We are a synthetic chemistry and catalysis group based at the Institute of Chemical Sciences, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.


Nov ’23: Ai-Lan presents at the EuChemS “Highlighting Organic Chemistry in the United Kingdom” webinar on 24 Nov 2023. Recording available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=u0I6BA1CaYY

Nov ’23: Welcome to new PhD student Sam Nickels.

Oct ’23: David Kitcatt presents his work on Giese Amidations at the Fourth GSK Synthetic Organic Chemistry Postgraduate Symposium, 2nd – 3rd October, GSK, Stevenage.

Sep ’23: Ai-Lan presents at the University of Strathclyde mini symposium. David Mooney presents at the AstraZeneca CASE Symposium 2023, Macclesfield, 28-29th Sept.

Sep ’23: David Mooney presents his ICS 2nd Year prize talk at the EPS Postgraduate Research Day. We welcome MChem project students Eva and Zac.

August ’23: Our paper on “Direct Decarboxylative Giese Amidations: Photocatalytic vs. Metal- and Light-free” has been acepted for publication in Chem. Sci. Well done to David Kitcatt and previous MChem/summer students Katie and Elena.

July ’23: Congrats to David Mooney, winner of the 2023 EPS Postgraduate Research 2nd Year Prize for Institute of Chemical Sciences.  

June ’23: Ai-Lan presents a talk and David Mooney a poster at the 51st Scottish Regional Meeting of the RSC Organic Division (Perkin Meeting), University of Aberdeen, 21st June 2023. Chris Thomson graduates with his PhD. Congrats!

May ’23: Ai-Lan has been awarded a Learning and Teaching Oscar for “Innovation in Teaching” by the Student Union and was also shortlisted for the “Academic Community” award.

May ’23: Congratulations to MChem student Heather McKee who won a runner-up best talk prize (voted for by students) on MChem Day. The prizes for MChem Day were generously sponsored by Charles Rivers Laboratories so we also got a much welcome visit and intro from ex-Lee Group member Dr James O’Neill.

April ’23: Vacancy. A fully funded PhD studentship is available to work on a collaborative project within the Lee/Vilela/Mota groups at Heriot-Watt. See: https://www.findaphd.com/phds/project/automated-flow-synthesis-in-line-reaction-monitoring-and-machine-learning-for-the-optimisation-of-continuous-flow-photocatalytic-reactions/?p157075

April ’23: Ai-Lan presents a talk on Decarboxylative Radical Functionalisations at University of Edinburgh.

Mar ’23: Our work on direct hydrodecarboxylations was featured in D. F. Taber, Org. Chem. Highlights 2023, March 20. URL: https://www.organic-chemistry.org/Highlights/2023/20March.shtm

Jan ’23: Congrats to Chris who passed his PhD (in person!) viva!

Oct ’22: We finally get together to celebrate Euan, Jeff and Dave’s PhDs in a joint Barker/Lee Group celebration. Euan and Jeff both graduated during the pandemic and had their vivas remotely.

Oct ’22: David Mooney’s work on Direct Minisci-type C-H Amidation of Purine Bases has been accepted for publication in Org. Lett. Congrats! Retweet us.

Oct ’22: Ai-Lan presents an invited lecture at the Organic Division of the Norwegian Chemical Society’s 25th Organic Chemistry Fall Meeting, Oslo, 21 October 2022.

Sept ’22: We welcome new MChem project students Le Mi and Heather McKee.

June ’22: Congratulations to Chris Thomson who wins one of the “best talk” prizes at the Institute of Chemical Sciences Final Year PhD Research Presentations day on 16th June.

Chris giving his final year PhD presentation

June ’22: Congratulations to Katie Scott and Julie Macleod who graduate with MChem (Hons) and share the AWE prize. Welcome to Elena Rongione and Lennox Stewart who join the group as summer project students.

June ’22: Ai-Lan has been shortlisted for the “Pioneering in Education Global Teaching Excellence Award” at the inaugural “Celebrating our People Awards” at Heriot-Watt.

May ’22: Ai-Lan presents our work on “Decarboxylative Radical Functionalisations” at the RSC’s 2nd Synthesis in Drug Discovery and Development #SDDD22 virtual symposium, 4-5 May.

Chris hosts a chemistry pub quiz….

April ’22: Congratulations to Katie who gave a great talk on MChem Day.

Mar ’22: Chris participates in the 2022 #RSCPoster Twitter Conference: link

Feb ’22: Euan and David’s paper on “Direct Hydrodecarboxylation of Aliphatic Carboxylic Acids: Metal- and Light-Free” was one of the most viewed articles in Org. Lett for Feb 2022, and was also highlighted in Chemistry Views magazine: link

Jan ’22: Congratulations to Euan and David Mooney, whose paper on “Direct Hydrodecarboxylation of Aliphatic Carboxylic Acids: Metal- and Light-Free” has been published in Org. Lett. Congratulations to David Kitcatt whose review on “Direct Decarboxylative Giese Reactions” has been accepted for publication in Chem. Soc. Rev. We welcome Erasmus student Nathalie Oliveira.

Dec ’21: Congratulations to Chris who won a Runner up prize at the prestigious RSC Organic Division Poster Symposium 2021.

Nov ’21: Congratulations to David Mooney, and previous MChem/Erasmus project students Ben Donkin and Nemrud Demirel, whose paper on “Direct C-H Functionalization of Phenanthrolines: Metal-and Light-Free Dicarbamoylations” has just been published in J. Org. Chem.

Oct ’21: David Mooney and David Kitcatt present their posters at the School of EPS 1st year poster session. Congratulations to David Mooney who passed his first year viva and won the Institute of Chemical Sciences 1st year Postgraduate Research Prize.

Oct ’21: Congratulations to Chris who won a “best talk” prize at the RSC Heterocyclic & Synthesis Group: 36th Postgraduate Symposium – 7-8th October, 2021!

Sept ’21: A warm welcome to MChem project students Katie Scott and Julie Macleod, and BSc literature project student Rebecca Yip. Chris presents a research talk at the Charles River European Chemistry Virtual Symposium 2021 – Friday 24th September, 2021.

July ’21: Chris’ paper on “Expanding the Tool Kit of Automated Flow Synthesis: Development of In-Line Flash Chromatography Purification” has been accepted for publication in J. Org. Chem. Well done!

June ’21: Ai-Lan has been awarded a Special Recognition Award as a Pandemic Teaching Hero at the HWU Teaching Excellence Awards 2021.

June ’21: Congratulations to project students Ana Pispek on graduating with MChem (Hons) and Ellen Barlow and Rebecca Blakeman with BSc (Hons). Well done to Ana too for her best MChem project prize.

May ’21: Ai-Lan is shortlisted for the Teaching and Learning Oscars by the Student Union, under “Innovation in Teaching and Assessment” category. Thanks to all the students who nominated and also for the many kind comments during such a though year.

April ’21: Ai-Lan organises a virtual MChem Day for final year in house MChem project students on 29th April. Ana wins one of the well deserved “best talk” prizes on the day, voted for by MChem students. Many thanks to Charles River Laboratories for sponsoring the prizes.

  • April ’21: Congrats to Euan who passed his (remote) viva! Well done and well deserved!
  • Feb ’21: Ai-Lan gives a webinar at the UK Catalysis Hub. Chris was interviewed for Chem. Sci.’s 10th anniversary celebration. Read his interview here.
  • Jan ’21: We welcome new PhD student David Kitcatt. Chris presents remotely at the 49th Annual RSC Scottish Regional Organic Division Meeting organised by Heriot-Watt and Chris also organises the Twitter poster session for the same event:
  • Dec ’20:  Euan presents remotely at the Syngenta Collaborative Research Conference 2020.
  • Oct ’20: We welcome new EPSRC/AstraZeneca iCASE PhD student David Mooney.
  • Sept ’20: We welcome MChem project student Anamarija Pispek (jointly supervised with Prof. Stuart Macgregor) and BSc literature project students Ellen Barlow and Rebecca Blakeman.
  • Aug ’20: Congrats to Euan, and recent MChem project students Francesca and Orla, whose work on “Selectivity Control in Gold-Catalyzed Hydroarylation of Alkynes with Indoles: Application to Unsymmetrical Bis(indolyl)methanes” has now been published in Organic Letters.
  • July ’20: After over 3 months in lockdown, we are glad to report that Chris’ new review on  “Heterogenous Photocatalysis in Flow Chemical Reactors” for a Beilstein J. Org. Chem. special thematic issue on “Advances in Photoredox Catalysis” has now been published online here.
  • June ’20: Congratulations to MChem project students Ben, Olly and Orla who all (remotely) graduated with MChem (Hons) with the Perkin, AWE and Trikamadas Mangla Prizes respectively. Well done!
  • Mar ’20: Massive congratulations to Chris who won a runner-up poster prize in #RSCEng at the 2020#RSCPoster Twitter Conference. Check out the prize winners here!
  • Feb ’20: Chris’ paper on polymer-supported BODIPY photosensitisers is now published online in a special issue of J. Flow Chem. here.
  • Jan ’20: Congrats to Claire who successfully passed her viva!
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  • Jan ’20: Euan and Chris present posters at the 48th RSC Scottish Organic Division Perkin Meeting at St Andrews (9 Jan). Congrats to Chris who picked up a runner-up poster prize!
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