Van is selected for the 2020 Genentech Symposium

Congrats to G4 student Van Tran, who has been selected to represent Scripps Research at the 2020 Genentech Graduate Student Symposium in Chemical Research. Van will join seven other graduates students from nationally competitive selection process to visit Genentech for a two-day symposium (April 27-28). In the Engle lab, Van has pursued a diverse range of research topics. Most recently, she developed Ni(COD)(DQ) as a new air-stable Ni(0)–olefin precatalyst, which has attracted widespread attention within the chemical community and was highlighted in Nature Reviews Chemistry.

New “Indestructible” Ni(0)–Olefin Precatalyst – Now Available

Appearing online today in Angewandte Chemie International Edition, we report new Ni(0)–olefin precatalyst, Ni(COD)(DQ), a remarkably stable complex that can survive, air, moisture, silica, and elevated temperature, yet still initiate in a variety of catalytic transformations. Originally, reported in 1962 by Schrauzer, Ni(COD)(DQ) has been the previously studied from a structural, spectroscopic, and fundamentally reactivity perspective, but its catalytic potential has been largely overlooked. This project is the latest success story to arise from the BMS/Scripps Research collaboration, and it was great collaborating with Drs. Steve Wisniewski, Matt Joannou, and Martin Eastgate on this investigation. Well done to all authors, including on the Scripps end: Van, Zi-Qi, Omar, and Joe. Special thanks to BMS for supporting Van’s summer internship to kick-start this project!

This catalyst is currently being commercialized by MilliporeSigma (#912794) but is not yet available for purchase (as of the time of publication). For a limited time only, to receive a free sample of this precatalyst, please email your name and shipping address to: keary(at)

For a link to the paper, click here:

Keary is Selected as a 2020 Cottrell Scholar

Today Keary was selected by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA) as one of 25 early-career chemists to join the 2020 class of Cottrell Scholars. The award recognizes leadership and creativity in integrating research and teaching. Keary is the first Cottrell Scholar in the history of the program from an institution that does not grant undergraduate degrees. Congrats to Keary and the whole Engle lab on this accomplishment.

For more information, read the press release:

Allyl Electrophiles in Conjunctive Cross-Coupling – Paper Now In Press

Team Nickel’s first publication of 2020 is now in press and Angewandte Chemie International Edition. The paper describes the strategic merger of two enabling reactivity modes in organic synthesis: (1) transition-metal-catalyzed allylation, and (2) nickel-catalyzed (three-component) conjunctive cross-coupling of alkenes. This method allows for each of the two alkenyl carbon atoms to engage in C(sp3)–C(sp3) bond formation with two differentiated reaction partners, and allyl moiety and a methyl group. Mechanistically, the success of the reaction hinges upon use of weakly coordinating heterocyclic directing groups that enable dynamic coordination of the alkene from the allyl group to trigger C(sp3)–C(sp3) reductive elimination. Congrats to the whole team, Van, Zi-Qi, Tim, and Joe. Thanks to our valued collaborator Prof. Peng Liu from University of Pittsburgh for key insights regarding DFT calculations.  In case anyone missed it, a pre-print of this work was deposited in ChemRxiv back in August (click here).

To learn more, click here:

Juntao completes his internship

Today we bid farewell to Juntao Sun, who has finished his six-month internship under the mentorship of Mingyu. Juntao capped off his stint in the Engle lab with a phenomenal wrap-up talk, and now returns to Nankai University to complete his senior year. With several offers at US grad programs, Juntao is going to hit the ground running for his Ph.D. We can’t wait to see what this rockstar accomplishes during grad school and beyond.

Keary wins 2019 Novartis Early Career Award in Chemistry

Novartis has selected Keary as the recipient of the 2019 Early Career Award in Chemistry in recognition of the Engle lab’s contributions to catalytic alkene functionalization. This award provides two years of unrestricted funding to explore new research directions. Bravo, Keary and the Engle lab team!

Holiday Party and Send-Off for Joe

The 2019 Engle Lab Holiday Party is in the books, featuring diverse and delicious foods from fried chicken to tamales, a spirited white elephant gift exchange, and boardgames galore. The party also doubled as a send-off for Joe, who recently defended his Ph.D. and will start 2020 in Pasadena in the lab of Prof. Jonas Peters. Congrats, Joe!

Happy holidays from our lab family to yours, and here’s to a great 2020!