Chemical Synthesis in the 21st Century: Annual Meeting 2015

Chemical Synthesis in the 21st Century

Dial-a-Molecule are pleased to announce registration is open for “Chemical Synthesis in the 21st Century” – our Annual Showcase of all things relating to the Grand Challenge.

We have an exciting and varied two days planned,  you will hear talks on topics relevant to Dial-a-Molecule, get the chance to see technology developed from Labs within the Network and present your own research via a poster session.

Over the two days there will be Breakout Sessions, each focussed on a specific area of the Dial-a-Molecule Roadmap. During these interactive sessions you will hear about the recent efforts and achievements of Dial-a-Molecule, get the chance to shape the future directions of the Network, and discuss collaborative projects in defined areas:

  • Big Data and Predicting Reaction Outcomes
  • Towards a National Catalyst Collection
  • Using Biology and Synthetic Biology to Dial-a-Molecule
  • Lab of the Future: Low Cost Automation
  • New Reactions with Impact
  • Challenges in Materials Chemistry
  • ELNs: Adoption and Data Standards
  • Enabling New Technology with Flow
  • Statistical Methods in Chemistry Research


Meeting Report: Click to open in a new window

Program: The detailed program for the two days can be downloaded at the following links, otherwise summaries can be found below:


Day 1 (10am – 9pm, including conference dinner)
Confirmed KeyNote Presentations:
“From Copper Catalysis to Metal-Free Cross-Coupling: New Methods for Target Synthesis” David Procter (University of Manchester)

“Marrying Synthetic Chemistry and Synthetic Biology to Dial-a-Molecule” Rebecca Goss (University of St Andrews)


Confirmed speakers from the Manufacturing the Future EPSRC Projects

“Sustainable Manufacturing in Multiphase Continuous Reactors:  Aerobic Oxidation” Asterios Gavriilidis (UCL)

Project partners: Steve Marsden (Leeds), Joe Sweeney (Huddersfield), Mimi Hii (Imperial),  Klaus Hellgardt (Imperial), Simon Kuhn (KU Leuven), Graham Hutchings (Cardiff), Robin Attrill (GSK), Peter Ellis (Johnson Matthey), John Clough (Syngenta), Steve Raw (AZ)

“Factory in a Fume Cupboard: Reagentless flow reactors as enabling techniques for manufacture” Kevin Booker-Milburn (University of Bristol)

Project partners: Richard Brown (Southampton), David Harrowven (Southampton), Dave Carberry (Bath), Andy Russell (Reading), Derek Pletcher (Southampton), Malcolm Berry (GSK), Mubina Mohammed (AZ)


Confirmed speakers from Dial-a-Molecule Proof of Concept Studies

“Descriptor-led Ligand Screening in Organometallic Catalysis” Natalie Fey (University of Bristol)
Project partners:  Bao Nguyen (Leeds), Charlotte Willans (Leeds), Andrei Malkov (Loughborough), Simon Tyler (CatScI Ltd)
“Carbon Nanoreactor Stabilised Nanoparticle Catalysts” Thomas Chamberlain (University of Nottingham)


Parallel Discussion and Collaboration Session A

  • Big Data and Predicting Reaction Outcomes
  • Towards a National Catalyst Collection
  • Using Biology and Synthetic Biology to Dial-a-Molecule


Day 2 (9am – 4:30pm)

Confirmed speakers from Dial-a-Molecule Proof of Concept Studies
“Electrochemically Switchable Catalysts in Flow” Bao Nguyen (University of Leeds)
Project partners: Charlotte Willans (Leeds), Nik Kapur (Leeds), AstraZeneca

“Optimisation of reactions using statistical designs” Richard Bourne (University of Leeds)


Contributed Talks:

“Crowdsourcing innovative chemistry for the European Lead Factory” Steve Marsden (University of Leeds)


Technology Exhibition

Since the inception of Dial-a-Molecule, many labs across the Network have been working towards developing technology to advance the aims of the Grand Challenge.  We have devoted a session to give researchers the opportunity to showcase this technology.

  •  Membrane Catalytic Flow Reactor (A. Constantinou & A. Gavriilidis, UCL)
  • Flow Calorimeter (J. Brazier & K. K. Hii, IC)
  • Electrochemical Flow Cell (R. Brown & R. Green, Southampton)
  • Easily Constructed Continuous Flow Photochemical Reactors (L. Elliott & K. Booker-Milburn, Bristol)
  • Dial-a-Catalyst (C. Willans, B. Nguyen & N. Kapur, Leeds)
  • Wireless Sensors (H. Makatsoris, Brunel)
  • 3D-printed Flow Reactors (S. Christie, Loughborough)
  • PCA Solvent Map for Optimising Chemical Reactions in Academic Labs (T. Sheppard, UCL)


Parallel Discussion and Collaboration Session B

  • Lab of the Future: Low Cost Automation: Synthetic chemistry is still driven to fit the available kit. Advanced reactor platforms (both commercial and self-built) are available but cost of acquisition and integration with existing analytical instruments is a barrier to widespread adoption. In this session, we will identify the current trends and developments in automation and control, and suggest mechanisms to lower the cost of automation
  • New Reactions with Impact: UK chemistry has significant knowledge that is not being captured and in some instances academia may be designing the ‘wrong’ reactions. This session will ask academics and industrialists the questions: What reactions are considered important? What popular and useful reactions are flawed and why? What reactions would we like to be able to do? How can we recognise reactions with impact at their first publication?

Parallel Discussion and Collaboration Session C

  • ELNs: Adoption and Data Standards: Since its inception, Dial-a-Molecule have been advocating the adoption of ELN’s in to academic laboratories. Five years on, their use in laboratories is still scarce. This session will discuss what synthetic chemists want, why they aren’t being adopted, and what can be done to alter the situation. This session will also include updates on recently released ELN’s, and the development of a set of data standards to enable academic bench chemists to capture reaction processes in a standardised form
  • Enabling New Chemistry with Flow: Flow machines are now a common feature in many chemistry laboratories, and are finding increased usage in, for example reagentless synthesis. This session will follow on from ‘New Reactions with Impact”, discussing how flow can be used to enable new chemistry, for example by utilising photochemical and electrochemical techniques.
  • Statistical Methods in Chemistry Research:  Academia has been slow to adopt the use of statistical methods (e.g. design of experiments, PCA) in chemistry research  and Dial-a-Molecule has been active in developing projects to increase the deployment of such techniques.  In this session we will discuss and define routes to increase the awareness and understanding of the tools through educational activities.