Marc Reid wins the 2014 Messel Travel Bursary

I would like to offer my sincere thanks to SCI for granting me the financial support to attend the ICOMC 2014 in Sapporo, Japan. As a final year PhD student working in the field of organometallic chemistry, this conference proved as enjoyable as it was enlightening.

The ICOMC is held every two years and has run successfully since its inception in 1963 (Cincinnati, Ohio). This year’s conference, held in the stunning city of Sapporo, was the first to be held in Japan since Kyoto, some 35 earlier. It most certainly did not disappoint.

This conference brings together academics, industrialists, and students working on the fundamental and applied aspects of organometallic chemistry in the widest possible sense. From ligand design and coordination chemistry, to photoluminescent materials and catalysis, the breadth of science on display was truly remarkable. With more than 150 speakers and over 500 poster presentations, I took full advantage of the opportunity to liaise with chemists of similar scientific interests.

During my PhD, my research has focused on the application and computational design of iridium complexes for use in pharmaceutically-aligned hydrogen isotope exchange processes. Specifically, isotopic labelling with heavy hydrogen isotopes (deuterium or tritium) is widely used as a means to monitor the biological fate of a potential drug molecule. As part of this work, I have a detailed interest in modelling the properties of N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC) and phosphine ligands, using this knowledge to understand related C-H activation processes from a more fundamental viewpoint. I was fortunate enough to be able to share and present a poster of this work during the ICOMC 2014.

Among many notable lectures, I was most grateful to have the chance to listen to (and later discuss their science with) Prof. Michael Organ, Prof. Vinh Han Huynh, and Dr Amalia Poblador-Bahamonde. From their respective work in NHC chemistry, I was excited to find solutions to unsolved problems in my own research concerning the electronic impact of a given ligand set. Indeed, such interactions with world leading scientists serve to reinforce my plans to build a career in academic research. As my favourite scientist once said, ‘The prize is the pleasure of finding things out’.

In closing, I would also like to extend my thanks to my supervisors, Prof. Billy Kerr and Dr Tell Tuttle (both of the University of Strathclyde), for their continued support during my studies. And, for all SCI student chemists considering applying for the Messel bursary in future, I wish you every success. With such generous and meaningful donations from SCI, this is an intellectual opportunity not to be missed!

— written by Marc Reid

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