David Robinson

David Robinson

Lecturer/Senior Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Staff Group(s)
Chemistry and Forensic Science


Dr. Robinson teaches physical chemistry to all levels of undergraduate chemistry.

He is also involved in research using computational and theoretical chemistry and belongs to the Biomedical Sciences Research Centre, REF UoA A03.

Career overview

Dr. Robinson obtained a first class MChem (Hons.) degree in Chemistry from the University of Manchester in 2004. He was awarded his PhD in 2007 under the supervision of Dr. Joe McDouall from the same University, for work on development and application of multireference perturbation theory to larger molecules than was previously possible.

In 2007, Dr. Robinson started an EPSRC-funded postdoctoral position at the University of Nottingham under the supervision of Prof. Jonathan Hirst, Dr. Nick Besley and Prof. Paul O’Shea. In 2010, Dr. Robinson was a Teaching Fellow in Physical Chemistry for six months, before being awarded a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship (36 months) to study the computation of fluorescent molecular probes in lipid membrane environments. At the end of his fellowship, Dr. Robinson took up a position of Senior Fellow in Computational Chemistry, involving all aspects of teaching delivery and research supervision of PhD students. In late 2016, Dr. Robinson was appointed Lecturer in Physical Chemistry at Nottingham Trent University, which he took up in January 2017.

Research areas

All research within the Robinson Group is computational. Areas of current research are:

  • Development of mixed-resolution MD approaches to lipid membranes
  • Characterisation of the electronically excited states of gas-phase and condensed phase molecules, including contemporary and novel membrane probes (e.g. BODIPY). Methods used include CASSCF, CASPT2 and TDDFT. We collaborate with several groups, including N. Boens (Leuven, Belgium) and A. Orte (Granada, Spain)
  • Characterisation of polyoxometallate (POM) electronic structures. This work is in collaboration with G. Newton (Nottingham), J. D. Hirst (Nottingham) and J. J. Carbo (URV, Spain)
  • Organic reaction mechanisms

Further details can be found at the Robinson Group Website (https://robinsontheorygroup.wordpress.com/ )

PhD vacancies

There are positions available within the Robinson Group in the following areas:

  • Molecular simulation of membrane raft domains - we're looking the atomistic-level molecular dynamics simulations of membrane raft domains, which are lipid bilayers enriched in cholesterol and sphingolipids. Such regions are thought to mediate cell-signalling mechanisms and so a molecular-level understanding of the interactions between the membrane and G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) will help us determine where defects in cell signalling may occur.
  • High-level theory applied to electronically excited states - we are interested in molecules which absorb or emit electromagnetic radiation in the UV / visible region of the spectrum for a wide variety of applications, e.g. as a molecular probe, dye-sensitised solar cells, molecular switches etc.

The projects are currently for wide in their scope, so there is room for tailoring the project(s) dependent upon your previous experience. Please contact me for more information. Note that there is no guarantee of funding, as the PhD positions are awarded after a competitive process. Details on applying for such PhD positions can be found at: https://www.ntu.ac.uk/research/research-degrees-at-ntu/how-to-apply

External activity

Dr. Robinson is currently a reviewer for the following journals:

  • Nature Chemistry
  • Journal of Physical Chemistry
  • Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation
  • Journal of Molecular Graphics and Modelling
  • Chemical Physics

Dr. Robinson is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Sponsors and collaborators


Recent publications from the group (a full listing can be found at: https://robinsontheorygroup.wordpress.com/publications/ )

  • H. R. Sharpe, A. M. Geer, L. J. Taylor, B. M. Gridley, T. J. Blundell, A. J. Blake, E. S. Davies, W. Lewis, J. McMaster, D. Robinson and D. L. Kays, “Selective Reduction and Homologation of Carbon Monoxide by Organometallic Iron Complexes”, Nature Comms20189, 3757. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-06242-w
  • D. Robinson, “Comparison of the Transition Dipole Moments Calculated by TDDFT with High Level Wavefunction Theory”, J. Chem. Theory Comput. 201814, 5303-5309. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jctc.8b00335
  • E. K. Rusbridge, Y. Peng, A. K. Powell, D. Robinson and A. J. Fitzpatrick, “An Octahedral Tetrachlorido Fe(II) Complex with Aminopyrazinium Ligands from a Serendipitous Redox Synthesis Exhibiting Magnetic Exchange Through Non-Covalent 3-D Architectures”, Dalton Trans. 201847, 7644-7648. DOI: 10.1039/C8DT01401A
  • C. Ripoll, C. Cheng, E. Garcia-Fernandez, J. Li, A. Orte, H. Do, L. Jiao, D. Robinson, L. Crovetto, J. A. Gonzalez-Vera, E. M. Talavera, J. M. Alverez-Pez, N. Boens and M. J. Ruedas-Rama, “Synthesis and Spectroscopy of Benzylamine-Substituted BODIPYs for Bioimaging”, Eur. J. Org. Chem. 2018, 2561-2571. DOI: 10.1002/ejoc.201800083
  • D. J. Shaw, R. E. Hill, N. Simpson, F. S. Husseini, K. Robb, G. M. Greetham, M. Towrie, A. W. Parker, D. Robinson, J. D. Hirst, P. A. Hoskisson and N. T. Hunt, “Examining the Role of Protein Structural Dynamics in Drug Resistance in Mycobacterium Tubercolosis”, Chem. Sci. 20178, 8384-8399. DOI: 10.1039/C7SC03336B
  • D. Willcox, R. Nouch, A. Kingsbury, D. Robinson, J. V. Carey, S. Brough and S. Woodward, “Kinetic Analysis of Copper(I)/Feringa-Phosphoramidite Catalysed AlEt3 1,4-Addition to Cyclohex-2-en-1-one”, ACS Catal. 20177, 6901-6908. DOI: 10.1021/acscatal.7b02198 ACS Editor’s Choice Article
  • S. Fujimoto, J. M. Cameron, R. -J. Wei, K. Kastner, D. Robinson, V. Sans, G. N. Newton and H. Oshio, “A Simple Approach to the Visible Light Photoactivation of Molecular Metal Oxides”, Inorg. Chem. 201756, 12169–12177. DOI: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.7b01499
  • R. -J. Wei, T. Shiga, G. N. Newton, D. Robinson, S. Takeda and H. Oshio, “A Cyanide-bridged Magnetically-switchable Cage with Encapsulated Water Molecules”, Inorg. Chem. 201655, 12114-12117.  DOI: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.6b02306
  • J. M. Cameron, S. Fujimoto, K. Kastner, R. -J. Wei, D. Robinson, V. Sans, G. N. Newton and H. Oshio, “Orbital Engineering: Photoactivation of an Organofunctionalized Polyoxotungstate”, Chem. Eur. J. 201723, 47-50. DOI: 10.1002/chem.201605021
  • F. Husseini, D. Robinson, N. T. Hunt, A. W. Parker and J. D. Hirst, “Computing Infrared Spectra of Proteins Using the Exciton Model”, J. Comput. Chem. 201738, 1362-1375. DOI: 10.1002/jcc.24674
  • C.  Hurd, N. A. Besley and D. Robinson, “A QM/MM Study of the Nature of the Entatic State in Plastocyanin”, J. Comput. Chem. 201738, 1431-1437. DOI: 10.1002/jcc.24666

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