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

Mechanistic Insight into the Stereoselective Cationic Polymerization of Vinyl Ethers

The control of the tacticity of synthetic polymers enables the realization of emergent physical properties from readily available starting materials.

Tris(pentafluorophenyl)borane-Catalyzed Cyclopropanation of Styrenes with Aryldiazoacetates

Methods for the synthesis of cyclopropanes are critical for drug discovery, chemical biology, total synthesis, and other fields. Herein, we report the use of the strong sterically encumbered Lewis acid tris(pentafluorophenyl)borane as a catalyst for the cyclopropanation of unactivated alkenes using aryldiazoacetates.

Iridium Pincer Complexes

A unique chain-rupturing transformation that converts an ether functionality into two hydrocarbyl units and carbon monoxide is reported by the Miller Group...

Representative Publications

Decarbonylative Ether Dissection by Iridium Pincer Complexes.
C. Yoo, H. M. Dodge, A. Farquhar, K. E. Gardner and A. J. M. Miller.
Chem. Sci., 2020, DOI: 10.1039/D0SC03736B

Dinitrogen Reduction to Ammonium at Rhenium Utilizing Light and Proton-Coupled Electron Transfer.
Quinton J. Bruch, Gannon P. Connor, Chun-Hsing Chen, Patrick L. Holland, James M. Mayer, Faraj Hasanayn, Alexander J. M. Miller.
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 51, 20198-20208

Controlling Sugar Deoxygenation Products from Biomass by Choice of Fluoroarylborane Catalyst.
Youngran Seo, Jared M. Lowe, Michel R. Gagné.
ACS Catal. 2019, 9, 8, 6648-6652

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