Campus Box 3290 Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3290, USA

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

Selective C-H Functionalization

The selective functionalization of unactivated C–H bonds is a long-standing challenge in synthetic chemistry...

Easy to be Green!

The stereochemical richness of cellulosic biomass, a biorenewable carbon source, makes it an attractive feedstock for the production of fine chemicals...

Molecular Diversity

Benzenoids in principle represent attractive and abundant starting materials for the preparation of...

Representative Publications

C–H Alkylation via Multisite-Proton-Coupled Electron Transfer of an Aliphatic C–H Bond.
Carla M. Morton, Qilei Zhu, Hunter Ripberger, Ludovic Troian-Gautier, Zi S. D. Toa, Robert R. Knowles, Erik J. Alexanian.
J. Am. Chem. Soc, Online Publication Date July 29, 2019,

Harnessing the Reactivity of Poly(methylhydrosiloxane) for the Reduction and Cyclization of Biomass to High- Value Products.
Nicholas M. Hein, Youngran Seo, Stephen J. Lee, Michel R. Gagne.
Green Chemistry, Volume: 21, Issue: 10, Pages: 2662-2669

Generation and Alkylation of α-Carbamyl Radicals via Organic Photoredox Catalysis.
Joshua B. McManus, Nicholas P. R. Onuska, and David A. Nicewicz.
J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2018, 140 (29), pp 9056–9060

Boron-Catalyzed Site-Selective Reduction of Carbohydrate Derivatives with Catecholborane.
Jared M. Lowe, Youngran Seo, and Michel R. Gagne.
ACS Catal., 2018, 8 (9), pp 8192–8198

Highly Functionalized Tricyclic Oxazinanones via Pairwise Oxidative Dearomatization and N-Hydroxycarbamate Dehydrogenation: Molecular Diversity Inspired by Tetrodotoxin.
Steffen N. Good, Robert J. Sharpe, and Jeffrey S. Johnson.
J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2017, 139 (36), pp 12422–12425

Reagent-Controlled Regiodivergent Ring Expansions of Steroids.
Manwika Charaschanya, & Jeffrey Aube.
Nature Communications; London Vol. 9, (Mar 2018): 1-8

Intramolecular Friedel–Crafts Acylation Reaction Promoted by 1,1,1,3,3,3-Hexafluoro-2-propanol.
Hashim F. Motiwala, Rakesh H. Vekariya, and Jeffrey Aube.
Org. Lett., 2015, 17 (21), pp 5484–5487

Control of Amphiphile Self-Assembly via Bioinspired Metal Ion Coordination.
Abigail S. Knight, Josefin Larsson, Jing M. Ren, Raghida Bou Zerdan, Shay Seguin, Remy Vrahas, Jianfang Liu, Gang Ren, and Craig J. Hawker.
J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2018, 140 (4), pp 1409–1414

Continuous-Flow Chemistry for the Determination of Comonomer Reactivity Ratios.
Marcus H. Reis, Cullen L. G. Davidson IV, Frank A. Leibfarth.
Polym. Chem., 2018, 9, 1728-1734

Regioselective C−H Xanthylation as a Platform for Polyolefin Functionalization.
Jill B. Williamson, William L. Czaplyski, Erik J. Alexanian, Frank A. Leibfarth.
Angew. Chem., Volume 130, Issue 21, May 22, 2018, Pages 6369-6373