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My undergraduate Honours project consisted of the investigation of the fundamental chemistry and properties of some bismuth thiolate heterocycles. These investigations were undertaken as part of a multi-disciplinary (gastroenterologists, pharacologists, microbiologists etc.) study of the anti-bacterial potential of bismuth compounds. The overall goal is the development of compounds to kill a bacterium called Helicobacter pylori, which has been shown to cause ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems. I was but a small cog in the study and those of you interested in finding out more about the chemical aspects of this study should contact Dr. Neil Burford or Drs. Glen Briand or Lisa Agocs (who did the work to get their Ph.D. degrees).
Here are drawings of H. pylori (10,000x by Luke Marshall from the H. pylori Research Laboratory), the bismuth heterocycle I worked with, and the crystal structure of it's adduct with two pyridines (it is an infinite coordination polymer; the bridging Cl atoms are not drawn).
My Ph.D. research was a synthetic and theoretical exploration of compounds containing Pnictogens (the elements of group 15 of the periodic table) engaged in bizarre bonding. The compounds I made primarily contained the pnictogen atom in a low-coordinate or electron deficient environments, which typically make the species highly reactive and potentially useful as new reagents. For those who are interested, the different types of bonding I examined included: carbene analogues, pnictogen-nitrogen analogues and diazonium analogues. Although such investigations may seem esoteric when described as above, I could alternatively say that I was actively involved in the development of unprecedented functional groups (reagents). To find out more about research in my old group at Dalhousie University, click here to connect to Neil Burford's Lab and look at some of my publications with Burford.
Here are crystal structure of a surprising arsenium cation (left) and two unusual antimony compounds bearing bulky "Rf" and Mes* ligands.