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Visiting professorships in 2022

The Liebig-College invites every year visiting research professors, who give top-cailber lectures and seminars complementary to the themes of the JLU research groups. In 2022 our visiting professors will be:

Prof. Scott E. Denmark (University of Illinois, USA)

Prof. Scott E. Denmark was born in Lynbrook, NY in 1953. He obtained a S. B. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1975 and a D.Sc. Tech. from the ETH-Zürich under the direction of Albert Eschenmoser in 1980. That same year he was appointed as assistant professor at the University of Illinois and since 1991 has been the Reynold C. Fuson Professor of Chemistry.

Professor Denmark’s research involves the invention of new synthetic reactions, mechanistic and stereochemical aspects of carbon-carbon bond forming reactions and the design and development of asymmetric catalysts using chemoinformatics.

Professor Denmark has won a number of honors including the Pedler and Robert Robinson Medals (RSC), the Aldrich Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry, Brown Award for Creative Research in Synthetic Methods, the F. S. Kipping Award in Silicon Chemistry (ACS) and the Prelog Medal.  He is currently the Editor in Chief and President of Organic Reactions.

Professor Denmark will be our guest from 30th of May till 3rd of June.

Prof. Erik Alexanian (The University of North Carolina, USA)

Prof. Erik Alexanian received his A. B. degree from Harvard University in 2001. During his undergraduate education, he performed research with Prof. Amir Hoveyda at Boston College focusing on enantioselective alkene metathesis. Erik continued his studies at The Scripps Research Institute in the laboratory of Prof. Erik Sorensen, moving to Princeton University before receiving his Ph. D. degree in 2006. His doctoral training involved the total synthesis of the furanosteroid viridin and the development of a palladium-catalyzed alkene aminoacetoxylation. Erik’s postdoctoral work with Prof. John Hartwig at the University of Illinois centered on synthetic and mechanistic studies of transition metal enolates. Erik enthusiastically joined the Chemistry Department faculty at UNC Chapel Hill in 2008 and was promoted to Professor of Chemistry in 2019. The Alexanian group focuses on the development of enabling reaction methods in chemical synthesis. These projects aim to address important challenges facing society, ranging from the sustainable synthesis of small molecules to treat human disease, to the upcycling of post-consumer plastic waste.  A primary focus is the late-stage functionalization of unactivated C–H bonds in both small molecules and polymers to efficiently access complex molecules and materials with enhanced properties. We also pursue the development of new modes of reactivity in transition metal catalysis, with an emphasis on the use of common molecular feedstocks and earth-abundant first-row catalysts.

Professor Alexanian will be our guest from 1st till 5th of August 2022.

Prof. Anat Milo (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel)

Prof. Anat Milo and her group are combining experimental, computational, and statistical strategies to identify design principles behind molecular functionality, reactivity, and selectivity.

Classical physical organic molecular descriptors, such as logP, Hammett, Taft, or Charton parameters are often used for elucidating reaction mechanisms, yet, cannot always account for the intricate molecular interactions invoked in modern synthetic chemistry. Comprehensive experimental inquiry, complemented by data-intensive physical organic analysis, can bridge this gap and enable the study and optimization of increasingly complex systems. The overarching goal of our research program is to understand structural effects at the origin of chemical reactivity, selectivity, and functionality. To this end, novel parameter systems and data analysis strategies will be applied and developed, allowing the prediction of chemical outcomes and the study of reaction mechanisms. These techniques will be employed in the context of functional organic materials as well as organo-, organometallic, and biomimetic catalytic systems. Of particular interest are chemical processes driven not by rigid covalent or dative bonds, but by weaker, non-covalent interactions. The ubiquity and diversity of such interactions provide seemingly endless approaches to rational catalyst or functional material design, yet controlling them remains an exciting challenge.

Professor Milo will be our guest from 12th till 18th of August 2022.

Further announcements will be made on short notice.