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School of Biological and Chemical Sciences

Aryne-mediated metal-free C(sp3)-H bond functionalisation

Project description

The Jones group is interested in developing new synthetic organic chemistry methodology that has the potential to impact upon contemporary socioeconomic issues such as new drug discovery and the need to find more sustainable chemical starting materials.

This research project focuses on the use of reactive aryne intermediates as tools to effect C(sp3)-H bond functionalisation in the absence of transition metals. Building on previous work in the Jones group (Chem Sci, 2018), this project will aim to expand the scope and generality of the C-H donor and coupling partner, with particular emphasis on the preparation of unnatural amino acids. Overall this strategy presents opportunities for the late-stage functionalization of a range of substrates that are of interest to the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries.

Research environment

Queen Mary University of London: One of the UK's leading research-focused higher education institutions, where multidisciplinary research is carried out at the highest level. QMUL is also a member of the prestigious Russell group of top UK universities. It is unique in London by providing a completely integrated residential campus.

Facilities and training: Dr Jones’ group is based in the Joseph Priestley Building that is fully equipped with state-of-the-art facilities for carrying out outstanding research in all areas of chemistry. Students will receive extensive training in a large number of experimental techniques, and routinely use equipment such as high field NMR, EPR, AFM, IR, UV-Vis and mass spectrometers, in addition to LCMS, GCMS and HPLC. We hold joint research group meetings on a weekly basis that cover research update presentations, organic chemistry mechanisms and discussions of highlights from the recent literature.

All researchers are part of the QMUL Doctoral College, which provides high quality training in transferable key skills such as communication, critical thinking, teamwork and entrepreneurship. Free English language courses are also available through the Queen Mary Language Centre.


This project is open to applicants intending to apply for external funding (e.g. China Scholarship Council, CONACYT, Commonwealth Scholarships). Please see our Fees and Funding page for details of Queen Mary's international funding partners.

If you intend to apply for China Scholarship Council funding, the deadline to apply to Queen Mary is 12th January 2020.


Applications are invited from outstanding candidates with or expecting to receive a masters degree in an area relevant to the project. 

A strong background in organic synthesis and practical research experience are essential.

Applicants from outside of the UK are required to provide evidence of their English language ability. Please see our English language requirements page for details:


Potential candidates should contact Dr Jones by e-mail and submit their CV (including details of two referees) and a cover letter explaining their eligibility and interest in this project.

Shortlisted candidates will be contacted by e-mail to arrange for a video interview.