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Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry


Professor of Chemistry

What we do...

We are designing hollow supramolecular capsules or ‘cages’, which can be used to transport cargoes of molecules where we need them. These cages could be used to safely deliver drug therapies, reduce the costs and environmental effects of petroleum refining, and in many other areas. 

Figuring out the rules

We are interested in discovering and developing new ways in which simple building blocks may be induced to self-assemble into complex, functional structures. Our investigations currently focus upon the self-assembly of imine bonds around metal-ion templates, bringing both covalent C=N and coordinative N→Metal bonds into being during the same overall self-assembly process. The structures thus created can rearrange in well-defined ways at both covalent and coordinative linkages. Ongoing projects include:


Container Molecules. The diamine and aldehyde shown above self-assemble with iron(II) in water to form a tetrahedral cage. This cage traps guest molecules within its cavity with high selectivity. The cage may be opened and the guest released using different triggers, one of which is a drop in pH. Applications in drug delivery are of interest, as are investigations of changes in the reactivity and behaviour of guest molecules upon encapsulation.


Functional Materials. We have recently developed means to create metal-containing conjugated polymers through self-assembly. DFT calculations carried out by Laura Gagliardi and Christopher Cramer suggest that these might conduct electricity. Studies are thus being undertaken to investigate their properties.

Watch Professor Nitschke discuss his research

Take a tour of the Nitschke Lab

Selected Publications

Feature Article: “Metal-organic container molecules through subcomponent self-assembly”, T.K. Ronson, S. Zarra, S.P. Black, J.R. Nitschke, Chem. Commun. 2013, 49, 2476-2490.

“Enantiopure Water-Soluble Fe4L6 Cages: Host-Guest Chemistry and Catalytic Activity”, Jeanne L. Bolliger, Ana M. Belenguer, and Jonathan R. Nitschke, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2013, 52, 7958-7962.

“Aqueous Self-assembly of an Electroluminescent Double-helical Metallo-polymer”, X. de Hatten,  D. Asil, R.H. Friend, J.R. Nitschke,  J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 135, 19170-19178.

“Anion-induced Reconstitution of a Self-assembling System to Express a Chloride-binding Co10L15 Pentagonal Prism”, I.A. Riddell, M.M.J. Smulders, J.K. Clegg, Y.R. Hristova, B. Breiner, J.D. Thoburn, J.R. Nitschke, Nature Chem. 2012, 51, 751-756.

 “White phosphorus is air-stable within a self-assembled tetrahedral capsule” P. Mal, B. Breiner, K. Rissanen and J.R. Nitschke, Science 2009, 324, 1697-1699.

“Systems chemistry: Molecular networks come of age” J.R. Nitschke, Nature 2009, 462, 736-738.


Capture of Singlet Oxygen Modulates Host‐Guest Behavior of Coordination Cages
I Jahović, Y Yang, TK Ronson, JR Nitschke
– Angewandte Chemie
Capture of Singlet Oxygen Modulates Host-Guest Behavior of Coordination Cages.
I Jahović, Y Yang, TK Ronson, JR Nitschke
– Angewandte Chemie - International Edition
Hetero-Diels–Alder Reaction between Singlet Oxygen and Anthracene Drives Integrative Cage Self-Sorting
Y Yang, TK Ronson, D Hou, J Zheng, I Jahović, KH Luo, JR Nitschke
– Journal of the American Chemical Society
Redox Triggers Guest Release And Uptake Across A Series of Azopyridine‐Based Metal‐Organic Capsules
J Zheng, Y Yang, TK Ronson, DM Wood, JR Nitschke
– Advanced materials (Deerfield Beach, Fla.)
Enantiopure FeII4L4 cages bind steroids stereoselectively
G Li, TK Ronson, R Lavendomme, Z Huang, C Fuertes-Espinosa, D Zhang, JR Nitschke
– Chem
A Diverse Array of Large Capsules Transform in Response to Stimuli
K Wu, TK Ronson, L Goh, W Xue, AW Heard, P Su, X Li, M Vinković, JR Nitschke
– J Am Chem Soc
Secondary Bracing Ligands Drive Heteroleptic Cuboctahedral PdII 12 Cage Formation
CF Espinosa, TK Ronson, JR Nitschke
– Journal of the American Chemical Society
Allosterically Regulated Guest Binding Determines Framework Symmetry for an FeII4L4 Cage
W Xue, K Wu, N Ouyang, T Brotin, JR Nitschke
– Angewandte Chemie
A Double‐Walled Tetrahedron with AgI4 Vertices Binds Different Guests in Distinct Sites**
SE Clark, AW Heard, CT McTernan, TK Ronson, B Rossi, P Rozhin, S Marchesan, JR Nitschke
– Angewandte Chemie
Systematic construction of progressively larger capsules from a 5-fold linking subcomponent
K Wu, TK Ronson, P Su, Z Chen, L Goh, AW Heard, X Li, F Klautzsch, CA Schalley, M Vinković, JR Nitschke
– Nature Synthesis
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01223 336324

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