Title: Assistant Professor
Degrees: B.S., St. Lawrence University; Ph.D., Dartmouth College
Phone: (814) 332-5324
Office Location: Doane Hall of Chemistry C206
My research interests involve chirality and the isolation of single enantiomer molecules that can be used in asymmetric homogeneous catalysis. This research is essential to the pharmaceutical industry because patients by nature’s design contain chiral targets, and the FDA therefore requires biological and toxicological characterization of both enantiomers of a racemic pharmaceutical ingredient. This has resulted in an industry trend toward preparing single enantiomer compounds, which is challenging to do cheaply and efficiently.
Currently, enantiomerically pure compounds are obtained by resolution, the use of chiral auxiliaries, asymmetric catalysis, or biocatalysis. The first two methods are used predominantly in industry, while the latter methods have been used less frequently, but owing to recent research they are gaining more consideration.
Current research projects in my group focus on the development of a resolution method known as enantioselective liquid-liquid extraction (ELLE). This method has been explored most heavily for the resolution of racemic mixtures of amino acids. A short-term goal is to apply this method to the resolution of water-soluble P-stereogenic phosphine ligands. A longer-term goal is to use this class of ligands to explore asymmetric transformations in aqueous or biphasic systems with the intent of gaining a better understanding of the mechanistic idiosyncrasies associated with catalysis in water.