University of Otago, New Zealand


Te Tari Hua-Ruanuku

Associate Professor James D. Crowley

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Associate Professor James D. Crowley
Synthetic Chemistry
Tel: (03) 479 7731
Location: Science II, 2n10

Employment History and Qualifications

Associate Professor, University of Otago 2015–
Senior Lecturer, University of Otago 2011-2015
Lecturer, University of Otago 2008–2011
British Ramsay Memorial Postdoctoral Fellow (with Prof. D. A. Leigh, FRS), University of Edinburgh 2006–2007
Postdoctoral Fellow (with Prof. D. A. Leigh, FRS), University of Edinburgh 2005–2006
S.M and Ph.D, The University of Chicago (Prof. B Bosnich, FRS) 2000-2005
B.Sc. (Hons) and M.Sc., Victoria University of Wellington (Dr. D. C. Weatherburn) 1994-1999

Awards and Distinctions

University of Otago, Division of Sciences Research Group of the Year 2016
Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI), Organometallic Chemistry Award 2015
Finalist in OUSA Supervisor of the Year Awards 2015
Chemical Society of Japan (CSJ) Asian International Distinguished Lectureship Award 2015
Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI), Alan Sargeson Lectureship 2014
Royal Society of Chemistry/New Zealand Institute of Chemistry Easterfield Award 2013
University of Otago Early Career Award for Distinction in Research 2011
British Ramsay Memorial Fellowship (U of Ed.) 2006-2008
Joan Shiu Award for Student Service, (U of C) 2004
Curtis-Gordon Scholarship for Chemistry (VUW) 1998

Relevant Disciplines

Organic / Inorganic / Organometallic / Materials / Supramolecular Chemistry / Nanoscience

My research interests are in synthetic organic, inorganic, organometallic and supramolecular chemistry. I am interested in the design and synthesis of new functional materials. I have expertise in a wide range of synthetic and spectroscopic techniques including NMR, IR, UV-vis and X-ray crystallography. Major areas of interest include:

CuAAC “Click” coordination chemistry. The mild and modular Cu(I)-catalyzed 1,3-cycloaddition of terminal alkynes with organic azides (the CuAAC “click” reaction) allows the ready formation of functionalised 1,4-disubstituted-1,2,3-triazole scaffolds and this has led to an explosion of interest in the coordination chemistry of these heterocycles. A diverse array of mono-, bi-, tri- and polydentate ligands incorporating 1,4-disubstituted-1,2,3-triazole units have been synthesised and characterised. Easy access to readily functionalised ligand architectures is of crucial importance in a range of different areas and we are exploiting these ligands for the development of new catalysts, metallo-pharmaceuticals, bio-imaging agents, metallosupramolecular architectures, and molecular machines.

Synthetic molecular machines (nanotechnology). It is well established that the fundamental processes of life at the cellular level are governed by complex biological molecular machines which convert chemical energy into work. My research group is interested in exploiting a range of interlocked and non-interlocked molecular architectures for the development of synthetic molecular machines. These efforts are motivated by the goal of creating synthetic devices or materials that, like their far more complex biological counterparts, could carry out tasks by exploiting controlled molecular-level mechanical motion; a key requirement for the development of useable nanotechnology.

Functional metallosupramolecular architectures. I am also interested in the engineering of functional molecular architectures via self-assembly. In particular we are attempting to exploit these self-assembled cages as novel metallo-pharmaceuticals, for drug delivery and as nanoreactors for carrying out chemical transformations.


Crowley group publications

ResearcherID: A-8627-2010

Book Chapters

  1. J. D. Crowley, D. A. McMorran "Click-triazole" coordination chemistry: Exploiting 1,4-disubstituted-1,2,3-triazoles as ligands" Topics in Heterocyclic Chemistry, 2012, 28: 31-84; DOI: 10.1007/7081_2011_67. Citations: (6) (Invited Chapter, “Click Triazoles” special issue).

Selected Refereed Journal Articles

  1. D. Preston, J. E. M. Lewis, J. D. Crowley "Multicavity [PdnL4]2n+ cages with controlled segregated binding of different guests" J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139, 2379−2386; DOI: 10.1021/jacs.6b11982
  2. J. R. Wright, J. D. Crowley, N. T. Lucas “Carbon-rich “Click” 1,2,3-Triazoles: Hexaphenylbenzene and Hexa‑peri-hexabenzocoronene-based Ligands for Suzuki-Miyaura Catalysts” Chem. Commun. 2016, 52, 12976-12979; DOI: 10.1039/C6CC07413H
  3. S. V. Kumar, S. Ø. Scottwell, E. Waugh, C. J. McAdam, L. R. Hanton, H. J. L. Brooks, J. D. Crowley “Antimicrobial properties of tris(homoleptic) ruthenium(II) 2-pyridyl-1,2,3-triazole “click” complexes against pathogenic bacteria, including methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)” Inorg. Chem. 2016, 55, 9767–9777; DOI: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.6b01574u
  4. D. Preston, J. E. Barnsley, K. C. Gordon, J. D. Crowley “Controlled formation of heteroleptic [Pd2(La)2(Lb)2]4+ cages” " J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016, 138, 10578-10585; DOI: 10.1021/jacs.6b05629
  5. S. Ø. Scottwell, J. D. Crowley “Ferrocene-containing Non-interlocked Molecular Machines” Chem. Commun. 2016, 52, 2451-2464; DOI: 10.1039/C5CC09569G
  6. A. Noor, S. C. Moratti, J. D Crowley “Active-Template Synthesis of “Click” [2]Rotaxane Ligands: Self-Assembly of Mechanically Interlocked Metallo-Supramolecular Dimers, Macrocycles and Oligomers.” Chem. Sci. 2014, 5, 4283-4290, DOI: 10.1039/C4SC01438C
  7. A. Noor, W. K. C. Lo, S. C. Moratti, J. D. Crowley “CuAAC “click” Active Template Synthesis of Functionalized [2]Rotaxanes Using Small exo-Substituted Macrocycles: How small is too small?” Chem. Commun. 2014, 50, 7044-7047; DOI: 10.1039/C4CC03077J
  8. J. E. M. Lewis, A. B. S. Elliott, C. J. McAdam, K. C. Gordon, J. D. Crowley "‘Click’ to Functionalise: Synthesis, Characterisation and the Enhancement of the Physical Properties of a Series of Exo- and Endo-Functionalised Pd2L4 Nanocages" Chem. Sci. 2014, 5, 1833–1843; DOI: 10.1039/C4SC00434E
  9. J. E. M. Lewis, E. L. Gavey, S. A. Cameron, J. D. Crowley "Stimuli-Responsive Pd2L4 Metallosupramolecular Cages: Towards Targeted Cisplatin Drug Delivery" Chem. Sci. 2012, 3, 778-784; DOI: 10.1039/C2SC00899H
  10. K. J. Kilpin, U. S. D. Paul, A-L. Lee, J. D. Crowley, "Gold(I) “Click” 1,2,3-Triazolylidenes: Synthesis, Self-Assembly and Catalysis" Chem. Commun. 2011, 47, 328-330; DOI: 10.1039/c0cc02185g
  11. J. D. Crowley, P. H. Bandeen "A multicomponent CuAAC “click” approach to a library of hybrid polydentate 2-pyridyl-1,2,3-triazole ligands: New building blocks for the generation of metallosupramolecular architectures" Dalton Trans. 2010, 39, 612-623; DOI: 10.1039/b911276f. 

Current Group

PhD Students

Tae Kim, (co-supervisor N. T. Lucas), 2014-

James Findlay, 2016-

Roan Vasdev, 2017-

MSc Students

Roan Vasdev, 2015-

Quinn van Hilst, 2016-

Honours Students/Undergraduate Researchers

Natalie Lagesse, BSc (Honours), 2017 

William Pelet (CHEM390) 2017 research placement.