Our study on concomittant polymorphism selected for cover page in June 2018 edition of Acta Crystallographica, Section C

Polymorphism is a well-known phenomenon and represents the ability of a solid material to exist in more than one form. It is not only important from the academic point of view but has also many practical applications or consequences. A typical example is the pharmaceutical industry where many drugs receive regulatory approval for only one polymorphic form. However, there are known examples where the patent was later obtained also for different form.

Sometimes the growth rates of polymorphic forms are sufficiently similar that such crystals coexist. In such case we call them concomitant polymorphs.

Concomitant polymorphism is rarely mentioned for ruthenium complexes and we have previously never observed it in any of previously synthesized compounds in our lab. However, during her Ph.D. study, Katja Traven has prepared several organometallic ruthenium(II) complexes, among other also with dimethyl 6-(pyridine-2-yl)pyridine-3,4-dicarboxylate ligand. In the latter system two types of crystals were observed in the reaction mixture and studied in cooperation with the Slovak group led by Prof. J. Kozisek. Crystal structures of both polymeric forms have shown that the most bond lengths are approximately the same but differences in the orientaion of methoxycarbonyl groups and p-cymene were found. These concomitant polymorphs also differ in melting point temperatures for cca. 10 °C.

Cover page of paper: K. Traven, I. Turel*, J. Koziskova, L. Bučinský, J. Kozisek*, Concomitant Polymorphism in Organometallic Ruthenium(II) Complex with N,N-donor Ligand, Acta Crystallogr. C74, 683-689 (2018).


Spring in Ru lab

Several interesting and important things have happened in our group during spring 2018.
During his short stay at our Faculty, Prof. Bostjan Kobe has shortly visited our labs. Bostjan and Iztok were classmates during their study of chemistry at the Univerity of Ljubljana. Bostjan later went to University of Texas Soutwestern America Medical Center at Dallas, USA, for his Ph.D. studies under the supervision of Nobel prize winner Johann Deisenhofer and he is now Professor of Structural Biology at the University of Queensland in Australia.
It is always nice to meet old friends to talk about the past, present and also future!

Professor Roger Alberto from the University of Zürich, Switzerland has visited our labs in May and held a lecture titled »Bioorganometallic Technetium and Rhenium Chemistry: Theranostics, Fundamentals and Applications« for the students of the FKKT doctoral study programme. Complexes of the radioactive element technetium are well established in diagnostic nuclear medicine, and various complexes of the gamma-emitting nuclide 99mTc are routinely used for organ imaging (heart, brain, etc). Professor Alberto was involved in the discovery of compound MIP 1405 which is on a good way to enter clinical use soon.

In spring 2018 two members of the group have finished their doctoral study. The Turel group thanks and congratulates to Matija Uršič on his successful defence of PhD thesis entitled »Synthesis and characterisation of ruthenium complexes with phosphine ligands« and to Katja Traven (nee Krančan) on her successful defence of PhD thesis with the title »Novel ruthenium coordination compounds with N,N-, N,O- and N,N,N-donor ligands«. We wish both of them all the best and continued success with new challenges.

Viva Voce examination at Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

In mid March Prof. I. Turel was invited to act as external reviewer of Ph.D. thesis and Viva Voce examiner at Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). In this thesis D. Keogan has studied metallohydroxamates as novel anti-bacterial and anti-leishmanial agents under supervision of Dr. D. Griffith (Department of Pharmaceutical & Medicinal Chemistry).
It was a very nice experience and also a possibility to compare Ph.D. procedures at various institutions. Prof. Turel has up to now acted as external reviewer at academic institutions in Slovenia and abroad: Spain (University of Granada); Serbia (University of Belgrade); Italy (University of Cagliari) and Canada (University of British Columbia, Vancouver).
Photo shows: D. Keogan, D. Griffith, Prof. I. Turel and Prof. Emeritus K. Nolan (from left to right) at lunch after examination.

Chapter in book »Ruthenium Complexes: Photochemical and Biomedical Applications«

A book entitled »Ruthenium Complexes: Photochemical and Biomedical Applications« (ISBN: 978-3-527-33957-0) was recently published by Wiley-VCH (Weinheim). The book consists of 15 chapters (344 pages). The content of book is covering many interesting properties of this popular element and spans from coordination chemisty of ruthenium to photochemical and photophysical properties of its compounds. The book mainly covers the application of ruthenium complexes in medicine (anticancer and other potential ruthenium drugs; photodynamic therapy; binding to DNA; diagnostics; etc.). Few chapters are also dedicated to applications of ruthenium complexes in artifical photosynthesis, production of hydrogen and oxidation of water. One of the chapters (»Biological Activity of Ruthenium Complexes With Quinoline Antibacterial and Antimalarial Drugs«) was written by senior group members assist. prof. Jakob Kljun and prof. Iztok Turel.

More information about the book is available at the webpage of the Publisher.

Visit by prof. Lee Cronin

5976-1Professor Lee Cronin from the University of Glasgow, UK has visited our labs in May and held a lecture ‘Towards a general theory of chemical evolution’ for the students of the FKKT doctoral study programme. The national newspaper Delo has at this occasion published an interview with prof. Cronin. You can read it (in Slovenian) here.



Prolific 2017 for former postdoc Božidar

During his one-year postdoc in our labs Božidar Čobeljić introduced Schiff base ligands to our research group. Fruitful cooperation with Belgrade group in last years results in several recent papers which focus on the systemic synthesis and studies of heterocyclic Schiff base ligands of Girard’s reagents and their 3d metal complexes. Further papers are in preparation.

  1. Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry (IF 2016 = 3.348): Synthesis, characterization and crystal structures of two pentagonal-bipyramidal Fe(III) complexes with dihydrazone of 2,6-diacetylpyridine and Girard’s T reagent. Anticancer properties of various metal complexes of the same ligand.bož
  2. Polyhedron (IF 2016 = 1.926): Synthesis, crystal structure, magnetic properties and DFT study of dinuclear Ni(II) complex with the condensation product of 2-quinolinecarboxaldehyde and Girard’s T reagent
  3. Journal of Coordination Chemistry (IF 2016 = 1.795): Synthesis, crystal structures and antimicrobial activity of azido and isocyanato Zn(II) complexes with the condensation product of 2-quinolinecarboxaldehyde and Girard’s T reagent

Congratulations to Božidar for the great publications and a big ‘’thank you’’ to all other co-authors for all the hard work.

New article in RSC journal Inorganic Chemistry Frontiers

Check out the newest publication of the Turel group in the RSC journal Inorganic Chemistry Frontiers (IF 2016 = 4.036) in collaboration with our Serbian colleagues from Kragujevac, Niš and Belgrade:

A new class of platinum(II) complexes with the phosphine ligand pta which show potent anticancer activity


This paper is the result of the research visit of postdoc Marija D. Živković in our labs in 2014/2015 and describes the synthesis, physico-chemical characterization and biological evaluation of two classes of platinum(II) complexes with halogen-substituted hydroxyquinoline ligands (hq) with the general formula [Pt(hq)(X)Cl] where X = S-dmso, pta. Congratulations to Marija for the great publication and to all other co-authors.

A visit from Serbia

Within the bilateral Slovenian-Serbian project our lab welcomed a visit from member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts prof. Miloš Djuran and former postdoc dr. Marija Živković. The meeting was instrumental in working out the final details of the manuscript revision of our upcoming article (stay tuned for news!). Prof. Djuran also had a lively discussion with the junior team members which was followed by an excursion to the Caves of Škocjan and a work lunch discussing future collaborations.

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It’s been a record year! 2016 – A year in retrospect.

Although data will still be coming in over the next few months we have made a step farther both quality- and quantity-wise.

Wh have reached a record number of publications for the Turel group this year with a full dozen of new scientific papers in reputable journals such as Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, Dalton Transactions, Journal of Computational Chemistry and RSC Advances. As of April 4th we have also reported a record yearly number of citations (423).

Here are the highlights of 2016:

  • 12 scientific papers,
  • 1 book chapter (still upcoming, the same one as in 2015 it has fallen into a publishing limbo),
  • 9 conference abstracts/posters,
  • 4 invited lectures (Iztok Turel: 53rd Meeting of the Serbian chemical society, University of Kragujevac, Serbia; 3rd International symposium on functional metal complexes that bind to biomolecules, Mallorca, Spain; 3rd International conference on herbal and synthetic drug studies, Pune, India, Jakob Kljun: 53rd Meeting of the Serbian chemical society, University of Kragujevac, Serbia),
  • 4 BSc theses (Primož Tič, Nina Podjed, Simona Gričar, Tomaž Zornik), 2 MSc theses (Veronika Rovanšek, Monika Uzelac), 1 PhD thesis (dr. Sara Seršen),
  • Dr. Iztok Turel was awarded the Zois certificate of recognition for important achievements in the field of chemistry. It is one of the Highest State Awards in the Field of Scientific-Research and Science Development Activities (Zois awards and recognitions, the Ambassador of Science Awards of the Republic of Slovenia and Puh awards). The Ph.D. thesis of our former member dr. Sara Seršen was awarded a prize by Krka Pharmaceutical Factory (Novo mesto, Slovenia) for special research achievements.

We are also at a record-high number of group members with the appointment of researcher Jakob Kljun to a permanent position of assistant/researcher (80/20), 1 guest post-doc researcher from Belgrade, Serbia, 3 PhD students, 4 MSc students, 1 Erasmus BSc student from Lisbon, Portugal and another 2 Slovenian BSc students totalling 13 group members.


Ru-team 2017 under blossoming Japanese cherry trees in front of the FKKT building

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Number of publications

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Number of citations

EurJIC’s Cluster Issue on Metal Anticancer Complexes with our Microreview

We are pleased to announce that EurJIC’s Cluster Issue on “Metal Anticancer Complexes – Activity, Mechanism of Action and Future Perspectives” issue 12/2017, has just gone online! Guest edited by Professors Enzo Alessio and Zijian Guo, the cluster issue provides readers with a great collection of papers highlighting the stimulating developments in the field of metal anticancer complexes.


Our contribution to this special issue is a microreview entitled:

‘β-Diketones as scaffolds for anticancer drug design. From organic building blocks to natural products and metallodrug components.’

Check it out at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ejic.201601314/full