Research Organic

Organic Research

Research in organic chemistry at UNC Chapel Hill covers a broad range of subjects from synthetic methods development to the design of materials with functions inspired by biological systems. Research is often interdisciplinary and involves science at the frontiers of polymer chemistry, inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, materials science and bioorganic chemistry.

With nine faculty members formally in the organic division and a number of faculty members from other divisions whose research involves organic chemistry, graduate students find they have a wide range of choices for their doctoral research.

  • Synthetic Methods Development
  • Natural Products Synthesis
  • Chemical Catalysis
  • Bioorganic Chemistry
  • Molecular Photochemistry
  • Supramolecular Chemistry
  • Molecular Recognition
  • Chemical Biology
  • Medicinal Chemistry
  • Polymer Synthesis and Functionalization

Recent Research Results

Atmospheric Deposition and Annual Flux of Legacy Perfluoroalkyl Substances and Replacement Perfluoroalkyl Ether Carboxylic Acids in Wilmington, NC, USA

This study shows the first direct evidence of PFECAs in wet and dry deposition. The data suggest that the particle-bound and gas-phase PFAS that may have undergone long-range transport can be incorporated into raindrops and removed rapidly.

PFOS dominates PFAS composition in ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) collected across North Carolina nearly 20 years after the end of its US production

Thirty-four PFASs, including perfluoroalkyl carboxylic, perfluoroalkane sulfonic, perfluoroalkyl ether carboxylic and sulfonic acids were analyzed by UHPLC/ESI-MS/MS.

Protein-Mimetic Self-Assembly with Synthetic Macromolecules

In this Perspective, we incorporate strategies from diverse chemical arenas for controlling assembled morphologies and dynamics of protein-mimetic synthetic macromolecules.

Representative Publications

Environmental Science & Technology Letters.
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Atmospheric Deposition and Annual Flux of Legacy Perfluoroalkyl Substances and Replacement Perfluoroalkyl Ether Carboxylic Acids in Wilmington, NC, USA Megumi S. Shimizu, Rachael Mott, Ariel Potter, Jiaqi Zhou, Karsten Baumann, Jason D. Surratt, Barbara Turpin, G. Brooks Avery, Jennifer Harfmann, Robert J. Kieber, Ralph N. Mead, Stephen A. Skrabal, and Joan D. Willey Environmental Science & Technology Letters 2021 8 (5), 366-372 DOI: 10.1021/acs.estlett.1c00251

Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts.
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PFOS dominates PFAS composition in ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) collected across North Carolina nearly 20 years after the end of its US production J. Zhou, K. Baumann, R. N. Mead, S. A. Skrabal, R. J. Kieber, G. B. Avery, M. Shimizu, J. C. DeWitt, M. Sun, S. A. Vance, W. Bodnar, Z. Zhang, L. B. Collins, J. D. Surratt and B. J. Turpin Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, 2021,23, 580-587 DOI: 10.1039/D0EM00497A

Macromolecules.
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Protein-Mimetic Self-Assembly with Synthetic Macromolecules Meredith H. Barbee, Zoe M. Wright, Benjamin P. Allen, Hailey F. Taylor, Emily F. Patteson, and Abigail S. Knight Macromolecules 2021 54 (8), 3585-3612 DOI: 10.1021/acs.macromol.0c02826

ACS Catalysis.
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β-Functionalization of Saturated Aza-Heterocycles Enabled by Organic Photoredox Catalysis Natalie Holmberg-Douglas, Younggi Choi, Brian Aquila, Hoan Huynh, and David A. Nicewicz ACS Catalysis 2021 11 (5), 3153-3158 DOI: 10.1021/acscatal.1c00099

Synlett.
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Milled Dry Ice as a C1 Source for the Carboxylation of Aryl Halides Connor J. O’Brien, David A. Nicewicz Synlett 2021, 32, A-C DOI: 10.1055/a-1384-0159

Chemistry & European Journal.
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Mimicking Biological Recognition: Lessons in Binding Hydrophilic Guests in Water Hannah P Ferguson Johns, Emily E Harrison, Kyla J Stingley, Marcey L Waters Chemistry 2020 Oct. 13 Doi: 10.1002/chem.202003759

Organic Letters.
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Direct Radiofluorination of Arene C–H Bonds via Photoredox Catalysis Using a Peroxide as the Terminal Oxidant Li Wang, Alexander R. White, Wei Chen, Zhanhong Wu, David A. Nicewicz, and Zibo Li Organic Letters 2020 22 (20), 7971-7975 DOI: 10.1021/acs.orglett.0c02815 

Trends in Chemistry.
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Application of Atomic Layer Deposition in Dye-Sensitized Photoelectrosynthesis Cells Degao Wang, Qing Huang, Weiqun Shi, Wei You, Thomas J. Meyer Trends in Chemistry 2020 3 (1), 59-71 DOI: 10.1016/j.trechm.2020.11.002

Organic Letters.
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Diastereo-, Enantio-, and anti-Selective Formation of Secondary Alcohol and Quaternary Carbon Stereocenters by Cu-Catalyzed Additions of B-Substituted Allyl Nucleophiles to Carbonyls Emilie Wheatley, Joseph M. Zanghi, and Simon J. Meek Organic Letters 2020 22 (23), 9269-9275 DOI: 10.1021/acs.orglett.0c03495

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