Trinity College Dublin

Skip to main content.

Top Level TCD Links

News and events



BOC Gases Prize Winner 2015-2016


From Left to right: Prof Rachel Evans, Supervisor, Mr Eamonn Bolton (BOC Gases, Ireland Sales Manager)
Judith Houston, Prof Sylvia Draper, Head of School of Chemistry

Congratulations to Judith Houston who was the recipient of the
2015/2016 BOC Gases Postgraduate Bursary.


Judith is a fourth year PhD student in Prof. Rachel Evans’ group investigating the Structure-Property Relationships of Conjugated Polyelectrolytes and Photoactive Surfactants to Design Functional Materials. She is the first author of five publications to date and has delivered 8 oral presentations and 2 poster presentations on her research. She has been a co-investigator on several research proposals to undertake experiments at international large scale neutron and X-ray facilities. In addition to her research achievements, Judith has made an exceptional contribution to the teaching and outreach mission of the School of Chemistry. Since 2013 she has delivered the Junior Freshman Basic Tutorials and she also attended the Bristol Chemistry International Summer School as a TCD representative. She is currently the Younger Member Representative for the RSC Ireland Region and sits on the Republic of Ireland Local Section Committee. 




Prof. Valeria Nicolosi is Ireland’s only five-time ERC awardee and has received research funding of €12 million in the past 5 years.

Wednesday 27th July 2016, Dublin: Prof Valeria Nicolosi from AMBER, the Science Foundation Ireland funded materials science centre, hosted in Trinity College Dublin, has been announced as a recipient of the European Research Council’s (ERC) Proof of Concept Grants, worth €150,000.

This is a top-up for her ERC Starting Grant of €1.5m awarded in 2011 and brings her total research funding awarded in the past 5 years, to over €12 million. Prof. Valeria Nicolosi is Ireland’s only five-time ERC awardee.

The award will be used to explore the commercial use of advanced nanomaterials to act as solutions for heat dissipation for the high-end automotive industry.

Proof of Concept grants are awarded to ERC grant holders only as top-up funding to explore the commercial or innovation potential of the results of their ERC-funded research. Prof Nicolosi, Investigator with AMBER and Trinity’s School of Chemistry was awarded an ERC Starting Grant of €1.5M in 2011 for her work in processing and characterising nanomaterials for the development of novel energy storage devices. As a result of this Starting Grant, she began collaborating with a company in the automotive industry to explore the use of novel 2-dimensional nanomaterials to solve heat dissipation issues. Her technology was successful and the aim of this proposal is to determine the economic and technical feasibility of using readily scalable technologies for the development of inexpensive and high performance solutions to solve heat dissipation for a wide range of technologies.

Prof. Valeria Nicolosi, Professor at the School of Chemistry, Trinity College Dublin and Principal Investigator at AMBER, said, “I am delighted to be awarded this 3rd ERC Proof of Concept Grant which will allow me to build on the success of my technology developed from my Starting Grant. What is exciting about this work is that in addition to the automotive industry, there are a huge range of industrial applications that can benefit from more efficient and lightweight thermal management systems such as advanced aircraft, injection moulding, pharmaceutical manufacturing and household appliances. This technology has the potential to become a feasible, easy and efficient solution for a range of manufacturing companies. This grant is allowing me to take the next step with the technology to really see it applied in industry”.

Considerable industrial effort is currently focussing on finding alternative materials to act as thermal conductive elements and heat spreaders in an efficient and cost effective way. Manufacturers need these technologies to regulate the large amounts of unwanted heat caused by the normal functioning of electronic systems. It is estimated that the global market for thermal management products will grow from about $10.7 billion in 2015 to $14.7 billion by 20211. Prof Nicolosi’s technology will offer a cheap, scalable solution of using advanced 2D nanomaterials for enhanced heat transport. 2D nanomaterials improve heat transport due to their thermal conductivity properties and at the same time provide a lightweight solution. Moreover, the technology offers the advantage of being extremely versatile; 2D nanomaterial dispersions can be sprayed on their own directly onto surfaces or they can be mixed with different materials to obtain additional enhanced resistance to wear, abrasion and oxidation. This will allow manufacturers to improve the performance of existing systems, as well as improve the performance of new designs.

Prof. Michael Morris, Director of AMBER, commented on the announcement, saying, “The awarding of this Proof of Concept Grant to Prof. Nicolosi is an excellent acknowledgement of the research work she and her team are currently undergoing. She is at the forefront in 2D nanomaterials research and her work will bring economic and societal benefits to Ireland in developing more efficient ways to deal with energy consumption. During her time at Trinity, Prof. Nicolosi has received over €12 million in funding, including €6.8 million to date from the ERC, and now an additional €150,000 to further her research. She is an exceptional asset to the AMBER team and this funding also reaffirms how competitive Ireland is as a place for research.”

Medicinal Chemistry Researchers welcomed to Trinity’s Biomedical Sciences Institute

On July 1st 2016, the School of Chemistry received delegates to Trinity’s Biomedical Sciences Institute for the first ever Medicinal Chemistry Conference Ireland. This significant event brought together some of the most relevant researchers in this multi-disciplinary field and highlighted Ireland’s strong wealth of graduates in the area. The organising committee, which included representatives of 7 Ireland’s national universities, welcomed 120 participants for the one-day conference which comprised of plenary talks from international speakers across academia and industry.

The programme, opened by Prof. Martina Hennessy (Associate Dean of Research, Trinity College Dublin) included talks from Dr. Andrea Brancale (Cardiff University, UK), Dr. Pascale Clement (Director of Science and Technology, Catalent Pharma Solutions, UK), Prof. Mari-Luz Lopez-Rodriguez (Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain), Prof. Francesco Peri (University Milano-Bicoca, Italy), Prof. Carmen Galan (University of Bristol UK), Dr. Simon Macdonald (Director of Medicinal Chemistry, GSK, Stevenage, UK) and Prof. Mary Meegan (School of Pharmacy, Trinity College Dublin). Poster prizes were awarded to four researchers on the day, with the organising committee congratulating the overall quality of research from all of the posters on display. The Catalent supported poster prizes went to:

  • Alfie Brennan (Design and synthesis of biphenyl and biphenyl ether inhibitors of sulfatases), Newcastle Cancer Centre at the Northern Institute for Cancer Research, Newcastle University, R.J. Griffin group.
  • Maria Blazquez-Scanchez (Synthesis of β-galactosides for specific interactions with galectins) UCD, S. Oscarson group.
  • Nipun Mahajan (Building an Irish Marine Natural Products Library for Pharmaceutical Applications), NUI Galway, O. Thomas group.
  • Creina Slator ([Cu(o-phthalate)(phenanthroline)] Exhibits Unique Superoxide-Mediated NCI-60 Chemotherapeutic Action through Genomic DNA Damage and Mitochondrial Dysfunction), DCU (A. Kellett group).

Dr Andrea Brancale also led tributes to his former colleague, the late Prof. Christopher McGuigan, who lost his battle with cancer early this year. Prof McGuigan’s immense thirty year contribution to the field of drug discovery was particularly acknowledged, as well as his active role in developing anti-cancer drug research world-wide.

The organisers would like to thank all of their sponsors for their generous support and to all of the conference delegates who made the event a tremendous success.

Dublin Chemistry Graduate Seminars 2015-2016
Winners of the Third Year PhD Talks 2016



Colm Healy
Junsi Wang
Shaun Smullen
Maria O'Brien
Colm Healy on Coordination Chemistry - TCD
Junsi Wang on Imaging and Analysis - TCD
Shaun Stamullen for Sythesis & Catalysis - UCD
Maria O'Brien for Surface-TCD
Olan Cleary
Joana Vasconcelos
Sandra Lara
Olan Cleary on Nanomaterials - TCD
Joana Vasconcelos on Carbon - TCD
Malachi Gillick-Healy on Synthesis & Mechanisms - UCD
Sandra Lara on Nanoprotein - UCD


View our Gallery

Trinity Chemist (Prof. John Kelly) Recognised for Shedding Light on the Mechanism of DNA Damage

Emeritus Professor John Kelly, from Trinity College Dublin’s School of Chemistry, has been recognised for his part in decades-long research that has helped shed light, quite literally, on the precise mechanism of DNA damage.

mechanics of DNA damage image

Professor Kelly is a recipient of the 2016 Rita and John Cornforth Award, along with his collaborators Professor Christine Cardin, University of Reading, and Dr Susan Quinn, University College Dublin. The award, which places an emphasis on the importance of collaboration in scientific research, is handed out annually by the Royal Society of Chemistry. Professor Kelly said:

“I am delighted that our collaboration has been recognised with this award. My interests have always involved exploring photochemical reactions, and to fully understand the processes occurring from the initial absorption of a photon to the formation of a permanent product."

"The roots of our work go back to the 1980s when we started an ambitious project with Dan Bradley and David McConnell to target the reactions that take place in DNA.”

The Dublin-Reading DNA Consortium use specially synthesised molecules to see how – and exactly where – they bind to DNA. The reactions usually involve short-lived chemical species (such as ‘free radicals’), which are damaging to DNA and cells inside the body. The reactions often last for mere picoseconds (a billion times faster than a millisecond). Due to these very narrowest windows of opportunity, specialist crystallography and laser technology techniques are required to provide the all-important series of snapshots that illuminate what is really taking place.

Working in the world-leading Rutherford Appleton Laboratory has recently enabled the scientists to follow the vibrations of excited molecules in DNA crystals, so as to follow the transit of the electrons that lead to DNA damage. That most recent breakthrough also opens the door for studies looking at direct UV excitation of DNA in crystals, which should help us gain an understanding of the processes that cause DNA photo-damage. It should also help related research in the fields of cancer medicine and drug development, as visible light irradiation of the compound in cancer cells leads to their destruction (as has recently been demonstrated by the Trinity groups of Professor Thorri Gunnlaugsson and Clive Williams).

More information available for those who are interested at

Congratulations to Prof. Kelly and all involved.

Major Clean Energy Breakthrough Made by School of Chemistry Researchers

New material will increase adoption of hydrogen as a fuel in energy efficient transportation

The development of a real alternative to fossil fuels is perhaps the greatest technological challenge faced by humanity at present. Now, researchers in the School of Chemistry and CRANN (the Nanoscience Institute based at Trinity College Dublin) have developed a material which enhances the splitting of water at a very low energy cost using earth abundant raw materials. This new material performs as well as the world’s most effective material for water splitting (which is the scarce and expensive ruthenium oxide) but is much less expensive. This is a significant breakthrough, as it means that an energy efficient production of pure hydrogen is now possible using renewable energy sources which will potentially accelerate adoption of hydrogen as a fuel in energy efficient transportation.

Hydrogen has been described as the ultimate clean energy source, it’s seen as very attractive as it is a pollution free fuel and energy carrier which would satisfy much of the energy requirements of our society. Hydrogen is readily prepared by splitting water electrically into its component parts hydrogen and oxygen (a process called electrolysis). However, this process requires a significant energy input. The widespread uptake of hydrogen as a fuel has been hampered by the lack of low cost, earth abundant materials which can accomplish the splitting of water, with minimal energy input, in an economically efficient manner using renewable energy sources.

The CRANN breakthrough recently published in the prestigious international journal ACS Catalysis, has shown that the ruthenium content can be decreased by as much as 90% and substituted with the earth abundant and inexpensive manganese oxide without diminishing the efficiency of the material to split water.

Professor Mike Lyons, Principal Investigator at the School of Chemistry and CRANN : “We are very excited about this very significant breakthrough. The adoption of this material in industry will mean that electrochemical hydrogen generation using photo (electrolysis) is now far more economically viable and will hasten adoption of hydrogen as a fuel in energy efficient transportation. It should be noted that this discovery could only have been accomplished using the world class characterization facilities and opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration available within the School of Chemistry and CRANN.”

Mike Lyons, continued: “Our disruptive materials breakthrough is momentous as it means much more energetically efficient and more economical hydrogen energy. This means that the cost of producing hydrogen via water electrolysis will be significantly reduced, which will result in a more rapid uptake of hydrogen as an automotive fuel.”

Professor Mike Lyons leads the Trinity Electrochemical Energy Conversion and Electrocatalysis Group in the School of Chemistry. He has published two books and more than 126 papers, and has a h-index of 33, which demonstrates the worldwide impact of his research. Working with Professor Mike Lyons on this project, was Professor Paula Colavita, PI in the School of Chemistry/ CRANN, and Michelle Browne, PhD student. Characterisation of the materials were carried out by Dr. Hugo Nolan, supervised by Professor Georg Duesberg, PI in the School of Chemistry and CRANN.

The full review is available here.

1st Medicinal Chemistry Ireland Conference
(July 1st, 2016, Trinity College Dublin)

The Pharmaceutical and Medicinal sectors are of enormous importance for the Irish economy. Academic and industrial research and development in this area will sustain Ireland’s position and as a key player in the global landscape.

Trinity’s School of Chemistry is proud to announce the 1st Medicinal Chemistry Conference Ireland which will be held on 1st July 2016 in Trinity’s Biomedical Science Institute. The conference programme draws together key speakers across academia with innovative researchers from industry.

For a full conference programme and registration details for the event, please visit

Congratulations to Ilaria Meazzini
for winning the prize for best talk at the
RSC MacroGroup Young Researchers Meeting at the University of Liverpool.

Ilaria Meazzini (Evans Group) was awarded first prize in the “best talk” category (sponsored by Domino printing) at the 2016 RSC Macrogroup Young Researchers meeting held at the University of Liverpool on 5-6th April. Ilaria presented her work on perylene dicarboxdiimide–poly(oxyalkylene)/siloxane hybrids for luminescent solar concentrators, which was recently accepted for publication in the 2016 Emerging Investigators issue of the Journal of Materials Chemistry C.

Targeted design leads to tunable photoluminescence from perylene dicarboxdiimide–poly(oxyalkylene)/siloxane hybrids for luminescent solar concentrators, I. Meazzini, N. Willis-Fox, C. Blayo, J. Arlt, S. Clément, R. C. Evans*, J. Mater. Chem. C., 2016, DOI: 10.1039/c5tc03952e.

Well done, Ilaria!

2016 Newly Elected Fellows and Scholars
Trinity Monday Announcements

FELLOWSHIP: Congratulations to Prof. Eoin Scanlan on his election as Fellow to the College on Trinity Monday.

SCHOLARS: Congratulations to all the students who were elected as Scholars of the College on Trinity Monday and in particular to the students who sat the Chemistry Scholar examinations*.

Aoife Gregg*
Eoin James Farrell*
Simon Benson
Jessica Foley
Áine Kennedy
Diarmaid Kelly

Trinity Student Scientific Review (TSSR) Journal
– Volume 2 – launched March 22nd



Congratulations to Alison Hennessy for her work as General Manager and to Kate Reidy for her outstanding work in her role as Chemistry Editor and to all the Chemistry undergraduates who submitted an article for publication, in the new TSSR (Trinity Student Scientific Review) ( Journal.

The authors of the published and price winning chemistry review articles were:

Best Chemistry Essay:
“Climate Change Mitigation Using Metal-Organic Frameworks for Direct Air Capture of CO2”.
Dónal Ring (JS Chemistry)

Best Freshman Essay:
“Prebiotic Chemistry: Common Origins of Glycerol, Amino Acids, and Pyrimidines, and Cosmic Origin of Nature’s Enantiomeric Excess of Amino Acids”
Stephen Byrne (SF Science)

“4-Aminoquinolines as Antimalarial Drugs”
Dylan Lynch (JS Medicinal Chemistry) 

Chemistry students also won in the following categories:

“Hybrid Photovoltaic Thermal Cells: A Viable Solution to the Problem of Renewable Energy”
Kyle Frohna (JS N-PCAM, Physics)

“Long Non-Coding RNA: The Regulatory Web of Genome Regulation”
Jack Schofield, (SF Science, Life Sciences)

Alison Hennessy TSSRTSSR Kate Reidy TSSR
Alison Hennessy (JS N-PCAM) and Kate Reidy (JS NPCAM student and TCD Foundation Scholar) the 2016 TSSR General Manager and Chemistry Editor.

Congratulations to Maria O’Brien on being selected to attend
the 66th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau, Germany this summer

Maria O’Brien (Duesberg's Group) has been selected by the scientific review panel of the Council for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, to participate in the 66th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, taking place from 26 June to 1 July 2016, in Lindau Germany. Only the 400 most qualified young scientists are given the opportunity to enrich and share the unique atmosphere of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings (which will have 32 Nobel Laureates in attendance).

Congratulations, Maria.

Last updated 28 July 2016 by School of Chemistry (Email).