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Dr Anna Wu

Lecturer in Bio-Organic Chemistry

Faculty/Dept/School School of Chemistry and Bioscience
(Faculty of Life Sciences)


Dr. Na (also Anna) Wu has embarked on an international journey to pursue her research career. She studied organic synthesis first at the Shann’xi Normal University (BS in Chemistry) and then at Peking University (2006-2010, MS & Ph.D. in Synthesis & Catalysis, emphasizing the use of Pauson-Khand reaction (PKR) in the total synthesis of (±)-Pentalenolactone-a Methyl Ester) with Prof. Zhen Yang, formally graduating in June 2012. Anna was a visiting researcher at Durham University from 2010-11, hosted by Prof Todd Marder where she studied palladium-thiourea catalyzed enyne domino reactions. This was followed by a postdoctoral research assistant position with Prof. Simon Woodward at University of Nottingham in 2013, where she studied the trichloromethide addition mechanism. She held the Research Fellowship at Guangxi Normal University in 2015. In 2018, Anna was awarded the prestigious Royal Society Newton International Research Fellowship to work at the University of Oxford under the supervision of Prof. Edward Anderson. Anna came to Durham University in June 2018 to continue the fellowship under the supervision of Prof. Andy Whiting. In 2020, she takes up the position of Lecturer in Bioorganic Chemistry at the University of Bradford, which allows her to start an independent research on organic synthesis and catalysis. 

Dr. Wu is the recipient of national and international awards and research grants: UK-China joint training doctoral students scholarship awarded by CSC (Chinese Scholarship Council), 2010-2011, Guangxi Province Key Laboratory grant, 2014-2017, Research Grant awarded by National Nature Science Foundation of China, 2015-2018, Young Investigator Research Grant awarded by Guangxi Provincial Nature Science Foundation, 2015-2017, Research Grant from Peking University Shenzhen graduate school, 2016, Newton International Research Fellowship, awarded by the UK Royal Society, Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Seal of Excellence, awarded by European Commission, 2018. She is also a member of the RSC. 

For full publications, see


To develop an easy-to-handle, ready-to-scale-up method that would be attractive in industry to access diversified ynamides, via copper-free Sonogashira coupling reaction in water. The currently environmentally-friendly simple route allows for large scale preparation of ynamides, and further, providing a practical perspective on the de novo synthesis of complex natural product-based ynamides.

To synthesize polyenes that are linked with electron-donors and acceptors as potential energy storage materials and near-infrared luminescience. 

Catalyst free one-pot esterification and amidation. 

Palladium-catalysed reductive Heck cycloisomerisation of en-ynamides and the mechanistic study.



Teaching highlights

carbene, nitrene, radicals, photosynthesis, Hammett plots, kinetic isotope effect, aromatic chemistry, analysis and synthesis of medium-size rings 

Professional activities

  • 01-JAN-10: Durham University - visiting PhD
  • 01-JAN-12: Peking University - PhD
  • 01-JAN-08: Peking University - Msc.
  • 01-JAN-06: Shann'xi Normal University - Bachelor
  • 06-FEB-20: University of Bradford - Lecturer in Bio-Organic Chemistry
  • 04-JUN-18: Durham University - Newton International Fellow
  • 15-JAN-18: University of Oxford - Newton International Fellow
  • 01-JAN-15: Guangxi Normal University - Research Fellow
  • 03-JAN-13: University of Nottingham - Postdoctoral Research Assistant
  • 14-MAR-14: Guangxi Normal University - Teaching Fellow
  • Royal Society of Chemistry, member
  • Royal Society, Newton International Fellow alumni
  • 01-JAN-19: ‘Light of Spring’ Short-Term Residence Research Travel Grant
  • 01-JAN-19: Summer Bursary Studentship
  • 01-JAN-19: Ring-Fenced Carbon Management Budget
  • 01-JAN-18: Interdisciplinary Small Grant
  • 01-JAN-18: Travel Grant
  • 01-JAN-18: Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Seal of Excellence
  • 01-JAN-18: Newton International Fellowship
  • 01-JAN-16: visiting research grant
  • 01-JAN-15: Undergraduates Innovation Studentship
  • 01-JAN-15: Young Investigator Research Grant
  • 01-JAN-15: Young Investigator Research Grant
  • 01-JAN-14: Research Grant
  • 01-JAN-15: National Research Grant
  • 01-JAN-14: Dean Grant
  • 01-JAN-11: 3rd prize in new energy and low-carbon economy PhD forum
  • 01-JAN-10: Research Honorable Mention for The Synthetic Study of Natural Bioactive Product Cortistatin A
  • 01-JAN-10: UK-China joint PhD scholarship
  • 01-JAN-08: Ph.D. national scholarship
  • 01-JAN-06: Postgraduate national scholarship


Peer Reviewed Journal
TitleSynthesis of Orthogonal Push-Pull Chromophores via Click Reaction of Arylynamines (2022)
AuthorsShuangping Huang, Jing Ma, Yikun Yi, Mingtao Li, Ping Cai and Na Wu*
JournalOrg Biomol Chem
TitleSynthesis of Sulfonamide-Based Ynamides and Ynamines in Water. (2021)
AuthorsZhao L;Yang H;Li R;Tao Y;Guo XF;Anderson EA;Whiting A;Wu N;
JournalJournal of Organic Chemistry
TitleSynthesis of Sulfonamide-Based Ynamides and Ynamines in Water (2021)
AuthorsLei Zhao, Hongyi Yang, Ruikun Li, Ye Tao, Xiao-Feng Guo, Edward A. Anderson, Andy Whiting and Na Wu*
JournalJournal of Organic Chemistry
TitlePalladium-catalysed ligand-free reductive Heck cycloisomerisation of 1,6-en-α-chloro-enamides (2019)
AuthorsHou, Y; Ma, J; Yang, H; Anderson, EA; Whiting, A; Wu Na
JournalChemical Communications (Cambridge, England)
TitleA concise and straightforward approach to total synthesis of (+)-Strictifolione and formal synthesis of Cryptofolione via a unified strategy (2019)
AuthorsLi, X; Wang, G; Zhang, Z; Wu, Na; Yang, Q; Huang, S; Wang, X
JournalSynthetic Communications
TitleDesigning anticancer copper(II) complexes by optimizing 2-pyridine-thiosemicarazone ligands (2018)
AuthorsDeng, J; Yu, P; Zhang, Z; Wang, J; Cai, J; Wu, Na; Sun, W; Liang, H; Yang, F
JournalEuropean Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
TitleApplication of dehydroabietic acid in palladium-catalysed enyne cycloisomerisation (2017)
AuthorsWu, N; Li, R; Cui, F; Pan, Y
JournalAdvanced Synthesis and Catalysis
TitleTfOH-Catalyzed Reaction of Bispropargyl Alcohols with 1,3-Dicarbonyl Compounds (2016)
AuthorsTeng, Q; Mo, S; Pan, J; Wu, Na; Wang, H; Pan Y
TitleA nordehydroabietyl amide-containing chiral diene for rhodium-catalysed asymmetric arylation to nitroolefins (2016)
AuthorsLi, R; Wen, Z; Wu, Na
JournalOrganic and Biomolecular Chemistry
TitleAtom-economical chemoselective synthesis of furocoumarins via cascade palladium catalyzed oxidative aloxylation of 4-oxohydrocoumarins and alkenes (2015)
AuthorsTan, X; Zhao, H; Pan, Y; Wu, Na; Wang, H; Chen, Z
JournalRSC Advances
Title1,4-addition of TMSCCI3 to nitroalkenes: Efficient reaction conditions and mechanistic understanding (2014)
AuthorsWu, Na; Wahl, B; Woodward, S; Lewis, W
JournalChemistry - A European Journal
TitleOne-pot stepwise approach to β-enaminoketoesters through "masked" 1,3-aza-dipoles (2014)
AuthorsYan ZM;Wu N;Liang D;Wang HS;Pan YM;
JournalOrganic Letters
TitleReverse regioselectivity in the palladium(II) thiourea catalyzed intermolecular Pauson-Khand reaction. (2013)
AuthorsWu N;Deng L;Liu L;Liu Q;Li C;Yang Z;
JournalChemistry - An Asian Journal
TitlePalladium(II)-catalysed tandem cyclisation of electron-deficient aromatic enynes. (2012)
AuthorsWu N;Messinis A;Batsanov AS;Yang Z;Whiting A;Marder TB;
JournalChemical Communications
TitleAn irreversible phase transition in 1-n-butylindeno[2,1-c]pyran-3,9-dione. (2012)
AuthorsBatsanov AS;Howard JA;Wu N;Yang Z;Marder TB;
JournalActa Crystallographica Section C: Crystal Structure Communications
TitleTotal synthesis of (±)-pentalenolactone A methyl ester. (2012)
AuthorsLiu Q;Yue G;Wu N;Lin G;Li Y;Quan J;Li CC;Wang G;Yang Z;
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
TitleA model study for the concise construction of the oxapentacyclic core of cortistatins through intramolecular Diels-Alder and oxidative dearomatization-cyclization reactions (2009)
AuthorsLiu L.;Gao Y.;Che C.;Wu N.;Wang D.Z.;Li C.C.;Yang Z.
JournalChemical Communications
TitleUnexpected regioselectivity in the synthesis of pyranonaphthoquinone via the Diels-Alder reaction. (2009)
AuthorsCui Y;Jiang H;Li Z;Wu N;Yang Z;Quan J;
JournalOrganic Letters
TitleDiversity-oriented synthesis of fused pyran gamma-lactones via an efficient Pd-thiourea-catalyzed alkoxycarbonylative annulation. (2008)
AuthorsLi Z;Gao Y;Jiao Z;Wu N;Wang DZ;Yang Z;
JournalOrganic Letters
Book Chapters
TitleThe Chemistry of Ynamide and Its Application in Organic Synthesis (2020)
AuthorsSiyu Ye, Na Wu
JournalAdvances in Organic Synthesis
PublisherBentham Science Publishers