Joshua William Dexter

Chemistry Student, Durham University
  • Durham University
  • People
  • United Kingdom

About Joshua William Dexter

About Me

Currently about halfway through my Chemistry MChem at Durham University (graduate 2023) and I still love every second of it. I am conducting research into amide bond breaking and forming reactions, and similar mechanisms to try to solve fun and tricky synthetic issues (thanks to Laidlaw).

Prior to a Chemistry degree, I worked as charity fundraiser/team leader for 7 years. I have personally raised over £1mil for various charities, and have a huge amount of leadership experience (training and management).

I am super friendly, love to learn, happy teaching, and I am keen to make the most out the Laidlaw Foundation. So, feel free to get in touch about anything; whether you are looking to support, be supported, or just discuss.

Always on the lookout for good research opportunities and ideas. Main interests include synthetic peptide,and organocatalytic chemistry. Nearing the point where I will start applying for doctoral candidate positions. So, if you think you can offer or direct me to a good fit, I would be very happy to hear from you.

Laidlaw Research

My planned Laidlaw research aimed to develop a series of trans-amidation reactions using azanides (amino, R2N- anions) to cleave/trans-amidate at amide bonds. During lockdown, these reactions were independently developed elsewhere. I am happy the reactions work, even if someone else got to do the work. Feel free to compare the proposed reactions in the research proposal, published on my profile, with the article they published. [M. Fairley, Chem. Sci., 2020, 11, 6500.]

Due to Covid, the time spent familiarising myself with this very niche set of reactions afforded a sensible option with an easy transition into a literature review of novel reactions that could be used to solve the synthetic peptoid (R3N-amino acid molecules and polymers) formation issues when bulky/electron-withdrawing residuals on N are used. I had great fun trying to think my way around the problem and the lit. review was passed onto my supervisor and his team to (hopefully) produce literature worthy solutions.

Happy to discuss, share findings and collaborate. Just, get in touch.

Other Interests

I was doing outreach work with children through the university pre-Covid and I am really looking forward to being able to help out again soon. I am a huge sci-fi nerd. I also run 2 student societies and organise events, socials, talks, etc. for each. Both societies have a broad range of aims with activities that support community inclusion, safeguarding, wellbeing and harm-reduction.

Future Plans

I made the tough choice to suspend my university studies for the 2020-21 academic year as I feel ensuring access to the full MChem experience is too important to miss. I have been taking the opportunity of spare time to engage with private study and develop some peripheral skills to compliment what I learnt in the first 2 years. I will start 3rd year in October. 

My second summer with Laidlaw will now be in 2022 and I am hoping that international collaboration will be possible by then.

Seeking doctoral training or relevant internship possibilities to start summer 2023. I am very comfortable being contacted to you are welcome to get in touch, and feel free to pass my details on.

Research Interests

- Innovation of synthetic mechanisms.

- Peptides and peptidomimetics.

- Organocatalysis.

I am a/an:

Undergraduate Scholar

Area of Expertise

Leadership Science

Research Topic



Durham University

Intro Content

Proposal Chemistry

Research Proposal: Transamination of Amides Using Azanides

My proposal is to discover under what reaction conditions azanides (amino anions) can be used to cleave and transaminate amides, i.e. to cleave the amide bond and replace the amine part with a different amine residue.

Influencer Of


Channels contributed to:

STEM Research

Rooms participated in:

Durham University