Professor Adrian Dobbs

Professor Adrian Dobbs BSc, AKC, PhD, FRSC

Head of School of Science and Professor of Organic and Medicinal Chemistry

Key details

Professor Adrian P Dobbs
BSc, AKC, PhD, FRSC

Head of School of Science and Professor of Organic and Medicinal Chemistry


Adrian studied Chemistry at King's College London, obtaining his B.Sc. (1st Class Honours) in 1992 and PhD in 1996, the latter under the supervision of Professor Keith Jones and working on the development of heteroaryl radicals in synthesis (sponsored by SmithKline Beecham). He was awarded a Royal Society European Research Exchange Fellowship for post-doctoral work with Professor Istvan Markó at the Université catholique de Louvain, in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium between 1996-8 (working towards the total synthesis of okadaic acid).

On his return to the UK, Adrian joined the process development group of GSK (Tonbridge, Kent) before leaving to take up his first academic post at the Open University in 1999. A move to the University of Exeter soon followed, where independent research really commenced and he also filled a number of Department academic administrative roles. Subsequently in 2005, Adrian was appointed as Senior Lecturer in Organic Chemistry at Queen Mary University of London, where he was also Senior Admissions Tutor and responsible for industrial placements.

He moved to the Chair of Organic and Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Greenwich in January 2013.

Away from work, Adrian is a very keen Crystal Palace supporter and is an accomplished pianist and organist, regularly performing on both instruments and also leading, conducting and rehearsing several orchestras and choirs.

Responsibilities within the university

Responsible for teaching all the organic chemistry modules across the Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences degree programmes.

Course Coordinator

Elements of Drug Discovery (Level 4)
Further Organic Chemistry (Level 5)
Advanced Organic Chemistry 1 (Level 6)
Advanced Organic Chemistry 2 (Level 6)
Drug Discovery and Medicinal Chemistry (Level 7)
Medicinal Chemistry and Biological Chemistry (Level 7)

Course Participation

Elements of Drug Discovery (Level 4)
Further Organic Chemistry (Level 5)
Intermediate Chemistry (Level 5)
Green Chemistry (Level 5)
Advanced Organic Chemistry 1 (Level 6)
Advanced Organic Chemistry 2 (Level 6)
Drug Design and Delivery (Level 6)
Advanced Practical Techniques and Research Methods (Level 6)
BSc Research Project (Level 6)
Drug Discovery and Medicinal Chemistry (Level 7)
Medicinal Chemistry and Biological Chemistry (Level 7)
MChem Research Project
MSc Research Project

PhD Student Supervision

Jonathan Trevorrow
Perry Devo
Louis Evans
Cedric Amengor

Postdoctoral Researcher Supervision

Fabrizio Minicone
Ramana Reddy Mittapalli
Paolo Bonomi

Committees

i) Within the Faculty of Engineering and Science
Faculty Research & Enterprise Committee
Faculty Board
Faculty Early Career Research Champion

ii) Within the University of Greenwich
Vice-Chancellor's Strategic Planning Group (2016-2021)
University Readerships & Professorial Promotions Committee
University Athena Swan Working Group
Early Career Researcher Committee/Forum
Employee Engagement Survey Steering Group.
FACH REF & VC Scholarship allocation committee.

Awards

Inspirational Member Prize and Award, Royal Society of Chemistry, 2015
Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) 2014

As an undergraduate, recipient of the following awards and prizes:
Samuel Smiles Prize, 1991
Style Silver Medal and Prize, 1991
Sambrooke Exhibition Prize, 1990
Style Bronze Medal and Prize, 1990

Recognition

Professional external activities

  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC)
  • Member of the American Chemical Society
  • Secretary and Treasurer of the 'Heterocyclic and Synthesis Group of the Royal Society of Chemistry (2011-2015)
  • Committee Member of the "Admissions and Qualifications" Committee of the Royal Society of Chemistry (2016-2019(
  • Committee Member 'Organic Division Executive', Royal Society of Chemistry (2011-2014)
  • Organiser 21st Lakeland International Heterocyclic Conference (Grasmere, May 2013)
  • Organiser of various one day meetings for the 'Heterocyclic & Synthesis Group of the Royal Society of Chemistry (2011-2014)
  • Committee Member of the 'Heterocyclic and Synthesis Group of the Royal Society of Chemistry (2009-2011)
  • Member of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Peer Review College
  • Undergraduate Degree External Examiner, Liverpool John Moores University (2014/15 – 2017/18)
  • Undergraduate Degree External Examiner, Nottingham Trent University (20164/17 – 2019/20)
  • Examined >50 PhD students as external examiner.

Research / Scholarly interests

Research, collaboration and engagement

The philosophy of the research group is the development of new synthetic methodologies for application in total synthesis and analogue production of a variety of complex natural products, with the long-term view of probing the biological pathways and the mechanisms of disease.

At present, the primary focus of the group is the development of new synthetic methodology for the asymmetric synthesis of a variety of heterocyclic systems. The majority of work has involved either Lewis acid mediated reactions of organosilicon compounds, various aspects of organofluorine chemistry or radical cyclisation reactions. The methodologies developed by the group have been applied to the total synthesis of several biologically active molecules, most notably (+)- and (-)-solenopsin A, (±)-Epi-dihydropinidine, racemic & enantiomerically pure Civet, (±)-Ritalin and the first published synthesis of (+)- and (-)-irciniasulfonic acid. Funding has been obtained from a diverse variety of sources, including Research Councils (EPSRC), the EU and the pharmaceutical industry (GSK, Pfizer and AstraZeneca).

More recently, several collaborative interdisciplinary projects have been initiated in medicinal and biological chemistry: to prepare steroid-based compounds to investigate both oestrogen and glucocorticoid receptors (with Professor Gavin Vinson and Dr John Puddefoot, QMUL); to prepare novel nitro-containing heteroaromatics as potential anti-parasitic agents (with Dr Shane Wilkinson, QMUL), and to investigate the total synthesis and biological activity of JBIR-23, an anti-mesothelioma compound (with Dr Peter Szlosarek, Bart's Hospital) and funded by the June Hancock Mesothelioma Research Fund (JHMRF). He is particularly passionate about this latter project and has spoken at many public engagement meetings concerning the dangers of asbestos, and asbestos-induced lung cancers in particular.

Professor Dobbs is a regular speaker, having given numerous university research colloquia within the UK and EU (Ireland, Sweden, France, Belgium, Poland) and at international synthesis/heterocyclic chemistry conferences.

Professor Dobbs welcomes enquiries at any time from potential collaborators regarding these or future projects.

Current research group

  • 3 Postdoctoral research fellow
  • 4 PhD students
  • 3 undergraduate project students.

Researchgate profile: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Adrian_Dobbs
Google Scholar Profile: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=J3jlJkoAAAAJ&hl=en
ORCID ID: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-7241-7118

Key funded projects

Research Council Funding:
£69,500 EPSRC Interdisciplinary PhD Studentship (2011-2014)
£62,000 EPSRC DTA Award (2010-2013)
£60,000 EPSRC DTA Award (2009-2012)
£103,400 EPSRC Responsive Mode EP/E037259 (2007-2010): The Aza-Silyl Prins Reaction
£2,000 EPSRC Summer Studentship (2008): Synthesis of novel glucocorticoids
£2,000 EPSRC Summer Studentship (2008): The aromatic silyl-Prins reaction.
£61,000 EPSRC Fast Stream Studentship GR/R61253/01 (2002-2005): 'Temporary Tethers for the Pauson-Khand Reaction'

European Community:
€198,000 Marie Curie Postdoctoral Research Fellow under FP7-PEOPLE-IEF Scheme (2016-2018):
The Aza-Prins reaction and application in the synthesis of JBIR-102.
€180,000 Marie Curie Postdoctoral Research Fellow under FP7-PEOPLE-IEF Scheme (2011-2013):
Synthesis and Anti-cancer activity of JBIR-23.
£37,000 Marie Curie Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2004) for Alberto Venturelli on a project 'The total synthesis of the irciniasulfonic acids'

Industrial:
£24,000 CASE Award: Astra Zeneca (2012-2016) for a project 'Electrochemistry in Synthesis'.
£61,000 GlaxoSmithKline funded one year postdoctoral fellowship for "The synthesis of rubber oligomers".
£23,000 CASE Award: Astra Zeneca (2009-2012) for a project 'The Aza-Prins Reaction'.
£21,000 CASE Award: Glaxo SmithKline (2005-2008) for a project 'The Aza-Silyl Prins Reaction'.
£30,000 CASE Award: Pfizer (2005-2008) for a project 'Synthesis of Fluorinated Heterocycles'.

University Funding:
£25,800 HEIF Pump-Priming Grant 'Headspace testing for mesothelioma'.
£48,000 University of Calabria (Italy) fully funded for Dr Lucia Velti (one year post-doctoral fellow).
Vice Chancellor's PhD Scholarship (2016-2019), University of Greenwich for Louis Evans.
Vice Chancellor's PhD Scholarship (2015-2018), University of Greenwich for Perry Devo.
£48,000 University of Greenwich Pump-Priming Grant (with co-I Dr Giulia Getti). Developing phosphonium salts for the treatment of Leishmaniasis (10 month post-doc)..

Charity and Other Sources:
£25,000 British Lung Foundation: Pump Priming Grant for 'Evaluation of anti-Mesothelioma Compounds'
£12,000 The 'June Hancock Mesothelioma Research Fund' for a project 'Biological evaluation of JBIR-23' (2014-2017).

Recent publications

Article

Garcia, Anthony D. , Leech, Matthew C., Petti, Alessia, Denis, Camille , Goodall, Iain C. A. , Dobbs, Adrian P. , Lam, Kevin (2020), Anodic oxidation of dithiane carboxylic acids: a rapid and mild 2 way to access functionalized orthoesters, American Chemical Society. In: , , , . American Chemical Society, Organic Letters pp. 4000-4005 ISSN: 1523-7060 (Print), 1523-7052 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.orglett.0c01324) Published NB Item availability restricted.

Leech, Matthew C. , Garcia, Anthony D., Petti, Alessia, Dobbs, Adrian P. , Lam, Kevin (2020), Organic electrosynthesis: From academia to industry, Royal Society of Chemistry. In: , , , . Royal Society of Chemistry, Reaction Chemistry & Engineering pp. 977-990 2058-9883 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1039/D0RE00064G) Published NB Item availability restricted.

Petti, Alessia , Leech, Matthew C., Garcia, Anthony D., Goodall, Iain C.A. , Dobbs, Adrian P. , Lam, Kevin (2019), Economical, green, and safe route towards substituted lactones by anodic generation of oxycarbonyl radicals, Wiley. In: , , , . Wiley, Angewandte Chemie International Edition pp. 16115-16118 ISSN: 1433-7851 (Print), 1521-3773 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/anie.201909922) Published NB Item availability restricted.

van Melis, Carlo G. W. , Penny, Matthew R., Garcia, Anthony D., Petti, Alessia , Dobbs, Adrian P. , Hilton, Stephen T. , Lam, Kevin (2019), Supporting‐electrolyte‐free electrochemical methoxymethylation of alcohols using a 3D‐printed electrosynthesis continuous flow cell system, Wiley. In: , , , . Wiley, ChemElectrochem pp. 4144-4148 ISSN: 2196-0216 (Print), 2196-0216 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/celc.201900815) Published.

Mittapalli, Ramana R. , Guesné, Sebastien J.J., Parker, Robert J., Klooster, Wim, T. , Coles, Simon, J. , Skidmore, John , Dobbs, Adrian P. , GlaxoSmithKline (2018), The asymmetric aza-silyl-prins reaction: Synthesis of enantiopure piperidines, American Chemical Society. In: , , , . American Chemical Society, Organic Letters pp. 350-355 ISSN: 1523-7060 (Print), 1523-7052 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.orglett.8b03283) Published.

Minicone, Fabrizio , Attrill, Robin, Hodgson, Michael, Wheelhouse, Katherine , Dobbs, Adrian (2018), First total synthesis and structural confirmation of C13-Butylrubber Oligomers, Wiley. In: , , , . Wiley, European Journal of Organic Chemistry pp. 3271-3275 ISSN: 1434-193X (Print), 1099-0690 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/ejoc.201800937) Published.

Veltri, Lucia , Giofrè, Salvatore V., Devo, Perry, Romeo, Roberto , Dobbs, Adrian P. , Gabriele, Bartolo (2018), A palladium iodide-catalyzed oxidative aminocarbonylation–heterocyclization approach to functionalized benzimidazoimidazoles, American Chemical Society. In: , , , . American Chemical Society, Journal of Organic Chemistry pp. 1680-1685 ISSN: 0022-3263 (Print), 1520-6904 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.joc.7b03167) Published.

Book section

Cuprova, Lenka and , Dobbs, Adrian P. (2019), Cascade aza-Prins reactions, Academic Press. In: , , , Advances in Heterocyclic Chemistr. Academic Press, pp. 251-278 (doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.aihch.2019.10.006) Published NB Item availability restricted.

Conference item

Dobbs, Adrian and , (2017), The Asymmetric Aza-Prins Reaction presented at the 26th International Society of Heterocyclic Chemistry Congress, Regensburg, Germany 5-8 September 2017, In: 26th International Society of Heterocyclic Chemistry Congress, 5-8 Septmember 2017, Regensburg, Germany , . , (doi: ) Unpublished.

Dobbs, Adrian and , (2017), The Asymmeteric Aza-Prins and related reactions - presented at the 23rd Royal Society of Chemistry Grasmere Heterocyclic Chemistry Symposium, In: 23rd Lakeland Symposium on Heterocyclic Chemistry, Grasmere 2017, 4 - 8 May 2017, Grasmere, Ambleside , . , (doi: ) Unpublished.