Eric Nacsa, Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Penn State's Eberly College of Science, will deliver a seminar entitled, "Electron Transfer in Organic Synthesis: Electrochemical Dehydrationand Radical-Migration-Mediated Olefin Difunctionalization." Hosted by Marvin Parasram.
For more information about Eric Nacsa, click here.
Abstract: Research in the Nacsa Group at Penn State uses electron transfer techniques to design new methods in organic synthesis, primarily for applications in pharmaceutical discovery and manufacturing. Our lab works in two main areas. The first is developing novel approaches to dehydration reactions, such as the synthesis of amides and esters from carboxylic acids, with an emphasis on catalysis. These transformations are workhorse operations in pharmaceutical research, but owing to the wasteful reagents overwhelmingly used to accomplish them, companies have long called for improved methods that would avoid this waste. We have identified an electrochemical solution to this problem, wherein a sulfur-based catalyst drives dehydration reactions of carboxylic acids including esterification and amidation under mild conditions. Our second area of research is developing olefin difunctionalization reactions, including alkyl–arylation and amino–arylation, for the rapid synthesis of complex medicinal intermediates and products. By using sulfonyl reagents to add two groups to the alkene in an open-shell cascade centered around an intramolecular migration, several synthetic advances are enabled.