Research + Discoveries

  • Malcolmson Lab Illustrates Olefins as Alkylating Agents for Enantioselective Synthesis

    The Malcolmson lab has demonstrated that olefins may act as alkylating agents for the enantioselective intermolecular addition of enol-type nucleophiles under Pd catalysis. Typically, polarized electrophiles are required for couplings with enolates/enols or their equivalents, reducing atom economy and potentially functional group tolerance. In this work, Prof.

    Read More
  • Beratan Group Sheds Light on DNA Repair

    The high temperatures and intense UV irradiation of the early earth made DNA particularly susceptible to damage. Beratan’s group used theory, modeling, and simulation to explore the mechanism of photochemical repair of damaged DNA by the enzyme photolyases. The group focused on the critical (and much debated) photo-induced electron-transfer reaction that leads to DNA repair.

    Read More
  • Beratan, Therien and Collaborators Pack a Porphyrin into a Protein Puzzle

    The de novo design of a protein capable of binding a cofactor in a unique orientation is a challenging problem because a range of structurally similar, yet different, complexes are often formed. Now, a team led by former graduate student Nick Polizzi and by Professors David N. Beratan and Michael J. Therien at Duke, and by Professor William F. DeGrado at UCSF, report a protein — designed entirely from first principles — that binds a small-molecule cofactor in a unique and precisely predetermined orientation (shown schematically on the journal cover).

    Read More
  • Malcolmson Lab Discloses New Reagent for Enantioselective Amine Synthesis

    The Malcolmson lab has reported a new class of reagents, 2-azadienes, for the catalytic enantioselective construction of chiral amines.  The 2-azadienes demonstrate reverse polarity (umpolung) of an enamine, facilitating catalytic addition of a nucleophile to its N-b-carbon and subsequent stereoselective electrophile trap at the a-carbon.  In this work, they illustrate the power of these reagents in reductive couplings with ketones for chemo-, diastereo-, and enantioselective preparation of 1,2-amino tertiary alcohols.  These motifs have been previously inaccessible by catalytic enantiosele

    Read More
  • Beratan Group Explains New Class of Electron Bifurcation Reactions

    Biology is well known to manipulate energy using proton-coupled electron transfer and phosphorylation reactions.  It was found recently that energy conversion can also occur via a new class of reactions, known as electron bifurcation reactions.  Remarkably, these reactions send one electron “uphill” and one “downhill,” enabling the overall reaction to satisfy the demands of thermodynamics.  Jonathon Yuly, a graduate student working with Profs.

    Read More