catalysis.

 

David Leonard joined the group for his project as part of the final year of his MChem degree in Chemistry, after completing a fourth year placement at Bayer, near Frankfurt. His final year project in the group concerned the application of 'robustness screens' to nickel-catalysed cross-coupling reactions. David started a PhD with Kathrin Junge at the Leibniz Institute of Catalysis in Rostock in August 2018.

[51] Chem. Sci. 2020, 11, 1905

Dr James Sanderson graduated from Heriot-Watt University in July 2014 with an MChem in Chemistry. He was based at GSK in Stevenage, where he studied the mechanism and applications of iron-catalysed cross-coupling reactions, co-supervised by Dr Andrew Dominey (GSK). He began his PhD in October 2014 under the supervision of Professor Jonathan Percy, and joined the Nelson group in January 2017. He passed his PhD viva voce examination in February 2018 (Ruth Webster, Bath; Nick Tomkinson, Strathclyde). James worked as a senior synthetic chemist at Charles River Laboratories in Harlow, before taking up a postdoctoral position at the University of Newcastle with Professor Mark Waring, and then returning to Charles River.

 2017

Cora Keen worked in the group for the final year of her BSc(Hons) degree in Chemistry with Drug Discovery. Her final year project in the Nelson group concerned the applications of new NHC-nickel complexes in cross-coupling reactions. After graduating in summer 2017, she started a position in the chemical industry. She returned to the University of Strathclyde in 2018 for an MSc course, and now works in the chemical industry.

Jamie McIntyre graduated from the University of Strathclyde in 2014 with an MChem in Chemistry (First Class Honours). His degree included a research placement at GSK, and a final year research project in the group of Professor Eva Hevia. He worked in the Nelson Group from October 2014 to early 2017, exploring and quantifying reactivity and selectivity in ruthenium-catalysed C-H activation reactions. He started a position at Accenture in Newcastle in February 2017, and passed his MPhil viva in August 2017 (Mike Whittlesey, Bath; Charlie O'Hara, Strathclyde). He now works for Deloitte in London.

[45] Catal. Sci. Technol. 2018, 8, 3174.

 

Nomaan Nabi worked on palladium catalysis during his summer project between the fourth and fifth years of his MChem degree in Chemistry. His project was funded by an RSC Undergraduate Research Bursary.

 

Allison Tomczyk, an undergraduate student at Carroll University (Wisconsin, USA) joined us for a summer placement, where she worked on understanding selectivity in nickel catalysis using multifunctional substrates. Allison Tomcyzk returned to the USA to complete her degree. She is currently undertaking her PhD at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.

 2016

Dr Sonia Bajo Velazquez was a PDRA within the Nelson group from October 2015 to September 2016, after obtaining her PhD from the University of Zaragoza in 2014 for research in the group of Professor Miguel Esteruelas. Her previous experience includes studying the reactivity of osmium complexes. Her research at Strathclyde involved the study of fundamental processes in nickel catalysis using organometallic chemistry and spectroscopic methods, funded by an EPSRC First Grant. During her time at Strathclyde she gradually adjusted to the much lower temperature and vitamin D levels. After her time in Glasgow, she returned to Spain to work at the University of Zaragoza on an industrially-funded project. She is now a postdoctoral researcher with Dr Jesus Campos in Seville.

[39] Organometallics 2017, 36, 1662.
[51] Chem. Sci. 2020, 11, 1905

 

Irene Mayoral Soler joined the group in May 2016 for a three month research project, where she studied the mechanism of ruthenium-catalysed CH activation from both theoretical and experimental perspectives. Her visit was sponsored by an Erasmus grant and a Santander Mobility Fund grant. She returned to Spain to complete her Masters in Catalysis and Molecular Modelling at the University of Girona, and is now a teacher at a High School in Spain.

[45] Catal. Sci. Technol. 2018, 8, 3174.

Paul Shaw completed a final year project as part of his MSci degree in Applied Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. He previously carried out a summer placement in 2015 in the laboratory of Professor Billy Kerr at Strathclyde. For his project he investiged the synthesis and characterisation of a new N-heterocyclic carbene ligand with spacially-defined steric impact, and applied it in transition metal catalysed processes. He also believes that a 'halloumi burger' should be cheese and a burger, not just cheese. He then went on to study towards a PhD with Professor Billy Kerr before taking up a position at the Beatson Institute in Glasgow.

[37] Dalton Trans. 2016, 45, 11772.

Craig Valenti carried out a final year literature project as part of his BSc(Hons) degree in Chemistry with Drug Discovery, where he explored the role of less common oxidation states in nickel catalysis. After receiving his degree, he moved to the University of Glasgow to undergo teacher training.

 2015

Laura McDougall was awarded a Carnegie Trust Vacation Scholarship to carry out a summer placement in the group during August and September 2015, between the fourth and fifth years of her studies towards an MChem in Chemistry with Drug Discovery. Her research project involved the development of nickel-catalysed cross-coupling methodology. For her final year project, she worked in the area of chemical biology with Dr Glenn Burley. She then moved to the University of Glasgow to undertake PhD studies with Dr Andrew Jamieson.

[32] Beilstein J. Org. Chem. 2015, 11, 2171

Johnathon Yau was a fourth year undergraduate at the University of Strathclyde, studying towards an MChem in Chemistry. He joined the group in September 2014, and spent the academic year 2014/2015 (until June 2015) in the Nelson Group as a research placement student. His research included the synthesis, characterisation and application of new nickel(II) half-sandwich complexes. Jonathon carried out his final year project with Dr Mark Spicer, studying the synthesis and coordination chemistry of NHC ligands. After graduation, he started work as the Managing Director of Sanondaf Stirlingshire.

[32] Beilstein J. Org. Chem. 2015, 11, 2171

Craig Bradley conducted a final year research project (2014/15) on the synthesis, characterisation and application of nickel catalysts; specifically, he applied half-sandwich nickel(II) complexes in Suzuki-Miyaura cross-coupling reactions. Craig graduated with a BSc(Hons) in Chemistry with Drug Discovery in summer 2015.

Daniel Byron undertook a final year research project (2014/15) studying mechanistic aspects of ruthenium-catalysed C-H activation. He profiled a number of arylation reactions to understand how changes to the reaction conditions affect rate and selectivity. Daniel graduated in 2015 with a BSc(Hons) in Chemistry.