Ideas in full flow after latest specialist techniques workshop

17th July 2014

Building on the success of the recent ‘Biocatalysis’ and ‘Electrochemistry’ workshops, a specialist techniques training event in ‘flow chemistry’ was held at Oxford University’s Department of Chemistry in July.

Prof Jeremy Robertson, coordinator of the Marie Curie-funded Innovative Doctoral Programme (IDP) ‘Oxford Innovative Organic Synthesis for Cancer Research’, opened the meeting by welcoming the first speaker of the day Luigi LaVecchia, Director of Preparations Laboratories at Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research. Luigi gave an excellent introduction to flow chemistry and, using examples (nitrations and fluorinations), explained how the technique could be employed to scale-up exothermic or hazardous reactions. Jörg Sedelmeier, Principle Scientist at Novartis’ Chemical and Analytical Development (CHAD), followed by describing how the flow chemistry technique can complement traditional batch chemistry by permitting reactions that are difficult to carry out in conventional batch mode. He accentuated his presentation with example reactions taken from the CHAD portfolio and explained when to consider using the technique.

During the second session, speakers focussed on the equipment needed to perform flow chemistry. Andrew Mansfield (
Vapourtec Ltd) presented details on the company’s E- and R-series systems and selected key applications from a portfolio of 36 application notes and citations in 130 peer-reviewed publications. Yann Lecouturier (Syrris Ltd) spoke about ‘Recent advances in flow chemistry technology’ profiling the benefits and applications of Syrris’ Asia systems. Yann described how the newly-launched Asia FLUX module enables electrochemistry in flow.

After a networking lunch, the afternoon session was devoted to practical demonstrations of Vapourtec’s and Syrris’ flow chemistry equipment. Andrew carried out a reaction, ‘Aromatic substitution in Dimethyl Formamide’, to illustrate the ease-of-use of the Vapourtec E-series flow chemistry instrument. Yann together with Simon Rainbow from
GPE Scientific, Syrris’ UK distributor, provided students with the opportunity to view Asia equipment at the Syrris trade stand and ask questions about their use and set-up.

The flow chemistry workshop was the third in the series of specialist techniques events hosted by the IDP OxIOSCR programme. Early Stage Researcher Anaïs Bouisseau reflects on the day’s events: ‘I feel lucky in that through the various workshops, the OxIOSCR programme has given me the opportunity to learn so much about the techniques that are not routinely used in synthetic organic chemistry. The presentations at the latest event gave us a real introduction to flow chemistry and the demonstrations perfectly followed the logic of the day.’
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