Dr Duncan Browne

Dr Duncan Browne

Lecturer in Synthetic Organic Chemistry

+44 (0)29 2087 5571

Research in the Browne Lab is focused on the design and development of new concepts in organic synthesis with specific emphasis on the incorporation of appropriate enabling tools and technologies to deliver efficient synthetic processes.

Many of the principles of Green Chemistry and Sustainability can be met by embracing new technologies that are inherently cleaner when compared to the current status quo. By designing new synthetic methods that take full advantage of the capabilities of different enabling technologies one will end up automatically with greener, cleaner processes. Part of our goal is to explore what the true capabilities of these methods are, both as individual tools and as more complex hybrid designs.

* Continuous Flow Chemistry
* Mechanochemical Synthesis
* Under-represented Fluorous Motifs
* Valorisation of Renewable or Waste Materials
* Manufacturing the Future


Research Group Webpage: The Browne Research Group

Research Groups: Molecular Synthesis

Duncan was born in Dunstable, UK. He graduated with a MChem degree (1st class, Hons) Chemistry with study in industry from the University of Sheffield during which time he spent one year as an intern at GSK, Stevenage, UK, working in the metabolic and viral disease group. In 2009 he graduated from the same institution with a Ph.D. in Organic Synthesis (with Professor Joseph P. A. Harrity) where he worked on the development of strategies for the synthesis of pyrazole libraries, particularly through alkynylboronate cycloadditions with sydnones. During this time he spent 3 months at Syngenta, Jealotts Hill, UK, on a CASE placement working with John Taylor and Andrew Plant.

Following his Ph.D. he was awarded a one year Doctoral Prize Fellowship from the EPSRC and studied benzyne cycloaddition chemistry. In 2010 he moved to the ITC and Whiffen Laboratories at the University of Cambridge as a Postdoctoral Research Associate with Professor Steven V. Ley FRS CBE. There he enjoyed developing new flow chemistry tools, techniques and synthetic methods as well as applying them to industrially relevant processing problems. In 2012 Duncan was appointed as a Fellow in Natural Sciences at Sidney Sussex College (University of Cambridge), and, in 2013 he was made Director of Studies in Natural Sciences.

In September 2014, Duncan established his independent research group and became Lecturer in Organic Synthesis at Cardiff University.

CH3103 Foundations of Organic Chemistry tutorials
CH3104 Introduction to the Solid State & Applications of Spectroscopy tutorials
CH3105 Techniques and Methods in Chemistry tutorials
CH3203 Applications of Molecular Spectroscopy tutorials
CH3203 Organic Chemistry of Multiply Bonded Systems tutorials
CH3303 Advanced Organic Chemistry: Retrosynthesis (*New Course*)
CH3312 Advanced Organic Chemistry: Retrosynthesis, remote study (*New Course*)
CH3303 Advanced Organic Chemistry tutorials
CH3325 Final Year B.Sc. project supervisor
CH3404 Asymmetric Synthesis of Pharmaceuticals and Natural Products - Enabling Technologies for Organic Synthesis (*New Course*)
CH3401 Final Year MChem project supervisor

Details of each module is available in course finder

Continuous Flow Chemistry - An optimised continuous flow process can provide chemicals 'on-demand' with excellent reproducibility. We are currently developing multistep or telescoped flow processes to Fine Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals and Agrochemicals. We are also developing tools for synthesis chemists to collect relevant process data for chemical engineers.

Mechanochemical Synthesis - Mechanochemistry is a solvent-free solid-state grinding technique. Our work in this area is focussed on identifying new concepts for synthesis and searching for phenomena that are unattainable by other means. In tandem with this we are looking to identify reaction processes where solvent use is minimised for workup and purification as well as the reaction.

Under-represented Fluorous Motifs - The chance of achieving a successful ‘hit’ in the search for new and improved functional organic molecules can be increased by appropriate fluorination. Fluorinated organic molecules can offer improved properties compared to their non-fluorous congeners. We are particularly interested in designing new methods to access under-represented organofluorine motifs.

Valorisation of Renewable or Waste Materials - Biofeedstocks in general and biowaste in particular represent an attractive source of useful chemical functionality, which to date is still largely untapped in terms of its application in the fine chemicals industry. We have identified continuous flow methods as a must use technology for the valorisation of such materials so that any designed methods can be rapidly scaled to manufacture.

Manufacturing the Future – The key goal of exploring the capabilities of enabling technologies is to streamline the delivery of new chemical discoveries from the discovery phase to manufactured products. We would like to develop more versatile, flexible and modular chemical manufacturing systems, as well as a significant push towards solvent free manufacturing processes.