PhD defenses.

Total Synthesis of Pleuromutilin


The presentation will detail the development of a synthetic route to pleuromutilin, a structurally complex antibacterial diterpenoid natural product. The evolution of our strategy was defined by the unique chemistry of the mutilin tricyclic scaffold, and relied on an oxidative ring-expansion of a tetracyclic precursor that was assembled by a cycloaddition-radical cyclization approach. The completed synthesis is the shortest reported to date and proceeded with complete stereochemical relay throughout the sequence. 

Ion Transport Gating in Hydrophobic Nanopores

Abstract: Studying ion transport in nanoporous materials is crucial to a wide range of energy and environmental technologies, including ion-selective membranes, drug deliver systems, and supercapacitors. Hydrophobic nanoporous materials are of great research interest due to their ability to act as nanoscale valves, preventing the transport of liquid water in the absence of external stimulation. Commercial industries have already taken advantage of this phenomenon, making breathable fabrics that allow sweat to evaporate but keep liquid water from penetrating the material.

Understanding the Steric and Electronic Factors that StabilizeTh(III), Th(II), and U(II) Complexes


This talk will discuss various attempts to synthesize low-valent thorium and uranium complexes with cyclopentadienyl ligands in an effort to better our understanding at what factors are important for stabilizing low-valent actinide complexes.  Synthetic, spectroscopic, crystallographic, and theoretical data will be presented.

Development of Nickel-Catalyzed Cross-Coupling, Cross-Electrophile Coupling and Domino Reactions

Abstract: The world around us, from the medicines we take, to the food we eat, to the plants and animals surrounding us, is composed of carbon-carbon (C–C) bonds. In order to construct these C–C bonds, we rely on previously developed methodologies. In an ever growing world, the need for new technologies to tackle more challenging problems has grown significantly. Catalysis has emerged in the last century as a reliable, efficient and sustainable method to synthesize C-C bonds.

Total Synthesis of (2R)-hydroxynorneomajucin and Development of Strategies for the Assignment of Absolute Stereochemistry


Illicium sesquiterpenes have garnered significant interest from synthetic chemists owing to their highly oxidized structures and potent biological activity. In this talk, I will discuss my efforts toward the total synthesis of (2R)-hydroxynorneomajucin, a neuroprotective norsesquiterpene isolated from Illicium Jiadifengpi. I will discuss challenges faced and the evolution of our synthetic strategy, which has culminated in the first total synthesis of (2R)-hydroxynorneomajucin.

Developing New Rh–H Catalyzed Transformations and Understanding Their Underlying Mechanisms

Abstract: Hydrofunctionalizations are an attractive method for functionalizing olefins, forging new bonds in an atom-economic and sustainable fashion. We developed a variety of Rh–H catalysts that can couple heteroatom nucleophiles with olefin coupling partners.. In the first example, we developed an intermolecular anti-Markovnikov hydroamination of 1,3-dienes to form homoallylic amines. In the second example, we developed a divergent hydrothiolation of cyclopropenes.


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