Professor and Graduate Program Director
|Ph.D||University of Colorado||1986|
|B.S.||University of Nevada, Las Vegas||1981|
|Postdoctoral Fellow||University of Utah 1987-1989 (NIH Postdoctoral Fellow 1988-1989)|
Organic ChemistryI. Asymmetric Synthesis
My research program is generally directed toward the development of new methods for the practical synthesis of chiral organic molecules in high optical purity. One goal is to use inexpensive, naturally occurring chiral materials in the preparation of new organometallic reagents and/or catalysts for asymmetric organic synthesis. Where possible, these new reagents are rationally designed, and this may require structural modification of existing chiral molecules. I am pursuing the development of a new class of C2-chiral pyrazoylborate ligands, which may allow the development of new transition-metal catalysts for asymmetric synthesis. A variety of related ligands are under investigation. In addition, we occasionally develop new methods for the analysis of enantiomeric purities (see Tetrahedron Letters 1997, 38, 7717-20).II. New Organic Gelling Agents
We have recently identified a remarkably simple organic compound that can immobilize nonpolar organic solvents as transparent gels at low concentrations (~0.5-1 wt. %). We have characterized this unusual aggregation behavior using a variety of techniques, including small-angle neutron scattering (see: J. Chem. Soc., Faraday Transactions 1998, 94, 2173-2179; and Langmuir 1998, 14, 3991-3998). Several derivatives have been synthesized and evaluated, resulting in two US patents. Studies to define the aggregation at a molecular level are in progress.III. Physical Organic/Organometallic Studies
I have found that most synthetic projects benefit from appropriate application of physical (kinetics, thermodynamics) and structural (NMR, X-ray) studies. Solution NMR is a powerful tool, especially in the context of multinuclear and/or variable temperature (VT) operation. In general, I anticipate that research projects such as those discussed above will possess significant physical/structural components. There may be occasional projects which are almost entirely physical, such as a systematic study of electronic effects or a VT/NMR evaluation of fluxionality in a series of molecules. In addition, high-resolution gas chromatography is used extensively in my lab, and we often develop new applications of this technique.