The following is the schedule for Seminars 2017-2018 Spring, but it is subject to changes.

All the seminars are at 11 AM in Disque Hall 109, except for April 20 in Bossone Auditorium.





Host faculty


4/3 (M)

Jon Njardarson

U. Arizona

Dionicio Solorio

No Strain no Gain


Jaume Balsells-Padros


Fraser Fleming

Synthetic Chemistry in the Pharmaceutical Industry: Case stories at Merck

4/16 (M)

Virginie VIDAL



Chimie ParisTech


Fraser Fleming

Transition Metal-Catalyzed Reactions: From Laboratory Scale to Scale up Developement


Bruce Maryanoff

Coffee Inc.

Fraser Fleming

Coffee Talk


Philip Meneely

Haverford Univ.

Frank Ji

An Overview of Genome Editing:  CRISPR and Beyond


Karl Booksh

U. Del

Lee Hoffman

Raman Hyper-Spectral Imaging of Meteorites, Meteorite Impacts, and a Little Bit of Art

5/8 (Tues)

Ming-Yu Ngai

Stony Brook Univ.

Frank Ji

Development of Novel Chemical Tools for Accessing Unexplored Chemical Spaces


Kevin Brown

Indiana Univ.

Dionicio Solorio

No Strain, No Gain: Advances in the Synthesis and Use of Cyclobutanes




Ezra Wood



Daniel Seidel


Fraser Fleming

New Strategies for the C-H Functionalization of Amines







4/3   11:00am, Disque 109

Speaker: Jon Tryggvi Njardarson from U. Arizona

Title: No Strain no Gain

Abstract: A tale about how tortured rings aided by sprinkles of serendipity catapulted us into the world of reaction cascades, which in turn led us to the land of Cope.  At the end of the research tale I will provide a short summary detailing our education product contributions all of which use the graphical language of organic chemistry.

Two recent articles J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139, 13141  and Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2015, 54, 13706.


4/13 11:00am, Disque 109

Speaker: Jaume Balsells-padros from Merck

Title: Synthetic Chemistry in the Pharmaceutical Industry: Case stories at Merck.

Chemistry has a central role in the discovery, development and life cycle management of new pharmaceuticals. This presentation will cover a brief overview of some of the diverse roles that chemists can play in this sector and will go in detail into two case studies where synthetic chemistry was at center stage of innovation for the discovery and development of novel small molecule pharmaceuticals: i) Design of enzyme mimics for remote desymmetrizations and ii) Conjugate addition of alkyl bromides via photoredox catalysis.


4/16 11:00am, Disque 109

Speaker: Virginie VIDAL, Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Paris – Chimie ParisTech Institut de Recherche de Chimie Paris, 11 rue P. et M. Curie, 75231 Paris cedex 05, France

Title: Transition Metal-Catalyzed Reactions: From Laboratory Scale to Scale up Developement

Abstract: Over the past few years, significant research has been directed toward the development of new methods for synthetic efficiency and atom economical processes. Among them, the potential of transition metal-catalyzed reactions has been steadily demonstrated, as they provide a direct and selective way toward the synthesis of highly valuable products. We have been engaged in a project dedicated to the development of catalytic methods for the synthesis of bio-relevant targets. More specifically, we have been interested in hydrogenation and transfer hydrogenation reactions, which provide important catalytic approaches to fine chemicals. There is no doubt that chiral ligands are at the heart of any enantioselective homogeneous process. In this context, our contribution to this field is the development of atropisomeric diphosphanes named SYNPHOS and DIFLUORPHOS with complementary stereoelectronic properties. Some applications in this field will be presented.



4/20 11:00am, Bossone Auditorium

Speaker: Bruce Maryanoff from Coffee Inc.

Title: Coffee Talk

Abstract: In 2015, Bruce and Cyndie Maryanoff established Absolute Palate® LLC ( as a coffee business on the Big Island of Hawaii.  They have had a long-standing passion for exceptional coffees and a love for Hawaii, which were merged through this endeavor.  With a special interest in premium, single-estate 100% Kona coffee, they purchased two coffee farms in the iconic Kona Coffee Belt.  These farms provide the coffee berries that are hand-picked and processed into green beans, which are custom-roasted in small batches with a fluidized-bed air roaster.  Bruce and Cyndie assembled a laboratory to conduct on-site coffee decaffeination by extraction of green beans with supercritical carbon dioxide, and now sell this flavorful 100% Kona decaf coffee as Absolute Decaf on their e-commerce website Absolutely! Kona Coffee® (, along with regular 100% Kona coffee.  This talk will present details on their coffee activities, as well as information on the world of coffee.


4/27 11:00am, Disque 109

Speaker: Philip Meneely, Professor of Biology, Haverford College

Title: An Overview of Genome Editing:  CRISPR and Beyond

Abstract: Genome editing refers to our ability to make directed changes at specific sites in the DNA sequence in cells of an organism.  Several different techniques for genome editing have been developed, and have been successful in some species, but none has been in widespread use for most organisms.  A method known as CRISPR, or more properly as CRISPR-Cas9, first used for genome editing about five years ago, offers the realistic potential to edit the DNA sequence in cells of nearly any species.  The talk will provide an overview of the method and its applications, comparing it to other editing methods, with some ideas about the most recent developments in this rapidly changing field.  I will also discuss the one published study that edited the genome of human sperm, and thus the embryos that arose from those sperm. Some of the ethical questions associated with editing the genome in the human germline will be considered.


5/4   11:00am, Disque 109

Speaker: Karl S. Booksh form U. Del

Title: Raman Hyper-Spectral Imaging of Meteorites, Meteorite Impacts, and a Little Bit of Art

Abstract: Hyper-spectral Raman imaging with multivariate curve resolution is employed to determine the underlying chemical composition of three interesting samples. A high pressure polymorph of TiO2 is determined to be a geomarker of large pre-Cambrian asteroid impacts. These large asteroids stuck the Earth with greater than 10 GPa pressure causing the impacted rocks to vaporize and reform as high-pressure polymorphs. The geology of Mars is still not well known; Raman spectrometers will be deployed on the Mars2020 mission to better investigate the near-surface minerology. Martian meteorites provide a random sampling of the minerology and a test sample for the efficacy of Raman spectroscopy on future rovers.  Raman imaging is applied to the analyses of two Martian meteorites, a chondrite meteorite, and a synthetic surface sample to differentiate between biotic carbonates and abiotic minerals. Minerals, natural and synthetic, are employed as pigments in historic paints. Raman imaging is applied to paint samples from the Chinese Forbidden City to determine polymorphs of Cu2Cl(OH)3-  information that will provide understanding in the origin and manufacturing of these paints.


5/8 11:00am, Disque 109

Speaker: Ming-Yu Ngai from Stony Brook Univ.

Title: Development of Novel Chemical Tools for Accessing Unexplored Chemical Spaces

Abstract: Synthetic methodologies that allow access to new chemical spaces are of paramount importance to modern drug discovery. Fluorine-containing compounds represent a unique chemical space that has caused a fundamental paradigm change in life science research over the past 50 years. There is a significant gap, however, between the needs of the chemical industry and the current methodological efficiency of incorporating fluorinated moieties into organic compounds. To bridge this gap, one of our research programs aims to develop novel reagents and general transformations for the synthesis of fluorinated compounds. In this lecture, I will present our recent efforts to establish mild and operationally simple reactions for the installation of understudied trifluoromethoxy (OCF3) group and polyfluoroalkoxy (ORf) groups into organic molecules.  These groups are appealing as they can often enhance molecular efficacy by increasing metabolic stability, promoting binding affinity with targets, and improving cellular membrane permeability of the parent compounds. Nevertheless, due to the lack of general synthetic methods for the introduction of these fluorinated groups, their potential has not been fully exploited in pharmaceutical, agrochemical, and materials applications. Thus, we hope that our research program will allow access to and study of unexplored chemical spaces to aid the discovery and development of new drugs, biocompatible materials, bio-probes, and imaging agents.


5/18   11:00am, Disque 109

Speaker: Kevin Brown from Indiana Univ.

Title: No Strain, No Gain: Advances in the Synthesis and Use of Cyclobutanes

Abstract: Development of enantioselective [2+2] cycloadditions to access cyclobutanes is an important yet unsolved problem in chemical synthesis. In the absence of efficient methods for the synthesis of chiral cyclobutanes, their accessibility as biologically active synthetic targets and, more generally, their utility as synthons for chemical synthesis, are hindered.  Described in this seminar will be development of reagent or catalyst controlled stereoselective [2+2] cycloadditions of alkenes with ketenes or electron-deficient allenes.  These reactions lead to the formation of highly substituted chiral cyclobutanes that can be easily transformed into other interesting and important motifs.   Inspiration for the developed of these methods is rooted in the structures of several biologically active natural products.  The synthesis of these molecules will also be discussed.

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6/1   11:00am, Disque 109

Speaker: Daniel Seidel from Rutgers

Title: "New Strategies for the C-H Functionalization of Amines"

Abstract: This lecture will cover our recent efforts in the development of reaction cascades for the rapid buildup of molecular complexity via the mild α- and β-C-H bond functionalization of amines.  Mechanistically distinct approaches will be discussed.