1 December 2021

27th SCI Annual Review Meeting – Hot Topics in Organic Chemistry

Organised by:

SCI’s Young Chemists’ Panel

SCI, London, UK

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The 27th Annual Review Meeting “Hot Topics in Organic Chemistry”, organised by SCI's Young Chemists’ Panel, will address key areas of contemporary synthetic organic chemistry. An exciting line-up of leading early career academics will deliver a series of review lectures covering a range of topics, including whole organism biocatalysis, automation and high throughput computational organic chemistry.

The meeting will deliver a comprehensive overview of the material, highlight new methods and introduce (potential) industrial applications. The review lectures will be supported by two plenary speakers: Prof Chris Willis from the University of Bristol and Prof Matthew Gaunt from the University of Cambridge.


If you would like to present a poster, please send an abstract of maximum one A4 page or 300 words including schemes and references and indicating title and authors to conferences@soci.org by Friday 5 November 2021 with the subject line “27th Annual review meeting – poster submission”. Please download an abstract template here.

Exhibition and sponsorship

An exhibition will take place alongside the conference during refreshment breaks for companies and related organisations who may wish to exhibit. For further information and prices, please email conferences@soci.org. Spaces are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.



The meeting is ideally suited to those working in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology or agrochemical industries who want to develop their knowledge in key areas. It is also aimed at those in academia, particularly graduates and post-graduates with a background in synthesis and catalysis.


SCI Members attending this meeting are able to claim CPD points.


Dr Alex Cresswell

Alexander James Cresswell was born in Bradford in West Yorkshire, England, in 1985. He obtained his M.Chem. from the University of Oxford in 2008 and his D.Phil. in 2012 working in the group of Professor Stephen G. Davies on stereoselective fluorination with boron fluorides. He then spent two years as a postdoctoral research associate with Professor Scott E. Denmark at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA, working on iron-catalysed cross-coupling of alkylsulfur electrophiles and the first catalytic, syn-dichlorination of alkenes. On returning to the UK, he took up a second postdoctoral appointment with Professor Guy C. Lloyd-Jones at the University of Edinburgh, working on gold-catalysed C–H arylation. In late 2016, he was awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship to commence his independent research career at the University of Bath. His research interests lie in the design and mechanistic understanding of new catalytic reactions for organic synthesis.

Dr Becky Greenaway

Imperial College London

Becky obtained her MChem in Chemistry with Study in Industry from the University of Sheffield in 2009, and her DPhil in Organic Chemistry in 2013 from the University of Oxford with Prof Ed Anderson. She then worked with Prof Andy Cooper FRS as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Liverpool, before being awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship in 2019 allowing her to establish an independent research career.

In May 2020 she joined the Department of Chemistry at Imperial College London, where she now serves on the management team for the EPSRC Centre for Rapid Online Analysis of Reactions (ROAR), the management board for ATLAS – a new high-throughput automation facility for accelerated materials research, and she is one of the automation leads in the newly launched Institute for Digital Molecular Design and Fabrication (DigiFAB).

Current research in the group focuses on the accelerated design and discovery of functional molecular porous organic materials, assembled using dynamic covalent strategies and high-throughput automation.

Prof Chris Willis

Chris was appointed to a Lectureship in Organic Chemistry at the University of Bristol in 1990 and promoted to Professor in 2000. Since 2013 she has been the Head of Organic and Biological Chemistry in Bristol.
Current research in her group centres on natural products from fungi and bacteria which are rich sources of compounds of medicinal and agrochemical value. By combining organic synthesis with synthetic and structural biology, Chris’s group and collaborators are (i) generating novel biologically active compounds with a focus on new antibiotics and agrochemical agents; (ii) investigating new biocatalysts for use in organic synthesis.

She has nearly 200 publications and her work has been recognised by several awards, the two most recent being the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), 2019 Distinguished Women in Chemistry/ Chemical Engineering Award and the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), 2020 Natural Product Chemistry Award.

Dr Fernanda Duarte

University of Oxford

Fernanda obtained her PhD in Chemistry from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC) in 2012. After graduation, she joined the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at Uppsala University, where she pursued training in biomolecular modelling. In December 2015 she moved to the University of Oxford with a Royal Society Newton Fellowship working in the area of computational organic chemistry. After a short period at the University of Edinburgh, she returned to Oxford and took up her first faculty appointment as Associate Professor at the Department of Chemistry.

Fernanda leads a team working at the interface between catalysis, computational and physical organic chemistry. Her team develops freely available computational methods and molecular models to understand (bio)chemical reactivity and guide molecular design. Fernanda has received various accolades; including the L'Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science award (2009), Pre-doctoral Fulbright scholarship (2010), Marie Curie Career Grant (2015), the Newton Fellowship (2015), MGMS Frank Blaney Award from the Molecular Graphics and Modelling Society (2020), OpenEye Outstanding Junior Faculty Award (2021) and Harrison-Meldola Memorial Prize (2021).

Prof Matthew Gaunt

University of Cambridge

Matthew Gaunt graduated from the University of Birmingham with First Class Honours for Chemistry in 1995. He subsequently completed his PhD studies under the supervision of Dr Jonathan Spencer at the University of Cambridge as a Wellcome Trust Scholar in 1999.

He then moved to the University of Pennsylvania, undertaking research as a GlaxoWellcome Postdoctoral Fellow with Prof. Amos B. Smith. In 2001, Matthew returned to Cambridge to work with Prof. Steven V. Ley as a British Ramsay Memorial Fellow and Junior Research Fellow at Magdalene College.

Matthew began his independent research career in 2003 at Cambridge, firstly as a Royal Society University Research Fellow, then as Lecturer in 2006, Reader in 2010, and as Professor from 2012. He was elected to the Yusuf Hamied 1702 Chair of Chemistry in 2019. He is currently Chair of the Synthetic Chemistry Research Interest Group, Director of the EPSRC SynTech Centre for Doctoral Training and Co-Director of the Innovation centre in Digital Molecular Technologies. His research focuses on the development of new chemical reactivity enabled by catalysts and is driven by programmes centred on metal-catalysed C–H bond activation, photoredox catalysis and selective chemical modification of biomolecules. The group’s research has been acknowledged through a number of awards, most notably the RSC Corday Morgan Medal in 2013, the ACS Cope Scholar Award in 2015 and the RSC Synthetic Chemistry Award in 2019.

Dr Stephen Wallace

Stephen Wallace is a UKRI Future Leaders Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Biotechnology at the University of Edinburgh. He obtained a MChem in Medicinal and Biological Chemistry from the University of Edinburgh, and a DPhil in Organic Chemistry from the University of Oxford with Prof. Martin Smith. He has held postdoctoral research fellowships in chemical and synthetic biology at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology with Prof. Jason Chin, Harvard University with Prof. Emily Balskus and the University of Cambridge with Prof. Steve Ley. He began his independent career in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Edinburgh in 2017 where his lab investigates the study and manipulation of microbial chemistry for sustainable chemical synthesis.

Wednesday 1 December
Registration and refreshments
Welcome and introduction
Living microorganisms for organic synthesis
Dr Stephen Wallace, University of Edinburgh
Refreshment break, posters and exhibition
High-throughput synthesis and automation
Dr Becky Greenaway, Imperial College London
Keynote lecture: Combining Organic Synthesis and Synthetic Biology to Deliver New Biocatalysts and Antimicrobial Compounds
Prof Chris Willis, University of Bristol
Lunch, posters and exhibition
Recent Advances in C-H Bond Functionalisation
Dr Alex Cresswell, University of Bath
When computational chemistry meets experiments: achievements, shortcomings and challenges
Dr Fernanda Duarte, University of Oxford
Refreshment break, posters and exhibition
Keynote lecture: New catalytic strategies for chemical synthesis
Prof Matthew Gaunt, University of Cambridge
Networking reception

Venue and Contact


14/15 Belgrave Square

Conference Team

Tel: +44 (0)20 7598 1561

Email: conferences@soci.org

Before early bird - ends Wednesday 3 November
Member rate: £125
Non member rate: £175
Student member rate: £45
After early bird
Member rate: £175
Non member rate: £225
Student member rate: £65

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Booking Process/Deadlines

Booking terms and conditions


Organising committee

Ben Chappell, Infineum

Ross Mclennan, University of Dundee

Ben Partridge, University of Sheffield

Darren Wilcox, University of Manchester