The research which I and my students undertake is in the area of radical-based synthetic organic chemistry. In the course of this research, we hope to discover new pathways by which organic molecules (consisting primarily, but not entirely, of Carbon and Hydrogen) can react. Much of this work has culminated in publications and presentations at scientific meetings with Middlebury students as coauthors. Since my arrival at Middlebury College, over 70 Middlebury students have participated in my research program for periods of time ranging from one winter term or summer to a full year, or more. Check here for a list of former and present research students, and what I know of their postgraduate careers. Our research has been funded from a variety of sources, most notably the National Science Foundation, Petroleum Research Fund, The Research Corporation, and Vermont-EPSCOR.
Several years ago, I and my students discovered the first examples of radical atom-transfer reactions involving transfer of a phenylseleno group. Two of our earlier examples are shown below.
We have continued to be interested in the development and use of phenyl selenide and iodine transfer radical reactions as tools for the synthesis of compounds of medicinal interest.
More recently, we have applied atom-transfer methodology to the problem of radical aromatic substitution. Taking this approach, we have developed new methodology for the synthesis of 2-substituted pyrroles and indoles in high yield under non-oxidizing conditions.
Interest in radicals continues to be the major focus of research in my laboratories. We are currently studying ways in which common metal templates for polyenes can modify subsequent radical reactions.
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