The MJH research group are based in the School of Chemistry, Newcastle University. We are a synthetic organic chemistry reseach group working in a number of areas of organic chemistry and chemical biology. This includes (1) the development of new synthetic methodogy, (2) the isolation and synthesis of novel small molecule antibiotics, (3) the synthesis of functional fluorophores for biological imaging and (4) the design of small molecule reagents for application in proteomics. The MJH group are based in the recently refurbished Johnson Laboratories in the Bedson Building, Newcastle University. 


Research Highlights

Natural Product Antibiotics from Actinomycetes 

Actinomycetes are bacteria rich in bioactive natural products, many of which show antibiotic properties. Working in collaboration with a microbiology team we are interested in the isolation, structural solution and bioactivity investigation of new antibiotic natural products.


Chiral BODIPY Fluorophores

The synthesis and resolution of a class of chiral organic fluorophores, axially chiral 4,4-difluoro-4-bora-3a,4a-diaza-s-indacenes (Ax*-BODIPY), is described. Ax*-BODIPYs were prepared through a modular synthesis combined with a late stage Heck functionalisation. Resolution was achieved by preparative chiral HPLC. Absolute stereochemical assignment was performed by comparison of experimental ECD spectra with TD-DFT calculations.

Graphical abstract: Axially chiral BODIPYs


Grignard Reagents as Reducing Agents

2,2,2-Trichloro-1-arylethanones undergo high yielding reductions to the corresponding 2,2-dichloro-1-arylethanones in the presence of RMgX. A single electron transfer mechanism for the reaction is proposed based on trapping experiments. Reaction of the intermediate enolates with a range of electrophiles is described, providing a convenient route to substituted α,α-dichloro-β-hydroxyketones and related molecules.

Graphical abstract: Reduction of 2,2,2-trichloro-1-arylethanones by RMgX: mechanistic investigation and the synthesis of substituted α,α-dichloroketones

Research Metrics 

This graph shows the number of times the articles on the publication list have been cited in each of the last 20 years. 
Note: Only articles from Web of Science Core Collection with citation data are included in the calculations. More information about these data.
Total Articles in Publication List: 31
Articles With Citation Data: 30
Sum of the Times Cited: 1032
Average Citations per Article: 34.40
h-index: 14
Last Updated:

Recent Research Funding

2016: Studying the development of a new natural product antibiotic for the treatment of ESKAPE infections, Rosetrees Trust, £54,171

2014: A New Antibiotic for Gram Positive Bacterial Infections, Medical Research Council (MRC), £29,282

2013: A Novel Crosslinking Strategy for MS Structural Biology, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), £116,056

2012: Probing the Mechanisms of dSTORM Reporters, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), £118,521

2010: Towards commercial application of a novel method to prevent and remove bacterial biofilms, Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), £137,802

2010: Diels-Alder/Ene Reactions for the Multi-Component Synthesis, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), £96,013