Department of Chemistry

Chemistry News

Chi Ting receives a NSF Career award

Chi TingCAREER: Chemoenzymatic Synthesis of Complex Polycyclic Alkaloids Enabled by a-Ketoglutarate Dependent Iron Enzymes

From morphine to quinine, polycyclic alkaloids possess remarkable bioactivity and complex molecular structure. With this CAREER award, the Ting group will apply enzyme catalysis to the synthesis of bioactive alkaloid natural products. Enzymes are highly efficient, renewable biocatalysts that can enable the concise synthesis of complex molecules. Specifically, non-heme iron enzymes catalyze a plethora of novel reactions, some of which are unprecedented in chemical synthesis. Two types of enzymatic reactions that will be studied during the award period are C-H endoperoxidation and C-H halogenation. Towards the first goal, the Ting group's chemoenzymatic approach was successful in the chemoenzymatic synthesis of 13-oxoverruculogen, an anticancer peroxide. Using enzyme catalysis, the eight-membered endoperoxide of verruculogens were assembled in a single step. This strategy will allow for the preparation of other endoperoxide analogs in the search for new anticancer compounds. By combining biocatalysis with modern synthetic methods, this chemoenzymatic approach aims to enable efficient synthesis of these natural products.

In addition to the research aims, the broader impact of this award is to teach natural product chemistry to local middle schoolers in Waltham, MA. The group's outreach program introduces the structure of organic molecules to students through group activities with the goal of inspiring them to pursue STEM careers in the future.

Dr. Sue Pochapsky retires from the NMR Facility

On December 31, 2023, Dr. Sue Pochapsky retired as the Director of the Brandeis Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Facility.  Dr. Pochapsky started at Brandeis during the summer of 2014. In the past 10 years, she worked hard to m

The new NMR Facility Director is Dr. Brian Michael. Dr. Michael received his PhD in Chemistry from MIT. His expertise lies in the area of solid state NMR and time-dependent quantum mechanics.

Prof. Shulenberger receives grant through the ACS Green Initiatives

Katherine ShulenbergerKatherine Shulenberger, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, has received a ACS Green Chemistry Initiative ECP-Faculty Bridge Grant. The title of her grant proposal was "Heavy Metal-Free Nanocrystals for Clean Energy Generation".

The Shulenberger group will be using this grant for the following research:

The development of materials for renewable energy generation is of the utmost importance in addressing current environmental challenges facing our society. Semiconductor nanocrystals show promise in addressing this challenge. However, current state of the art materials for both photovoltaic and photocatalytic applications suffer from drawbacks such as the use of toxic or scarce metals. Therefore, there is a need to both develop and understand earth abundant and nontoxic nanocrystal materials. In the Shulenberger lab we develop and adapt optical characterization techniques that can unravel the properties of nanocrystal films in device-relevant environments. We utilize both single-particle correlation measurements and ultrafast optical characterization to bridge the gap between existing ensemble and single-particle techniques. We apply these strategies to understand fundamental material properties of nanocrystals derived from sustainable materials.

Brandeis installs new 400 MHz NMR

Professor Isaac Krauss received funding from NIH (1S10OD034395) to purchase a new 400 MHz NMR. This Bruker Avance NEO 400 has been in house in the basement of Edison-Lecks since February 2024. It is equipped with a broadband heteronuclear probe with improved sensitivity over our previous 400 MHz instruments and features automated tuning, variable temperature capabilities over a wide temperature range, and fully automated sample acquisition with a 24-position autosampler.