Trinity student wins World Chemistry Congress international award

Posted on: 26 June 2017

Recent Trinity PhD graduate, Dr Fergus Poynton, is one of five winners of a prestigious international award presented by the World Chemistry Congress.

Pat Guiry, MRIA, Science Secretary, with Dr Fergus Poynton.

Dr Poynton will be given the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry-Solvay International Award for Young Chemists at the World Chemistry Congress, which is to take place in Sao Paulo, Brazil in July.

Having already won the Royal Irish Academy award for the most outstanding Irish PhD thesis in the general area of the chemical sciences, Dr Poynton’s name was put forward by the Academy for the international award.

Professor of Chemistry at Trinity, Thorfinnur Gunnlaugsson, said: “This is a fantastic achievement. During his PhD Fergus worked with several research groups both from Trinity and TBSI, as well as from UCD and from several research groups in the UK.”

“Fergus not only demonstrated that he was an outstanding synthetic organic chemist but also that he had a real talent for physical chemistry, working closely with Professor John Kelly from the School of Chemistry, and he also undertook significant biochemical work in collaboration with Professor Clive William’s and his team in Trinity.”

“This ability to multitask and deliver high-impact research has now also resulted in the awarding of the IUPAC award on top of the RIA Award — this being only the second time that an Irish chemist is honoured in that manner by both.”

The award winning doctoral thesis is entitled Spectroscopic investigations into the excited state processes and reactivity of Ruthenium (II) polypyridyl complexes and explores the properties of a Ru metal ions-based complex, which can act as an ultrafast light switch in the presence of DNA.

During his studies at Trinity, Dr Poynton obtained a First-Class honours degree in Chemistry and was awarded the Gold Medal for his performance in his final year exams – the highest honour that can be bestowed upon an undergraduate.

He then obtained an Irish Research Council scholarship to carry out his PhD studies.He has also made a major contribution to Trinity’s TG Supramolecular and Medicinal Chemistry Research Group.

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