Jim Thomas

Professor of Bioinorganic Chemistry – Department of Chemistry

Prof. Jim Thomas was inspired by his father to become a scientist but, after not achieving the best degree in Chemistry at Reading, he opted to teach in the UK before going to Western Kenya with Voluntary Services Overseas, where he taught in a rural high school for several years. This lent him a great deal of perspective and led him to revisit his childhood ambition of becoming a research scientist, commencing a PhD as a mature student. While his late entry into an academic career would normally mean that path was closed, he continued to pursue it, despite being offered a job in industry with a top company. He achieved a high profile Postdoc position with a Nobel prize winner in France but soon returned to the UK, to Sheffield, where he began to apply for fellowships. He was awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship but also chose to take on a relatively large teaching timetable to show his commitment to the department and also to get to know students with whom he might potentially collaborate in the future. He has also engaged in science communication work, which has honed his skills in terms of writing proposals and technical papers and generally being able to write in a more interesting way.

Click here for a full staff profile, including research interests, teaching commitments and publication list.

Even if you don't feel confident, you really have to take it on the chin and apply for as many places as you can… you just have to carry on going and hope for the best and, as long as you get the one positive outcome, that's all that matters.

Career Timeline

1982

BSc (Hons) Chemistry, University of Reading

1983

PGCE in Physical Science, Worcester College of HE

1983–1985

Teacher of Chemistry, Heathfield High School, Sandwell

1986–1988

Head of Physical Science, rural Kenyan High School (VSO contract)

1988–1989

GRSC (Part II) in Chemistry, Staffordshire Polytechnic

1989–1993

PhD in Coordination Chemistry, University of Birmingham

1992

First author paper

THOMAS JA, JONES CJ, MCCLEVERTY JA, COLLISON D, MABBS FE, HARDING CJ & HUTCHINGS MG (1992) AN EPR, MAGNETIC AND ELECTROCHEMICAL STUDY OF ELECTRON EXCHANGE AND INTERMETALLIC INTERACTION THROUGH POLYENE BRIDGES. J CHEM SOC CHEM COMM(24), 1796-1798.

1993–1994

Royal Society European Fellowship with Prof. J.M. Lehn, Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France

1993

First author paper

“Electron exchange in bimetallic polyene bridged complexes,” J. A. Thomas, C. J. Jones, J. A. McCleverty, T. Hamor, C. J. Harding, Mol. Crys. Liq. Cryst., 1993, 234, 103 -108!993:

1993

First author paper

THOMAS JA & HAMOR TA (1993) STRUCTURE OF ORTHORHOMBIC TRIPHENYLPHOSPHINE OXIDE – A REDETERMINATION AT ROOM-TEMPERATURE. ACTA CRYSTALLOGR C, 49, 355-357.

1994–1995

Research Associate with Prof. Chris Hunter, University of Sheffield

1995–1997

Introductory Inorganic Chemistry (foundation)

1995–1998

Member of staff/student committee, University of Sheffield

1995–2004

Royal Society University Research Fellow, University of Sheffield

1995

First author paper

THOMAS JA, JONES CJ, MCCLEVERTY JA, BRUCE DW & HUTCHINGS MG (1995) THE SYNTHESES OF SOME PARAMAGNETIC STILBAZOLE COMPLEXES AND AN EVALUATION OF THEIR REDOX AND MESOGENIC PROPERTIES. POLYHEDRON, 14(17-18), 2499-2504.

1996

First author paper

Thomas JA, Wlodarczyk A, Jones CJ, McCleverty JA & Hutchings MG (1996) Molecular wires: An electrochemical study of metal-metal interactions through chains of four carbon atoms (vol 15, pg 1409, 1996). POLYHEDRON, 15(12), 2103-2103.

1996

First author paper

“Solvatochromism of mono- and bidimolybdenum coordination complexes dipyridyloctatetraene,” J. A. Thomas, M. G. Hutchings, C. J. Jones, J. A. McCleverty, Inorg. Chem., 1996, 35, 289.

1997–present

Referee for BBSRC and EPSRC

1997–2001

Frontiers in Inorganic Chemistry (3rd year)

1997

Other author paper

Warnmark K, Heyke O, Thomas JA, Baxter PNW & Lehn JM (1997) Stereoisomerically controlled inorganic architectures: Synthesis of extended enantio- and diastereomerically pure ruthenium molecular wires and disks from enantiopure building blocks.. ABSTR PAP AM CHEM S, 213, 591-INOR.

1998–2002

Chair of staff/student committee, University of Sheffield

1998–2006

Transition Metal Chemistry (2nd year)

1998

Other author paper

“A highly coupled RuIII/RuII system incorporating sulphur donor ligands,” S. Roche, L. J. Yellowlees, J A Thomas, Chem. Commun., 1998, 1429.

1998

First author paper

Thomas J (1998) Gripping chemistry. NEW SCIENTIST, 160(2163), 36-39.

1999–present

Member of EPSRC Research College

1999

British Association Media Fellow at New Scientist news-desk

2000–2007

Member of The Royal Society Science in Society Committee

2000

First author paper

Thomas J (2000) Atomic abacus. New Scientist, 165(2225), 40-43.

2000

Other author paper

“Controlling Substitution Chemistry in Ruthenium (II) Systems – Synthesis of Heteroleptic Complexes Incorporating the [Ru([9]aneS3)]2+ metal center,” S. Roche, H. Adams, S. E. Spey, J A Thomas, Inorg. Chem., 2000, 39, 2385.

2001–2004

Royal Society School’s Partnership Grants review committee

2001

Last author paper

Metcalfe C, Webb M & Thomas JA (2002) A facile synthetic route to bimetallic ReI complexes containing two dppz DNA intercalating ligands.. Chemical communications (Cambridge, England)(18), 2026-2027.

2002–2014

Secretary of staff/student committee

2002

Other author paper

Araujo CS, Drew MGB, Felix V, Jack L, Madureira J, Newell M, Roche S, Santos TM, Thomas JA & Yellowlees L (2002) Ru-II electron transfer systems containing S-donor ligands. INORG CHEM, 41(8), 2250-2259.

2003

Second author paper

Metcalfe C & Thomas JA (2003) Kinetically inert transition metal complexes that reversibly bind to DNA. CHEM SOC REV, 32(4), 215-224.

2004–2007

Lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry, University of Sheffield

2004

Other author paper

“Switchable electron transfer processes in a mixed valence, kinetically locked, trinuclear RuII metallo-macrocycle,” N. Shan, S. Vickers, H. Adams, M. D. Ward., J. A. Thomas, Angew. Chem. Intl. Ed., 2004, 43, 3398-41.

2004

Participant in New Frontiers Symposium

2004

Last author paper

Paul J, Spey S, Adams H & Thomas JA (2004) Synthesis and structure of rhodium complexes containing extended terpyridyl ligands. INORG CHIM ACTA, 357(10), 2827-2832.

2005–2006

Inorganic Materials Chemistry (3rd year)

2005–2014

Undergraduate Admissions tutor

2005

Other author paper

“Tuning DNA binding affinities and photoredox properties of water-soluble organic dppz analogues,” T. Phillips, C. Rajput, L. Twyman, I. Haq, J. A. Thomas, Chem Commun, 2005, 4327-29.

2005–2008

Member of The Royal Society partnership in Science Grants Committee

2005

Last author paper

Adams H, Amado AM, Félix V, Mann BE, Antelo-Martinez J, Newell M, Ribeiro-Claro PJA, Spey SE & Thomas JA (2005) RuII complexes incorporating tetrathiamacrocycles: synthesis and conformational analysis.. Chemistry, 11(7), 2031-2046.

2006

Second author paper

Newell M & Thomas JA (2006) Electrochemical properties of dinuclear [Ru([n]aneS4)] complexes of 2,3-bis(2-pyridyl)pyrazine.. Dalton Trans(5), 705-709.

2006

Other author paper

“Self-assembled kinetically locked RuII-based metallomacrocyles: physical, structural, and modeling studies.” P. de Wolf, P. Waywell, M. Hanson, S. L Heath, A. J. H. M. Meijer, S. J Teat, J. A. Thomas, Chem. Eur. J., 2006, 12, 2188 – 2195.(front cover)

2007–2010

Senior lecturer, University of Sheffield

2007–present

Lectures/tutorials on various undergraduate (levels 1-4) and postgraduate modules

2007

First author paper

Thomas JA (2007) Locking self-assembly: strategies and outcomes.. Chem Soc Rev, 36(6), 856-868.

2008

Scientific Research Assessor for the Promotion Panel of Chalmers University

2008

Speaker at Royal Society and Indian National Academy of Sciences meeting

2008

Other author paper

“A dinuclear ruthenium(II) complex that functions as a label-free colorimetric sensor for DNA,” V. Gonzalez, T. Wilson, I. Kurihara, A. Imai, J. A. Thomas, J. Otsuki, Chem Commun., 2008, 168 – 170.

2008

Other author paper

Yuste C, Gomes DCD, Adams H, Thomas JA, Lloret F & Julve M (2008) Syntheses, crystal structures and magnetic properties of tricyanomethanide-containing bis(2-pyrimidylcarbonyl)amidate copper(II) complexes. POLYHEDRON, 27(12), 2577-2584.

2009–2014

Member of department’s Teaching Quality Committee

2009

Other author paper

“A Ruthenium(II) Polypyridyl Complex for Direct Imaging of DNA Structure in Living Cells.”  Martin R. Gill, Jorge Garcia-Lara, Simon J. Foster, Carl Smythe, Guiseppe Battaglia, Jim A. Thomas, Nature Chem., 1, 662-667

2009

Other author paper

Ghosh A, Mandoli A, Kumar DK, Yadav NS, Ghosh T, Jha B, Thomas JA & Das A (2009) DNA binding and cleavage properties of a newly synthesised Ru(II)-polypyridyl complex. DALTON T(42), 9312-9321.

2010

Other author paper

“Structure of the complex of [Ru(tpm)(dppz)py]2+ with a B-DNA oligonucleotide – a single-substituent binding switch for a metallo-intercalator.” Phil Waywell, Veronica Gonzalez, Martin R. Gill, Harry Adams, Anthony J. H. M. Meijer, Mike P Williamson, Jim A. Thomas, Chem. Eur. J., 2010, 16, 2407-2417 (inside cover).

2010–2014

Reader in Coordination Chemistry, University of Sheffield

2010

Second author paper

Waywell P, Thomas JA & Williamson MP (2010) Structural analysis of the binding of the diquaternary pyridophenazine derivative dqdppn to B-DNA oligonucleotides.. Org Biomol Chem, 8(3), 648-654.

2011

Other author paper

Tian XH, Gill MR, Canton I, Thomas JA & Battaglia G (2011) Live Cell Luminescence Imaging As a Function of Delivery Mechanism. CHEMBIOCHEM, 12(4), 548-551.

2012

Second author paper

Gill MR & Thomas JA (2012) Ruthenium(II) polypyridyl complexes and DNA–from structural probes to cellular imaging and therapeutics.. Chem Soc Rev, 41(8), 3179-3192.

2013

First author paper

Thomas JA (2013) Tuning electronic interactions in mixed valence ruthenium systems incorporating thiacrown ligands. Coordination Chemistry Reviews, 257(9-10), 1555-1563.

2013

Other author paper

“Targeting the endoplasmic reticulum with a membrane-interactive luminescent ruthenium(II) polypyridyl complex” Martin R Gill, Denis Ceccin, Michael G Walker, Raminder S Mulla, Guiseppe Battaglia, Carl Smythe, Jim A Thomas, Chem Sci, 2013, 4,4512-4519.

2014

Last author paper

Ahmad H, Ghosh D & Thomas JA (2014) Using ancillary ligands to tune the DNA binding properties of self-assembled luminescent metallomacrocycles.. Chem Commun (Camb), 50(29), 3859-3861.

2015

First author paper

Thomas JA (2015) Optical imaging probes for biomolecules: an introductory perspective. Chemical Society Reviews, 44(14), 4494-4500.

2015

Other author paper

Song L, Guo Y, Roebuck D, Chen C, Yang M, Yang Z, Sreedharan S, Glover C, Thomas JA, Liu D, Guo S, Chen R & Zhou D (2015) Terminal PEGylated DNA–Gold Nanoparticle Conjugates Offering High Resistance to Nuclease Degradation and Efficient Intracellular Delivery of DNA Binding Agents. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 7(33), 18707-18716.

2015–present

Professor of Bioinorganic Chemistry, University of Sheffield

2017

First author paper

Thomas JA, Saaed HK, Saeed IQ & Buurma N (2017) The structure of linkers affects the DNA binding properties of tethered dinuclear ruthenium (II) metallo-intercalator. Chemistry A European Journal.

2017

Other author paper

Homo- and heteroleptic phototoxic dinuclear metallo-intercalators based on RuII (dppn) intercalating moieties: synthesis, optical and biological studies” Hiwa K. Saeed, Paul J. Jarman, Stuart Archer, Sreejesh Sreedharan, Ibrahim Q Saeed, Luke K McKenzie, Julia A Weinstein, Niklaas J Buurma, Carl G. W. Smythe, and Jim A. Thomas,Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2017, 56, 12628-12633