About Associate Professor Matthew Todd

My group works on organic synthesis, specifically drug discovery across a range of diseases (malaria, TB, cancer…), synthetic methodology development (how to make bonds), asymmetric catalysis (how to make bonds well) and using new kinds of metal complexes to emit fluorescent signals under specific circumstances (very useful in sensing and modifying biological events).

Our expertise lies squarely in organic chemistry – the molecules of life. We want to understand how to make them in efficient and new ways. We like it when the molecules display unusual properties, such as unusual optical characteristics. We really like it when the molecules are biologically active. We love it when the mechanism by which we make the molecules is in some way unusual, for example if it’s faster or slower then we would predict, or if other phenomena such as autocatalysis are apparent. We are happiest when we do not understand something.

After undergrad and PhD at Cambridge University in the UK, a postdoctoral fellowship at Berkeley in the US and then being a College Fellow at Cambridge, I moved to London as an academic in 2001 and then Sydney in 2005. My grant-funded science has won major competitive domestic and international awards for research excellence, for example an ASAP award: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCOokjOiVTc

Much of the research that takes place in the group proceeds by a highly unusual research mechanism that I have pioneered – Open Source Research. If you join one of these projects you will share all your data and ideas on the internet as soon as you obtain them. You will allow others to take part in your research and be part of a global community of scholars that operates without secrecy. There are other projects in the group that do not use this research method, for example one project in tuberculosis drug discovery and another in metal ion sensing. You can read more about our research group here.

Selected publications

  1. Open Source Drug Discovery – A Limited Tutorial, M. Robertson, P. Ylioja, M. Woelfle, M. Robins, A. Williamson, K. Badiola, P. Willis, P. Olliaro, T. N. C. Wells and M. H. Todd, Parasitology 2014, 141, 148–157. DOI: 10.1017/S0031182013001121
  2. A Fluorescent “Allosteric Scorpionand” Complex Visualizes a Biological Recognition Event, M. Yu, P. J. Rutledge and M. H. Todd, ChemBioChem 2013, 14, 224–229. DOI: 10.1002/cbic.201200637
  3. The First Catalytic, Enantioselective Aza-Henry Reaction of an Unactivated Cyclic Imine, N. R. Amarasinghe, P. Turner and M. H. Todd, Adv. Synth. Catal. 2012, 354, 2954–2958. (IF 6.0). DOI: 10.1002/adsc.201200558
  4. Oxidative Arylation of Isochroman, S. J. Park, J. Price and M. H. Todd, J. Org. Chem. 2012, 77, 949–955. (IF 4.0). DOI: 10.1021/jo2021373
  5. *Open Science is a Research Accelerator, M. Woelfle, P. Olliaro and M. H. Todd, Nature Chemistry 2011, 3, 745–748. (IF 17.9). (LP0883419). DOI: 10.1038/nchem.1149
  6. Resolution of Praziquantel, M. Woelfle, J.-P. Seerden, J. de Gooijer, K. Pouwer, P. Olliaro and M. H. Todd, PLoS Negl. Trop. Dis. 2011, 5(9): e1260. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0001260
  7. A Click Fluorophore Sensor can Distinguish CuII and HgII via Selective Anion-Induced Demetallation, Y. H. Lau, J. Price, M. H. Todd and P. J. Rutledge, Chem. Eur. J. 2011, 17, 2850–2858. DOI: 10.1002/chem.201002477
  8. A DDQ-mediated Oxidative Carbon-carbon Bond Forming Reaction Proceeds via an Isolable Iminium Ion, A. S.-K. Tsang, P. Jensen, J. M. Hook, A. S. K. Hashmi and M. H. Todd, Pure Appl. Chem. 2011, 83, 655–665. (IF 3.4). DOI: 10.1351/PAC-CON-11-01-01
  9. Responsive Metal Complexes: a Click-based “Allosteric Scorpionate” Complex Permits the Detection of a Biological Recognition Event by EPR/ENDOR Spectroscopy, E. Tamanini, S. E. J. Rigby, M. Motevalli, M. H. Todd and M. Watkinson, Chem. Eur. J. 2009, 15, 3720–3728. (IF 5.5). DOI: 10.1002/chem.200802425
  10. A Synthetically Simple, Click-generated Cyclam-based Zinc(II) Sensor, E. Tamanini, A. Katewa, L. M. Sedger, M. H. Todd and M. Watkinson, Inorg. Chem. 2009, 48, 319–324. DOI: 10.1021/ic8017634