• Dr Sara Kyne with two female colleagues
24 Oct | Guest Blog | Lincoln News

Women in Chemistry at the University of Belgrade, Serbia

The Faculty of Chemistry at the University of Belgrade is exceptional amongst STEMM departments with more than 50% female academic staff. As part of their activities to promote women in chemistry, the Faculty invited three international female chemists to give a research lecture at the University in September/October 2018.

Dr Sara Kyne, from the School of Chemistry at Lincoln, was one of the three female chemists invited to Belgrade to talk about her research (abstract below). With a bursary from the EGC's new Worldw-ide fund, Sara accepted their invitation, and visited Belgrade from 5-8 October 2018.

"I did not know what to expect of Serbia before I visited. I was invited to give a lecture at the University of Belgrade (Serbia) by Prof. Maja Gruden whom I met through EU COST CM1305 activities. The University of Belgrade is the largest university in Serbia, and has more than 100,000 undergraduate students. It is a state university, listed in the top 300 of the Shanghai World University Rankings 2017. The Faculty of Chemistry is a key contributor to research excellence at the University, notably employing more than 50% female academics. Fruitful discussions were held over my two day visit with the group of Prof. Gruden. Also following my talk, I had interesting discussions with Prof. Andjelkovic (Head of Department of General and Inorganic Chemistry) and Prof. Brceski with whom I immediately found common research interests.

"In between the scientific discussions, there was time to see some of the historically significant sites in Belgrade. This included the cobblestoned Skadarlija Bohemian quarter and the Kalemegdan Park home to ancient fortress ruins overlooking the meeting of the Sava and Danube rivers. The city was beautiful in the sunshine, making it a delight to soak up the city’s atmosphere. The Serbians that I met were incredibly welcoming. It seemed important to them that I left with a good impression of Serbia. And I did!"

Dr Sara Kyne, School of Chemistry, University of Lincoln

The Faculty of Chemistry at the University of Belgrade has strong expertise in inorganic chemistry, in particular computational chemistry of open-shell transition metal systems. The Centre for Computational Chemistry and Bioinformatics was established in 2016, the first of its kind in Serbia. It is led by Prof. Gruden and organised into four research themes: (i) quantum chemistry and cheminformatics; (ii) drug design; (iii) multi-scale modelling and (iv) dynamics of macromolecules.

Mechanistic studies of radical reactions: Improving efficiency of chain processes

Sara Kyne, Belgrade, October 2018

Radical chemistry is a powerful and versatile tool for synthetic chemistry. Single electron transfer processes offer complimentary reactivity to two-electron or polar reactions, due to the open shell reactive species that undergo chemical reaction through otherwise difficult to access pathways. The use of radical chemistry in synthesis has become more prevalent in part due to the application of transition metal coordination compounds as photocatalysts for generating organic radicals. Visible light mediated photoredox catalysis has given rise to a wide variety of new synthetic processes including late stage functionalisation, carbon-carbon and carbon-heteroatom bond formation reactions [1].

In some instances, excellent but unexpected chemoselectivity has been achieved [2]. This could potentially be used to selectively modify unprotected carbohydrates, if the reaction could be better understood.

Ultimately, to design and execute new complex photoredox catalytic reactions, it is critical to elucidate the photochemical mechanism of reaction [3]. In particular, it is important to determine the origin of chemo- and regio-selectivity of photoredox reactions, which this talk will seek to address.


  1. M. H. Shaw, J. Twilton, D. W. C. MacMillan, J. Org. Chem. 2016, 81, 6898-6926.
  2. I. C. S. Wan, M. D. Witte, A. J. Minnaard, Chem. Commun. 2017, 53, 4926–4929.
  3. M. Marchini, G. Bergamini, P. G. Cozzi, P. Ceroni, V. Balzani, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2017, 56, 12820–12821.