• 291 Citations
  • 8 h-Index
1993 …2020

Research output per year

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Personal profile

Google Scholar h-Index

10 Last checked 23 June 2020


Duncan began his career as an analytical chemist at Reckitt and Colman Pharmaceutical Division (now Reckitt Benckiser), working in both Manufacturing and R & D. He became a Graduate of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 1991. Following this he carried out graduate studies with Prof. Chris Rayner at the University of Leeds, and was awarded a PhD for studies on the Payne-type rearrangement and nucleophilic trapping of 2,3-epoxysulfides. Between 1994 and 1998 he undertook postdoctoral studies with Professor Garry Procter at the University of Salford, studying the application of hetero-Diels-Alder cycloadditions to the total synthesis of aminoglycoside antibiotics; and with Professor Jim Thomas at the University of Manchester, working on the total synthesis of the bryostatins.

Duncan joined the Process R&D department of AstraZeneca Charnwood in 1999 as a process chemist. He specialised in early phase development projects, working closely with Medicinal Chemistry teams to design innovative routes to new pharmaceutical compounds, and leading teams of chemists, analysts and engineers in manufacturing campaigns at laboratory, kilo-lab and pilot plant scale. He developed an interest and expertise in metal catalysis as leader of the AZ Global Catalysis Group, acted as the AZ technical leader in a consortium that successfully bid for EU FP7 funding to investigate catalysis in continuous flow manufacturing processes, and ran an independent research program devising new routes to chiral heterocyclic scaffolds. Duncan joined the University of Huddersfield in 2011 as Senior Research Fellow.

Duncan serves as a committee member of the RSC Heterocyclic and Synthesis Group, and as treasurer of the Gregynog Synthesis Workshop, an annual conference for young synthetic organic chemists.

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Preparation of new antibiotics and anti-tumour compounds, by both de novo synthesis and chemical modification of natural products;
  • Asymmetric catalysis, utilizing a variety of complementary techniques, for example: homogeneous and supported metal-ligand complexes; enzymatic catalysis; organocatalysis and phase transfer conditions;
  • New synthetic methodology for streamlined manufacturing processes, such as functionalization of conventionally unreactive C-H bonds;
  • Design and synthesis of new chiral heterocyclic scaffolds based on challenging architecture such as spirocyclic, bridged bicyclic, and uncommon ring sizes;
  • Innovative manufacturing technology, such as continuous flow processing, membrane reactors and microwave heating;
  • Green and sustainable chemical manufacturing.

Research Degree Supervision

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Research Output

  • 291 Citations
  • 8 h-Index
  • 17 Article
  • 2 Letter
  • 1 Review article

Synthesis of 2,4-Disubstituted Imidazoles via Nucleophilic Catalysis

Shabalin, D. A., Dunsford, J. J., Ngwerume, S., Saunders, A. R., Gill, D. & Camp, J. E., 28 May 2020, In : Synlett. 31, 8, p. 797-800 4 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 3 Citations (Scopus)

    Parallel Kinetic Resolution of Intramolecular Furan Diels-Alder Cycloadducts via Asymmetric Hydroboration

    Fulgheri, T., Cornwall, P., Turner, A. R., Sweeney, J. B. & Gill, D. M., 24 Nov 2019, In : European Journal of Organic Chemistry. 2019, 43, p. 7223-7227 5 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 1 Citation (Scopus)

    Synthesis of a protected keto-lysidine analogue via improved preparation of arabino-isocytosine nucleosides

    Sweeney, J. B., Bethel, P. A., Gill, D. M., Ochocińska, A. M., Walsh, A. E. J. & Walton, S. M., 12 Mar 2019, In : Organic Letters. 21, 7, p. 2004-2007 4 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

  • 1 Citation (Scopus)

    An iron-catalysed C-C bond-forming spirocyclization cascade providing sustainable access to new 3D heterocyclic frameworks

    Adams, K., Ball, A. K., Birkett, J., Brown, L., Chappell, B., Gill, D. M., Lo, P. K. T., Patmore, N. J., Rice, C. R., Ryan, J., Raubo, P. & Sweeney, J. B., 1 Apr 2017, In : Nature Chemistry. 9, 4, p. 396-401 6 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 21 Citations (Scopus)

    Catalytic sp3-sp3 Functionalisation of Sulfonamides: Late-Stage Modification of Drug-Like Molecules

    Abdulla, O., Clayton, A. D., Faulkner, R. A., Gill, D. M., Rice, C. R., Walton, S. M. & Sweeney, J. B., 31 Jan 2017, In : Chemistry - A European Journal. 23, 7, p. 1494-1497 4 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 3 Citations (Scopus)