Alice Johnson

Dr Alice Johnson MChem, MRSC

Lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry


I joined Sheffield Hallam University as a lecturer in inorganic chemistry in 2022. My research focusses on the mechanism of action of metal complexes in the treatment of inflammatory diseases and I am a member of both the chemistry research group and the cancer research group within the Biomolecular Sciences Research Centre. I teach undergraduate and postgraduate students across the chemistry and biosciences degree programmes. I am a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry and Real Sociedad Española de Química and am currently the Early Career Researcher representative for the Industry and Innovation Research Institute.


I obtained my Master of Chemistry (MChem) at the University of Durham and as part of this undertook a research placement in Spain through the ERASMUS scheme. Following this I moved to the Institute of Chemical Synthesis and Homogenous Catalysis (ISQCH) at the University of Zaragoza, Spain, to complete a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry working on the synthesis and properties of novel organogold complexes under the supervision of Prof. M. Concepción Gimeno. Through this I gained significant experience in synthetic organometallic chemistry as well as in studies of luminescence and cytotoxicity of metal complexes. I also undertook research placements at Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ) in Tarragona, Spain, working for Prof. Antonio Echavarren on the synthesis of novel gold catalysts, and at the Fundamental and Applied Heterochemistry Laboratory within the Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse, France, working for Prof. Didier Bourissou on gold carbene complexes.
Following completion of my PhD, I moved to the University of Oxford for a postdoctoral research position in the group of Prof. Andrew Weller where I worked on rhodium catalysed amine-borane dehydropolymerisation, including the isolation and characterisation of sigma-complexes and studies of rhodium nanoparticle catalysis. I then moved to the University of Leicester for a postdoctoral position in the group of Dr Rama Suntharalingam working on the synthesis of anti-cancer stem cell copper complexes. It was here I gained expertise in cell culture and cancer cell assays.
My current research focusses on the synthesis of novel metal complexes featuring bioactive ligands and the study of their mechanism of action in inflammatory diseases, including cancer.


Department of Biosciences and Chemistry

College of Health, Wellbeing and Life Sciences

Biosciences and Chemistry

BSc/MChem Chemistry, BSc/MSci Biochemistry, BSc Biomedical Science, MSc Analytical Chemistry, MSc Pharmaceutical Analysis

Introduction to Inorganic and Materials Chemistry; Physical and Inorganic Chemistry; Advanced Inorganic, Physical and Materials Chemistry; Frontiers of Chemical Research; Professional and Scientific Practice; Bioanalytical Methods; Plant Physiology and Anatomy; Atoms to Molecules; Energy and Reactions; Advanced Laboratory and Research Practice; BSc Research Project; MSc Research Project; MChem Research Project


Synthesis of novel metal complexes for the treatment of inflammatory diseases. Studies of the mechanism of action of metal based drugs in biological systems. New drug delivery approaches.


Journal articles

Johnson, A., Feng, X., Singh, K., Ortu, F., & Suntharalingam, K. (2023). The anti-breast cancer stem cell potency of copper(I)-non-ateroidal anti-inflammatory drug complexes. Molecules, 28 (17).

Cross, M., Brodie, C., Crivoi, D., Goodall, J., Ryan, D., Martínez-Martínez, A., ... Weller, A.S. (2023). Dehydropolymerization of Amine-Boranes using Bis(imino)pyridine Rhodium Pre-Catalysis: σ-Amine-Borane Complexes, Nanoparticles, and Low Residual-Metal BN-Polymers that can be Chemically Repurposed. Chemistry (Weinheim an der Bergstrasse, Germany).

Johnson, A., Olelewe, C., Kim, J.H., Northcote-Smith, J., Mertens, R.T., Passeri, G., ... Suntharalingam, K. (2022). The anti-breast cancer stem cell properties of gold( i )-non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug complexes. Chemical Science.

Xiao, Z., Northcote‐Smith, J., Johnson, A., Singh, K., & Suntharalingam, K. (2022). The cancer stem cell potency of group 10‐Azadiphosphine metal complexes. European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry.

Johnson, A., Iffland-Mühlhaus, L., Northcote-Smith, J., Singh, K., Ortu, F., Apfel, U.-.P., & Suntharalingam, K. (2022). A bioinspired redox-modulating copper(II)–macrocyclic complex bearing non-steroidalanti-inflammatory drugs with anti-cancerstem cell activity. Dalton Transactions.

Johnson, A., Royle, C.G., Brodie, C.N., Martínez-Martínez, A.J., Duckett, S.B., & Weller, A.S. (2021). η2-Alkene complexes of [Rh(PONOP-iPr)(L)]+ cations (L = COD, NBD, Ethene). Intramolecular alkene-assisted hydrogenation and dihydrogen complex [Rh(PONOP-iPr)(η-H2)]. Inorg Chem, 60 (18), 13903-13912.

Johnson, A., Iffland, L., Singh, K., Apfel, U.-.P., & Suntharalingam, K. (2021). A dithiacyclam-coordinated silver(i) polymer with anti-cancer stem cell activity. Dalton Trans, 50 (17), 5779-5783.

Xiao, Z., Johnson, A., Singh, K., & Suntharalingam, K. (2021). The Discrete Breast Cancer Stem Cell Mammosphere Activity of Group 10‐Bis(azadiphosphine) Metal Complexes. Angewandte Chemie, 133 (12), 6778-6783.

Xiao, Z., Johnson, A., Singh, K., & Suntharalingam, K. (2021). The discrete breast cancer stem cell mammosphere activity of group 10-Bis(azadiphosphine) metal complexes. Angewandte Chemie - International Edition, 60 (12), 6704-6709.

Johnson, A., Northcote-Smith, J., & Suntharalingam, K. (2021). Emerging metallopharmaceuticals for the treatment of cancer. Trends in Chemistry, 3 (1), 47-58.

Northcote-Smith, J., Johnson, A., Singh, K., Ortu, F., & Suntharalingam, K. (2021). Breast Cancer Stem Cell Active Copper(II) Complexes with Naphthol Schiff Base and Polypyridyl Ligands. Inorganics, 9 (1).

Kaur, P., Johnson, A., Northcote-Smith, J., Lu, C., & Suntharalingam, K. (2020). Immunogenic Cell Death of Breast Cancer Stem Cells Induced by an Endoplasmic Reticulum-Targeting Copper(II) Complex. ChemBioChem, 21 (24), 3618-3624.

Feld, C.J., Johnson, A., Xiao, Z., & Suntharalingam, K. (2020). Breast Cancer Stem Cell Potency of Nickel(II)-Polypyridyl Complexes Containing Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs. Chemistry, 26 (61), 14011-14017.

Johnson, A., & Gimeno, M.C. (2020). Yldiide Ligands as Building Blocks for Polynuclear Coinage Metal Complexes: Metal Squares, Triangles and Chains. Chemistry - A European Journal, 26 (49), 11256-11265.

Johnson, A., Marzo, I., & Gimeno, M.C. (2020). Heterobimetallic propargyl gold complexes with π-bound copper or silver with enhanced anticancer activity. Dalton Transactions, 49 (33), 11736-11742.

Eskandari, A., Kundu, A., Johnson, A., Karmakar, S., Ghosh, S., & Suntharalingam, K. (2020). A tri-metallic palladium complex with breast cancer stem cell potency. Dalton Transactions, 49 (14), 4211-4215.

Boyd, T.M., Andrea, K.A., Baston, K., Johnson, A., Ryan, D.E., & Weller, A.S. (2019). A simple cobalt-based catalyst system for the controlled dehydropolymerisation of H3B·NMeH2 on the gram-scale. Chemical Communications, 56 (3), 482-485.

Dietz, M., Johnson, A., Martínez-Martínez, A., & Weller, A.S. (2019). The [Rh(Xantphos)]+ catalyzed hydroboration of diphenylacetylene using trimethylamine-borane. Inorganica Chimica Acta, 491, 9-13.

Johnson, A., Martínez-Martínez, A.J., Macgregor, S.A., & Weller, A.S. (2019). A d10 Ag(i) amine-borane σ-complex and comparison with a d8 Rh(i) analogue: structures on the η1 to η2:η2 continuum. Dalton Trans, 48 (26), 9776-9781.

Johnson, A., Marzo, I., & Gimeno, M.C. (2018). Ylide ligands as building blocks for bioactive group 11 metal complexes. Chemistry - A European Journal, 24 (45), 11693-11702.

Johnson, A., & Gimeno, M.C. (2017). Synthesis of propargyl-functionalized NHC gold complexes. Organometallics, 36 (7), 1278-1286.

Smirnova, E.S., Munoz Molina, J.M., Johnson, A., Bandeira, N.A.G., Bo, C., & Echavarren, A.M. (2016). ChemInform Abstract: Polynuclear Gold [AuI]4, [AuI]8, and Bimetallic [AuI4AgI] Complexes: C—H Functionalization of Carbonyl Compounds and Homogeneous Carbonylation of Amines. ChemInform, 47 (43).

Johnson, A., & Gimeno, M.C. (2016). An efficient and sustainable synthesis of NHC gold complexes. Chemical communications (Cambridge, England), 52 (62), 9664-9667.

Smirnova, E.S., Muñoz Molina, J.M., Johnson, A., Bandeira, N.A.G., Bo, C., & Echavarren, A.M. (2016). Polynuclear Gold [AuI]4, [AuI]8, and Bimetallic [AuI 4AgI] Complexes: C−H Functionalization of Carbonyl Compounds and Homogeneous Carbonylation of Amines. Angewandte Chemie, 128 (26), 7613-7617.

Smirnova, E.S., Muñoz Molina, J.M., Johnson, A., Bandeira, N.A.G., Bo, C., & Echavarren, A.M. (2016). Polynuclear Gold [Au(I) ]4 , [Au(I) ]8 , and Bimetallic [Au(I) 4 Ag(I) ] Complexes: C-H Functionalization of Carbonyl Compounds and Homogeneous Carbonylation of Amines. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl, 55 (26), 7487-7491.

Johnson, A., Laguna, A., & Gimeno, M.C. (2014). Axially chiral allenyl gold complexes. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 136 (37), 12812-12815.

Martín-Lasanta, A., Álvarez de Cienfuegos, L., Johnson, A., Miguel, D., Mota, A.J., Orte, A., ... Cuerva, J.M. (n.d.). Novel ortho-OPE metallofoldamers: binding-induced folding promoted by nucleating Ag(i)–alkyne interactions. Chem. Sci, 5 (12), 4582-4591.

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