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Chiral allene derived-metal complexes for asymmetric catalysis and metallotherapy

   School of Chemistry

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  Dr M Munoz-Herranz  No more applications being accepted  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Applications are welcome for a self-funded project to be developed at the School of Chemistry of the University of East Anglia to work in the research group of Dr M. Paz Muñoz.

This project builds up n our recent advances in the area (Dalton Transactions 2019, 49, 4034 and Dalton Transactions 2021, doi: 10.1039/D1DT02929K), and involves the synthesis of novel enantioenriched metal complexes bearing allenes and allene derivatives as ligands and the investigation of these complexes in asymmetric catalysis and as potential drugs in several areas (anticancer, antimicrobial and in their interaction with DNA and other biological targets).

The research will focus on the asymmetric synthesis of allenic bipyridines with different connectivities and their complexation with gold, platinum and palladium (other metals will also be explored) towards allene-metal and carbene-metal complexes. Synthesis of the racemic ligands followed by complexation and chiral resolution using prep-HPLC techniques will be explored in parallel to the synthesis of the chiral ligands using asymmetric organic synthesis. The new chiral complexes will be then tested as catalysts in the asymmetric version of model reactions. The biological activity properties (anticancer and antimicrobial) of the new chiral complexes will be tested in collaboration with the group of Dr Rianne Lord in CHE at UEA and other groups internationally. Investigations on the interaction of the complex with DNA and other biological targets will complete the training in the more medicinal chemistry aspects of the project.

Students must have at least a 2:1 in Chemistry or related discipline or a good Masters’ degree in Chemistry.

Funding Notes

This PhD project is offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with funding or those applying to funding sources. Details of tuition fees can be found at
A bench fee is also payable on top of the tuition fee to cover specialist equipment or laboratory costs required for the research. Applicants should contact the primary supervisor for further information about the fee associated with the project.


(i) (a) Allene-derived gold and platinum complexes: synthesis and first applications in catalysis, H. K. Maliszewska, D. L. Hughes, M. P. Muñoz, Dalton Trans., 2019, 49, 4034-4038. (b) Precious metal complexes of bis(pyridyl)allenes: synthesis, catalytic and medicinal applications, H. K. Maliszewska, C. Arnau del valle, Y. Xia, M. Marín, Z. A. E. Waller, M. P. Muñoz, Dalton Trans., 2021, doi: 10.1039/D1DT02929K.
(ii) Influence of Ligand and Nuclearity on the Cytotoxicity of Cyclometallated C^N^C Platinum(II) Complexes, A. Kergreis, R. M. Lord and S. Pike, Chem. Eur. J. 2020, 26, 14938-14946.
(iii) Synthesis and Complexation Properties of Allenic Bipyridines, a New Class of Axially Chiral Ligands for Transition Metal Catalysis, S. Löhr, J. Averbeck, M. Schürmann, N. Krause, Eur. J. Org. Chem., 2008, 552-556.
(iv) A. Frei, J. Zuegg, A. G. Elliott, M. Baker, S. Braese, C. Brown, F. Chen, C. G. Dowson, G. Dujardin, N. Jung, A. P. King, A. M. Mansour, M. Massi, J. Moat, H. A. Mohamed l, A. K. Renfrew, P. J. Rutledge, P. J. Sadler, M. H. Todd, C. E. Willans, J. J. Wilson, M. A. Cooper, M. A. T. Blaskovich, Chem. Sci. 2020, 11, 2627-2639.
(v) Gold Coordination Complexes as Anticancer Agents, I. Kostova, Anti-Cancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry, 2006, 6, 19-32.
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