W. Stephen McNeil

B.Sc. (1991) University of British Columbia
Ph.D. (1995) University of British Columbia

Contact Information

Dr. W. Stephen McNeil
Department of Chemistry
University of British Columbia Okanagan
3247 University Way, Fipke 352
Kelowna, British Columbia

Office: Fipke 352
Tel: 250.807.8751
Lab: 250.807.8775
Fax: 250.807.8005

Email: s.mcneil@ubc.ca
Teaching Web Page: http://people.ok.ubc.ca/wsmcneil/

Research Interests

There are currently two primary focuses in the McNeil research group, both based on an overall strategy that employs the rational design of coordination and organometallic complexes of first-row transition metals, and the development of structure-function relationships between the nature of the crafted ancillary ligands and the resulting chemistry of the metal compound.

Organometallic-Mediated Radical Polymerization

OMRP reactions are unusual in organometallic chemistry, in that they rely on single-electron bond homolysis reactions, rather than classical two-electron processes.  Current projects involve the synthesis and investigation of bis(ketoaminato) and bis(iminopyrrolyl) complexes of cobalt, with a primary focus on developing improved methods for controlled radical polymerization, by designing molecules that can both self-initiate and control the polymerization of functionalized alkenes such as acrylates, vinyl acetate, and acrylonitrile.

Co-C bond homolysis iminopyrrolyl complex

Coordination Complex Design for Metal-based Pharmaceuticals

In a collaborative project with Dr. Andis Klegeris, cobalt complexes are being tested using in vitro cellular assays with various cell lines to assess both their cytotoxicity and their selective potential therapeutic effects, and to correlate these effects with the designed structure of the complexes.  Compounds currently under study exhibit selective anti-tumour, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory behaviour.

ketoaminato cobalt complex     MTT asasay data

Student Training

The synthetic aspect of these projects involves both organic techniques in the preparation of ligands and ligand precursors, and air-sensitive inorganic and organometallic methods in the synthesis of transition-metal complexes. Characterization involves a range of spectroscopic and physical methods, including multinuclear, variable-temperature, and paramagnetic NMR, IR, UV-Vis, MS, magnetic susceptibility, cyclic voltammetry, and X-ray crystallography. Gel permeation chromatography is used to characterize polymers. The integrated nature of these studies provides students with hands-on experience in a variety of physical and spectroscopic techniques, and students are encouraged to take an active role in developing and publishing their own research.

WSM word cloud

If you are interested in coordination chemistry research, and wish to explore opportunities for graduate or undergraduate research positions in the McNeil Group, please contact Dr. McNeil at s.mcneil@ubc.ca.  Undergraduates should be aware of the deadlines for both the Barber School Undergraduate Research and NSERC Undergraduate Summer Research Awards (typically late January).

Recent publications

  • J. M. Madeira, N. Beloukhina, K. Boudreau, T. A. Boettcher, L. Gurley, D. G. Walker, W. S. McNeil, A. Klegeris. “Cobalt(II) β-ketoaminato complexes as novel inhibitors of neuroinflammation” Eur. J. Pharmacol. 2012, 676, 81-88.
  • R. A. Baillie, R. W. Y. Man, J. Y. K. Tsang, M. V. Shree, C. Chow, M. E. Thibault, B. O. Patrick, W. S. McNeil, and P. Legzdins.  “Intermolecular C-H Activations of Hydrocarbons Initiated by Cp*M(NO)(CH2CMe3)(η3-CH2CHCHPh) Complexes [M = Mo, W]”  Organometallics 2011, 30, 6201-6217.
  • L. Gurley, N. Beloukhina, K. Boudreau, A. Klegeris, W. S. McNeil. “The Synthesis and Characterization of a Series of Cobalt(II) β-Ketoaminato Complexes and Their Cytotoxic Activity Towards Human Tumor Cell Lines” J. Inorg. Biochem. 2011, 105, 858-866.
  • T. Tran, C. Chow, A. C. Zimmerman, M. E. Thibault, B. O. Patrick, W. S. McNeil, P. Legzdins. “Differing Reactions of Functionalized Hydrocarbons with Cp*M(NO)(alkyl)(η3-allyl) Complexes of Molybdenum and Tungsten”  Organometallics 2011, 30, 738-751.
  • A. E. Devantier, S. J. Murch, W. S. McNeil.  “Exploration and characterisation of novel bronze patinas derived from simple coordination complexes”  Dalton Trans. 2011, 40, 614-622.
  • A. S. Abd-El-Aziz, P. O. Shipman, B. N. Boden, W. S. McNeil.  “Synthetic Methodologies and Properties of Organometallic and Coordination Macromolecules”  Prog. Polym. Sci. 2010, 35, 714-836.
  • R. K. Sherwood, C. L. Kent, B. O. Patrick, W. S. McNeil.  “Controlled Radical Polymerisation of Methyl Acrylate Initiated by a Well-Defined Cobalt Alkyl Complex”  Chemical Commun. 2010, 46, 2456-2458.
  • S. P. Semproni, W. S. McNeil, R. A. Baillie, B. O. Patrick, C. F. Campana, P. Legzdins.  “Ground-state Electronic Asymmetry in Cp*W(NO)(η1-isonitrile)2 Complexes”  Organometallics 2010, 29, 867-875.
  • K. C. D. Robson, C. L. Kent, C. D. Phillips, W. S. McNeil.  “Synthesis and Characterisation of Bis(β-ketoaminato) Complexes of Cobalt(II) Dalton Trans. 2010, 39, 2573-2578.
  • K. M. Smith, W. S. McNeil, A. S. Abd-El-Aziz.  “Organometallic-Mediated Radical Polymerization: Developing Well-Defined Complexes for Reversible Transition Metal–Alkyl Bond Homolysis”  Macromolec. Chem. Phys. 2010, 211, 10-16.
  • K. S. Santhosh-Kumar, Y. Li, Y. Gnanou, U. Baisch, Y. Champouret, R. Poli, K. C. D. Robson, W. S. McNeil.  “Electronic and Steric Ligand Effects in the Radical Polymerization of Vinyl Acetate Mediated by β-Ketoiminate Complexes of Cobalt(II)”  Chem. Asian J. 2009, 4, 1257-1265.

Last reviewed shim6/30/2014 8:43:09 AM

W. Stephen McNeil 

a cobalt complex

Violet Solution

WSM bronzes