Ruthenium(II) binds to lots of biological ligands in solution, and one might suspect that ‘soft’ sulphur bases ligate preferentially. While this is consistent with crystallographic data, it is hard to reliably infer biologically-relevant reactivity from solid state behaviour.

Using competition studies of fluorinated systems, we were able to show the profound solution-phase preference of ruthenium(II) arene complexes for binding cysteine over all the other amino acids and some of the mechanistic details of this reaction. Both of these contributions should be important parts of designing future metallodrugs.

My first Scholarship paper drew on my experience as Programme Director for the Chemistry courses at Hull. It presents theoretical arguments articulating some of the rationales for selecting certain weightings.

This was my first independent paper. I found the peer review process really supportive. A reviewer challenged my use of the term ‘mastery’ as being sexist, and I have been looking (so far unsuccessfully) for an alternative term ever since.

I made a small infographic summarising the paper.

The first paper of my PhD involved a study of amino acids binding to a metal centre. My computational work complemented the (hard-won) synthetic data gathered by others, which allowed us to propose a mechanism for the hemilability of these complexes. Delicate kinetic control over ligand substitution is an important hurdle to rational metallodrug design.

My first paper, published during my MChem project, involved some challenging air- and water-sensitive manipulations. I found the NMR assignments particularly hard, but the authentic long-form project gave me the time I needed to finally ‘get’ Inorganic NMR.