Alena wins a 2020 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Huge congratulations to G2 student Alena Vasquez who has been selected for a highly competitive 2020 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. In the Engle lab, Alena has developed an α-selective reductive Heck hydroarylation of acrylamides and acrylates, which was recently described in ChemRxiv. Outside of the lab, Alena volunteers as a refugee tutor, runs workshops for younger students through the Bario Logan College Institute, and serves as the Engle Lab’s Outreach coordinator, among other activities. She is also an animal enthusiast who loves spending time with her pet cats. We are so proud of you, Alena!

For a full link of awardees, click here: https://www.research.gov/grfp/AwardeeList.do?method=loadAwardeeList

Chiral Transient Directing Group Paper – Now In Press

During the past five years, our lab and others have demonstrated the power of directing auxiliaries in catalytic alkene functionalization. While highly enabling in their own right, these auxiliaries require additional steps for installation and removal, which detracts from their practical utility. In an effort to overcome this issue, we are excited to disclose the first successful demonstration of co-catalytic “transient” directing groups in asymmetric Heck-type migratory insertion in a paper that appears today in Angewandte Chemie International Edition. Under simple reaction conditions, a commercially available amino acid is able to reversibly condense with an aldehyde on the substrate and guide aryl addition to the β-position of the styrene-type substrate. Congrats to Luke, Zi-Qi, Van, and Ruohan from our lab; and our computational collaborator Tuğçe from the Liu Lab at the University of Pittsburgh. In case anyone missed it, a pre-print of this work was deposited in ChemRxiv back in September (click here).

For a link to the paper, see: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/anie.202001069

Alpha-Hydroarylation pre-print is online

The group’s latest collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb describing a palladium(0)-catalyzed α-selective hydroarylation of acrylates and acrylamides is now online at ChemRxiv. The method achieves this unusual mode of regioselectivity via the intermediacy of a PdII(Ar)(H) intermediate, as supported by kinetics, in situ 31P NMR, and other experiments. The utility of the method is underscored by the fact that it can be run in an open-flask fashion, can employ water as a cosolvent, and can tolerate a variety of heterocycles and base-sensitive functional groups. Congrats to Alena and John from the Engle lab, and Candice and Emily from BMS!

For a link to the pre-print, click here: https://chemrxiv.org/articles/Catalytic_-Hydroarylation_of_Acrylates_and_Acrylamides_via_an_Interrupted_Hydro-Dehalogenation_Reaction/12003444

Nickel-Catalyzed Intermolecular Alkene Dicarbofunctionalization Minireview Online

During the past five years, there has been an explosion of interest in nickel-catalyzed alkene dicarbofunctionalization reactions. In an invited minireview article appearing today in Chemical Science, Team Nickel from our group summarizes recent advances and highlights lingering challenges in this exciting research area. Congrats to Joe, Omar, Taeho, and Van, and thanks to the journal editors for the opportunity to write this synopsis.

For a link to the article, click here: https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2020/sc/c9sc06006e#!divAbstract

Joe receives an Arnold O. Beckman Postdoc Fellowship

Former graduate student Joseph Derosa has been selected for a 2020 Arnold O. Beckman Postdoctoral Fellowship to support his postdoctoral research at Caltech in the laboratory of Prof. Jonas Peters, where he has worked since earning his Ph.D. in December 2019. As a founding member of #TeamNickel, Joe developed a range of nickel-catalyzed alkene difunctionalization reactions and spearhead the lab’s initial collaborative projects with Bristol-Myers Squibb during his time at Scripps. Congratulations Joe!