Congratulations, Dr. Jennie!

Dr. Jennie Liao successfully defended her thesis, “Transition Metal Catalyzed Reactions of Pyridinium and Iminium Ions.” Congratulations, Jennie! We wish you all the best in your new position in Process Discovery Chemistry at Merck. We will miss you!

Feature Article of Our Stereospecific Cross-Couplings

Sarah Pound has elegantly described our efforts to develop efficient, stereospecific cross-couplings of benzylic ammonium salts and benzylic and allylic carboxylates (link). She has also included the inspirations for our work in this area, as well as the important contributions from other groups. Great job, Sarah!

Transforming Amines into Alkenes

Weiye Guan and Jennie Liao have developed conditions to transform amino groups into vinyl groups via benzyl pyridinium intermediates (link). This work is part of a Synthesis Special Topic: Modern Coupling Approaches and their Strategic Applications in Synthesis. Great work, Weiye and Jennie!

Making Di(hetero)arylmethanes from Benzylic Amines

In collaboration with Drs. Michelle Garnsey, Joe Tucker, and Brian Boscoe from Pfizer, Jennie Liao, Weiye Guan, and John Tomlin have developed a method to transform widely available benzylic amines into di(hetero)arylmethanes ( Their strategy uses easily prepared benzyl pyridinium salts, and is broadly tolerant of a wide variety of electron-rich and electron-poor heteroaryl groups. Congratulations to the team!

Congratulations, Dr. Basch!!

Congratulations, Dr. Corey Basch! Dr. Basch defended his thesis, “Nickel-Catalyzed Cross-Couplings via Activation of Alkyl Carbon–Nitrogen Bonds” with spectacular success! Corey established alkyl pyridinium salts as effective electrophiles for cross-couplings. We will miss you, and wish you the best in your postdoc with Prof. Tom Rovis!

Watson Group at SERMACS

Dr. Sarah Pound, Megan Hoerrner, and Mary represented the Watson group at SERMACS in Charlotte, North Carolina. Sarah and Megan rocked their talk and poster, and had a lot of fun meeting the Mole!

New Method for Quat Center Formation

Congratulations to Kelsey Cobb, Javon Rabb-Lynch, Megan Hoerrner, Alex Manders, and Qi Zhou on their recent development of a stereospecific Suzuki–Miyaura cross-coupling of allylic pivalates to set all-carbon quaternary stereocenters (! This reaction is enabled by a simple nickel/BISBI catalyst system, and enables efficient formation of allylic products with internal alkenes.

The Latest from our Lab: Cross Couplings via C–N Bond Cleavage

Congratulations to Corey Basch, Jennie Liao, Jianyu Xu, and Jake Piane for their recent discovery of a new nickel-catalyzed cross coupling of alkyl pyridinium salts (! When coupled with efficient formation of pyridinium salts from primary amines, this reaction enables the use of alkyl amines to alkyl arenes. It is the first cross coupling of an alkyl amine derivative with unactivated alkyl groups.

Congratulations, Dr. Cobb!

Congratulations to Dr. Kelsey Cobb on the successful defense of your thesis! Kelsey’s research focused on new nickel-catalyzed cross couplings of amine and alcohol derivatives to prepare highly enantioenriched products. We wish you all the best in your next position at Solenis!