New book chapter reviews difunctionalization of unsaturated organics

In a new book chapter that appears online this week, Luke, Alena, Taeho, and Zi-Qi review the broad field of metal-mediated difunctionalization of unsaturated organic compounds (i.e., those containing a carbon–carbon π-bond). The chapter is part of the forthcoming book Comprehensive Organometallic Chemistry IV edited by Prof. Ian Tonks.

Click here for a link to the article:

Keary is selected for 2021 ChemComm Emerging Investigator Lectureship

This week Keary was selected together with Prof. Thomas Bennett (Cambridge) to receive the 2021 ChemComm Emerging Investigator Lectureship. The award recognizes scientists in the early stages of their independent academic careers who have made exceptional contributions to the field of chemistry. As part of the award, in 2022 Keary will give a series of lectures in both in-person and virtual format . Congrats to Keary and the entire Engle lab past and present for contributing the science being recognized!

For more information, click here:


We are excited to have three new members in the group. They are all coming from different stage of their education and adding more diversity to the lab. First, we are delighted to have our new postdoc Skyler. Skyler joined our group right after finishing his Ph. D. in organic chemistry with prof. Sarah Reisman at Caltech, and he has the freshest Ph. D. Diploma in the group. Palladium team is welcoming their new undergraduate crew Jeremy. Finally, we are happy to welcome our new highschool student Anna to the team Nickel.

Ready for your Trick-or-treating bag – Two review articles now in press

Trick, treat, or review? Just in time for Halloween 🎃 , we close out the month of October with two new review articles appearing online from the group. In the first article, which is in press in Tetrahedron, Mingyu and Juntao survey different strategies from the recent literature for generation and functionalization of C(alkenyl)–Pd intermediates in catalysis. These types of reactions constitute an increasingly versatile toolkit for accessing highly substituted alkenes in organic synthesis. This article is part of a special collection celebrating our colleague Prof. Dale Boger’s 2020 Tetrahedron Prize.

Click here for a link to the article in Tetrahedron:

The second review article appears in Chemical Review and offers a comprehensive overview of the area of metal-catalyzed, coordination-assisted C(sp3)–H activation reactions up to March 2020, when not-so-coincidentally the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown first started. It’s been a long journey since—over 100 pages and over 500 references—but we’re pleased to be able to share the fruits of our labor with the community. This review was written by Andrew and Camille in collaboration with Bin from Prof. Bing-Feng Shi’s group at Zhejiang University. Congrats to all of the authors of both articles!

Click here for a link to the article in Chemical Reviews:

Ambiphile Mapping in the Palladium(II/IV) anti-Annulation of alkenes – Pre-print Online

We are happy to share our most recent work with collaborators from Pfizer Oncology Medicinal Chemistry, appearing today as a pre-print in ChemRxiv, where we describe a versatile approach to carbo- and heterocycle synthesis from unactivated alkenes and ambiphilic organohalides. Under Pd(II)/Pd(IV) catalysis, the Wacker-type mechanism leads to net anti addition, which is distinct from classical Larock-type couplings. In this study, we systematically map structure–reactivity trends of the ambiphile, leading to unprecedented breath of reaction partners that can be employed. Congrats to everyone at Scripps (Hui-Qi, Phillippa, and Pranali), and Pfizer (Shouliang, Fen, Neal, Joyann, Michelle, and Indra) for a great team effort!

For a link to the pre-print, click here:


After a year of prolific research on tungsten and palladium catalysis, Phillippa has completed her postdoctoral research. She is returning to the UK to start at AstraZeneca in Macclesfield in the catalysis and high throughput experimentation team. Although we will miss her positive attitude, helpfulness, and excellent chemistry skills, we are excited to see what the future holds.


We have a new visiting undergraduate intern, Wenji He. Wenji comes from Nankai University, China, to explore Ni-catalysis in Engle group for a semester under mentorship of Ziqi.

Tungsten-Catalyzed Alkene Isomerization–Hydroboration – Now In Press

Appearing online today in J. Am. Chem. Soc., we are excited to share the final version of our paper on tungsten-catalyzed alkene isomerization–hydroboration, which we carried out in collaboration with the lab of Prof. Ruben Martin at ICIQ. This project represents an important step forward for our research program in low-valent tungsten-catalyzed alkene functionalization, a largely unexplored family of reactions. In this report, Tanner and Raul teamed up to demonstrate that simple amides are competent directing groups to mediate controlled isomerization and hydroboration of alkenes, allowing functionalization positions that are classical inaccessible via chain-walking methods. The method also represents the first tungsten-catalyzed hydroboration, and the mild nature of the process is exemplified by it’s tolerance for a number of sensitive functional groups (e.g., aryl halides) and epimerizable α-stereocenters. Congrats to Tanner, Raul, and Phillippa, and thanks to the Martin lab for the fun opportunity to join forces!

For a link to the paper in J. Am. Chem. Soc., click here:

As a reminder, a pre-print of the paper first appeared in ChemRxiv back in July: