Florence Williams, Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of Iowa (and NYU Chem alumna), will deliver a seminar entitled, "Taking Advantage of Strong Boron-Oxygen and Boron- Fluorine Associations for Chemoselective Reactions." Hosted by Marvin Parasram.
For more information about Florence Williams, click here.
Abstract: The Williams lab has been investigating the utility of highly Lewis acidic boron centers for the activation and cleavage of alkyl ethers and in halogen exchange reactions of trifluoromethylarenes. Such strategies have enabled the targeting of strong C–O bonds and C–F bonds for cleavage in the presence of weaker bonds. These practical methods have important applications in medicinal and agricultural chemistry, as well as in sustainable chemistry development, such as the mild separation of cellulose from lignocellulose – a biopolymer that can provide a renewable source of aromatic chemicals such as vanillin. This talk will examine the development of such boron-mediated methodologies, applications to different modern challenges, and the differential reactivity and behavior of boron trihalide species.
Short Bio: Florence obtained her B.S. in Chemistry with Honors at New York University. While there, she performed research with Prof. Marc Walters primarily developing gadolinium contrast agents. She then achieved her Ph. D. at University of California, Irvine focusing on organometallic catalysis with Prof. Elizabeth Jarvo. After post-doctoral research in chemical biology at Princeton in the lab of Prof. Dorothea Fiedler, Florence began her independent career at University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and then in 2019 moved to University of Iowa. Her research involves using boron Lewis acids to selectively cleave strong σ bonds, including in complex materials settings, as well as mechanistic investigations of neurotrophic small molecules that have potential applications in neurodegenerative disease.