School of Chemistry

Dr. Liam Ball


Liam read undergraduate chemistry at the University of Bristol, conducting final-year research with Dr Chris Russell in the field of main group synthesis. Upon completion of his MSci in 2009, Liam began Ph.D. studies under the co-supervision of Dr Chris Russell and Prof. Guy Lloyd-Jones FRS. During this time, his research concerned the development and mechanistic investigation of gold-catalysed coupling methodologies. In December 2013, Liam relocated to Edinburgh to conduct post-doctoral research with Prof. Guy Lloyd-Jones FRS on mechanistic aspects of palladium catalysis. Liam was appointed to the post of Assistant Professor of Organic Chemistry at the School of Chemistry, University of Nottingham, in October 2014 (effective from July 2015).


Research Summary

The exploitation of mechanistic insight to inform the development of efficient, catalytic approaches to carbon-carbon and carbon-heteroatom bond-formation is a central research theme in the Ball group. Although accurate prediction of molecular function from structure alone remains a challenge across all areas of synthetic chemistry, it is particularly difficult in the field of homogeneous catalysis: any given feature of a catalyst that benefits one step of a cycle, such as its ligand sphere or oxidation state, may have a lesser or an opposing effect in subsequent steps. Our approach is to use the tools of physical organic chemistry – including isotopic labelling, kinetic studies and analysis of structure-activity relationships – to gain an understanding of a reaction’s mechanism and to quantify the requirements of the catalyst. This insight provides the basis for both informed catalyst optimisation and, ultimately, de novo reaction design. Current major projects are focused on:

  1. Developing the catalytic redox chemistry of the main group elements.
  2. Improving the efficiency, scope and practicality of cross-coupling catalysts based on (earth-abundant) transition metals. 
For more information see the Ball group webpages.


Lloyd-Jones*, G. C.; Ball*, L. T. Self-control tames the coupling of reactive radicals. Science 2014, 345, 381-382.

Ball, L. T.; Lloyd-Jones*, G. C.; Russell*, C. A. Gold-catalyzed oxidative coupling of arylsilanes and arenes: origin of selectivity and improved precatalyst. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 254-264.

Stennett, T. E.; Hey, T. W.; Ball, L. T.; Flynn, S. R.; Radcliffe, J. E.; McMullin, C. L.; Wingad R. L.; Wass* D. F. N,N-Diphospholylamines – a new family of ligand for highly active chromium-based selective ethene oligomerisation catalysts. ChemCatChem 2013, 5, 2946-2954.

Ball, L. T.; Lloyd-Jones*, G. C.; Russell*, C. A. Gold-catalyzed direct arylation. Science 2012, 337, 1644-1648.

Aggarwal*, V. K.; Ball, L. T.; Carobene, S.; Connelly, R. L.; Hesse, M. J.; Partridge, B. M.; Roth, P.; Thomas, S. P.; Webster, M. P. Application of the lithiation-borylation reaction to the rapid and enantioselective synthesis of the bisabolane family of sesquiterpenes. Chem. Commun. 2012, 48, 9230-9232.

Ball, L. T.; Lloyd-Jones*, G. C.; Russell*, C. A. Gold-catalysed oxyarylation of styrenes, mono- and gem-disubstituted olefins facilitated by an iodine(III) oxidant. Chem. Eur. J. 2012, 18, 2931-2937.

Ball, L. T.; Green, M.; Lloyd-Jones*, G. C.; Russell*, C. A. Arylsilanes: application to gold-catalyzed oxyarylation of alkenes. Org. Lett. 2010, 12, 4724-4727.

School of Chemistry

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