2019 IRC PhD success!


1st year PhD student Anna Ziemele has just been awarded a prestigious Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship for her exciting new project is entitled “Development of Mitochondrial Gene-Editing Ruthenium Hybrid Materials”.

Congratulations Anna!

15th RSC Nucleic Acids Forum

The 15th RSC Nucleic Acids Forum was held at the Royal Society of Chemistry on the 12th of July in Mayfair, London. This meeting brought the UK and Irish Nucleic Acids Research community together to discuss exciting research involving the study of nucleic acids. At this event Bríonna presented a poster based on her current research which focuses on the “Development of new qPCR methodology to probe gene knockdown” while Nicoló presented his poster “Gene editing via nucleic acid ‘click’ chemistry”.

Chemistry Research Colloquium 2019

This year the 71st Irish Universities Chemistry Research Colloquium was hosted by TU Dublin & RCSI on June 20th and 21st. The colloquium was attended by PhD students Séan O’Halloran, Brionna McGorman, Anna Ziemele and Karen Ontiveros.

RSC Organic Division Ireland Regional Meeting 2019

The RSC Organic Division Ireland Regional Meeting was held on Friday 7th June 2019 at the UCD O’Brien Centre for Science at University College Dublin where Andrew gave an invited lecture entitled “Gene editing with nucleic acid click chemistry”. On the day Zara won best poster prize which was presented by Professor Tom Simpson, University of Bristol.

DNA and beyond!

A mini symposium in honour of Professors Jacqueline Barton and Peter Dervan was held in Trinity College Dublin on May 17th. Prof. Jackie Barton gave the prestigious Cocker Lecture entitled “DNA Signalling” and was also awarded the RSC Centenary Prize. Thanks to Professors Sylvia Draper, Peter Dunne, Isabel Rozas for the invite to present on “Recent Advances in Copper(II) Artificial Metallonuclease Design” at this symposium.


2019 DCU Chemistry Day

The 4th Annual DCU Chemistry Day was a great success again for the research group with 1st year PhD student Seán O’Halloran winning best flash presentation and Brionna McGorman winning best poster presentation!

On the day we also had presentations from Karen Ontiveros and Anna Ziemele and a poster from Zara Molphy and Nicoló Zuin Fantoni based on our recent Chemistry - A European Journal publication!

Thanks to the organisers for another great day!

Recent Advances in Anticancer Copper Compounds

The new Royal Society of Chemistry “Metal-based Anticancer Agents” book has just been published!

The interdisciplinary world of inorganic drug discovery and development is explored in this book. Pre-clinical and clinical applications of transition metals such as platinum, copper, ruthenium, iron, gold are discussed. It is a very useful resource for established researchers and postgraduate students of medicinal chemistry and metallobiology alike. Read our chapter on “Recent Advances in Anticancer Copper Compounds”.

Thanks to editors Angela Casini, Anne Vessières, Samuel M Meier-Menches for inviting us to contribute to this great RSC Metallobiology series!

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Dalton Transactions Cover Art

We recently collaborated with the Marmion group at RCSI which resulted in a publication in the RSC journal Dalton Transactions. “A new class of prophylactic metallo-antibiotic possessing potent anti-cancer and anti-microbial properties” was highlighted by the journal and we got the the opportunity to create this amazing cover art at Kellett HQ!


Recent publications

Recent publications to appear online from the Kellett research group in Royal Society of Chemistry journals include:

  • A new class of prophylactic metallo-antibiotic possessing potent anti-cancer and anti-microbial properties in Dalton Transactions

  • Synthesis, self-assembly, bacterial and fungal toxicity, and preliminary biodegradation studies of a series of L-phenylalanine-derived surface-active ionic liquids in Green Chemistry


Spring Conferring 2019

Earlier this year Natasha successfully defended her thesis on “The Development of New Molecular Scaffolds for Nucleic Acid Condensation”.

Congratulations to Dr. Natasha McStay on her graduation today!


Just Published!

We have just published a tutorial review article “Molecular methods for assessment of non-covalent metallodrug–DNA interactions” in the RSC journal Chemical Society Reviews!

This article covers a number of key learning points including:

• Essentials of nucleic acid structure.

• Principles of nucleic acid–metallodrug recognition.

• Application of mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography to probe selective metallodrug–DNA binding sites.

• Quantification of metallodrug–DNA interactions using high-throughput optical techniques based on fluorescence and absorbance spectroscopy.

• Electrophoretic techniques and the use of on-chip microfluidic assays to identify drug–DNA damage.

Check it out here.

SFI TIDA Success!


Dr Creina Slator received Science Foundation Ireland’s Technology Innovation Development Award (TIDA) for her project entitled “Pre-Clinical Evaluation of Chemotherapeutic Z-DNA Forming Di-Copper(II) Metallodrugs”. Her project seeks to develop a novel class of copper-based anticancer agents for preclinical evaluation. Therapeutic studies will be conducted in a range of mutated breast cancer cell lines and models to understand unique DNA interactions that can overcome innate repair mechanisms. The project presents a promising commercialisation opportunity for the Irish Biopharmaceutical sector in the area of Cancer and Oncology.

Check out the DCU press release here.

ChemPlusChem 2019

We have have just published an article in the Wiley journal ChemPlusChem reporting a codeine C3-opioid DNA condensing scaffold (CC3) rationally designed through informatics-based conformation generation and ab initio geometry optimisation. The scaffold undergoes protonation at physiological pH that allows for controlled compaction and release of nucleic acids.


Financial support for this work was provided by Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) ClickGene [H2020-MSCA-ITN-2014-642023]; Science Foundation Ireland (15/CDA/3648) ; and the Synthesis and Solid-State Pharmaceutical Centre (SSPC).

Final ClickGene Meeting at DCU

On the 6th of December, ClickGene ESRs travelled from across Europe to attend the final network meeting at DCU. Prof Andrew Kellett gave ESRs an overview of the work packages, objectives, achievements and dissemination from the ITN since 2015. Keynote lectures were given by Dr Niall Barron (NIBRT) and Prof Vickie McKee while ESRs presented the latest advancements in their own research projects. This meeting highlighted the quality of research output from the ClickGene ITN and the ESRs enjoyed celebrations in Dublin City centre.


Techniques & Strategies in Molecular Medicine Workshop

Last week postdocs and PhD students from the SFI funded project PPtBio attended the Techniques & Strategies in Molecular Medicine workshop run by Clinical Research Development Ireland (CRDI). This 2 day course at Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute covered technologies/techniques including epigenetics, next generation sequencing, CRISPR, fluorescence microscopy, flow cytometry and their applications.

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DCU November Graduations 2018


Huge congratulations to both Anna Ziemele and Seán O’Halloran who graduated this month from their BSc. (Hons) in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science here at DCU. Both students completed their 12 week final year research projects in the Kellett Group working along side postgraduate students Nicoló and Seán. In October, Anna and Seán joined the group as 1st year PhD candidates and are working on projects funded by the SSPC and Cúram Centre for Research in Medical Devices.

Schrödinger at 75—The Future of Biology

In September 1943 Erwin Schrödinger, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist, and then Director of Theoretical Physics at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, gave three public lectures entitled 'What is Life?' at Trinity College Dublin. To celebrate the 75th anniversary of these talks, a two day conference was held at the National Concert Hall Dublin which brought together some of the best minds in biology under one roof. Nicolò and Zara attended the event which included keynotes from Nobel Prize winners including Bernard Feringa, John O’Keefe, Michael Rosbash, Susumu Tonegawa and Ada Yonath and a number of other esteemed speakers.

Nicolò had to opportunity to meet James Watson on day 2 at the National Concert Hall!