Research Guides

Department of Chemistry University of Oxford

Professor Robert M. Adlington

Despite many changes in the perceived significance and direction of research in chemistry as we now face a new millennium, synthesis - the making and breaking of chemical bonds - in a controlled fashion remains at the heart of the subject. Synthesis also requires special creativity in the design and assembly of totally new materials and hence is both highly intellectually demanding and rewarding. The increasing demands for new compounds in today's society, such as pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals etc., requires that organic synthesis and its exponents, the synthetic organic chemist will continue to be of paramount importance.

I have focused my research career upon organic synthesis. After graduating from Imperial College, London in 1980 [PhD supervisor Professor A G M Barrett, FRS], I joined the Dyson Perrins Laboratory to work as a postdoctoral research associate of Professor Sir Jack Baldwin, FRS. In 1990 I became a full University Lecturer and Collegiate Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall. Over the years I have formed a productive partnership with Sir Jack (over 200 co-authored publications), especially in the areas of synthesis and mechanistic evaluation.

Published work from traditional interests fall into the following main categories: -

(a) New synthetic methodology (29 publications);

(b) Total synthesis of biologically active natural products (32 publications);

(c) Synthetic free radical chemistry (11 publications);

(d) Synthesis as a means to assist the study of mode of action of enzymes (93 publications);

(e) Other related synthetic areas (16 publications);

Most recent research interests include: -

(f) Biomimetic approaches to complex natural products (26 publications);

(g) Rapid access to natural product families via parallel synthesis (11 publications).

Part II Projects

I have been actively supervising Part II students since 1981, being a named supervisor from 1987. Students I have supervised have been awarded the prize for the best Organic Chemistry Part II thesis four times since 1989. Projects assigned to Part II students have covered most areas of my research interests listed above and have in general, been aimed at the synthesis of a biologically active target molecule. Many of my Part II students advance into D.Phil courses and therefore, I am currently looking for motivated students who favour synthesis and who hope to continue into postgraduate study. Laboratory experience outside the university teaching labs. would be an advantage, although not essential.

If you would like to find out more about working with me at Part II level and would like to discuss likely project areas you can contact me via e.mail or leave a note in the academic letter rack in the CRL foyer.