13th Annual Emerson Center Lectureship Award Symposium

Dr. Emily Carter

On November 2nd, 2017, the Emerson Center held its 13th annual Lectureship Award Symposium. The theme this year was “Sustainable Energy: Fundamental Principles, Multidisciplinary Approaches, and Progress.” This year’s lectureship award winner, Dr. Emily Carter from Princeton University, gave the Keynote presentation entitled Quantum Mechanics Derived Solutions for Sustainable Energy. During her talk, Dr. Carter summarized her use of quantum mechanics “to help accelerate discovery, understanding, and optimization of materials for sustainable energy conversion processes.”

Her presentation was followed by talks from Dr. Christopher Jones, Dr. Jean-Luc Bredas, and Dr. Vince Conticello on topics ranging from atmospheric CO2 extraction to organic electronics to peptide and protein nanomaterials. These talks were proceeded by a poster session, during which students and postdocs were given the opportunity to present their research. Brandon Haines was the Poster Award winner .

Emerson Center Research Highlighted by C&EN

The 2016 Emerson Center Symposium. Photo by Jamal Musaev.
The 2016 Emerson Center Symposium. Photo by Jamal Musaev.

Research from Emory’s Emerson Center for Scientific Computing has been highlighted by Chemical and Engineering News. The research, the result of a collaboration between the Emerson Center’s Djamaladdin D. Musaev and the Kenichiro Itami at Nagoya University in Japan, involves Cu-catalyzed C-H imidination. The article, “Onward to simpler C–H functionalizations” appears in the November 07-08 issue of Chemical & Engineering News both in print and online.

[Full Article at C&EN] (subscriber access)

2016 Emerson Center Award Symposium to Feature Arieh Warshel


The Emerson Center’s 2016 Award Symposium will take place on Friday, September 23rd in Harland Cinema in the Dobbs University Center (DUC). The keynote speaker will be Arieh Warshel, the 2013 Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry. Other speakers include David Lynn and Brian Dyer from Emory and Professor Rajeev Prabhakar from the University of Miami. The symposium is co-sponsored by the Emerson Center for Scientific Computing, Microway, and Emory’s Hightower Fund.

Students–graduate and undergraduate–are invited to submit posters for the poster session taking place from 11-12:30. Two “Best Poster” awards will be conferred at the end of the session.

The symposium is free, but registration is required. Please register at http://www.emerson.emory.edu/conferences/form/register.html.

Full Symposium Flyer


Emory Chemists Find “Huge Shortcut” for Organic Synthesis Using C-H Bonds

Image of catalyst from eScienceCommons.
Image of catalyst from eScienceCommons.

Graduate student Kungbiao Liao (Davies Group) is the first author of a new paper in Nature that describes a “huge shortcut” for organic synthesis of carbon-hydrogen (C-H) bonds of an alkane without using a connecting group. Solymar Negretti (Davies Group), Jamal Musaev (Emerson Center), John Bacsa (X-ray Center), and Huw Davies are additional authors.

From Emory’s eScienceCommons:

The streamlined process described in the paper holds tremendous potential for the synthesis of fine chemicals, such as those needed for the development of pharmaceuticals.

“Organic synthesis is all about simplicity,” [Huw Davies] says. “It may lead to a sophisticated outcome, but it has to be simple to carry out in order to have practical applications.”

The work in this paper was made possible in part by Emory’s NSF Center for Selective C-H Functionalization, led by Dr. Davies.

[Full Article] [eScienceCommons] [Chemistry World] [C&EN] [ChemEurope]

Collaborative study in Nature Communications Explores Recent Advances by Emory Scientists and International Colleagues

A recent study published in Nature Communications stems from an international collaboration between scientists in Emory’s own NSF Center for Selective C-H Functionalization and the Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules (ITbM) at Nayoga University, Japan. The article “Decarbonylative organoboron cross-coupling of esters by nickel catalysis” details work that expands the scope of a Nobel Prize-winning carbon-carbon bond reaction. The expanded reaction uses aromatic esters and boronic acids as coupling partners in the presence of a nickel catalyst. The nickel catalyst is economically and environmentally friendly, making it strategically useful for pharmaceutical, agro-chemical, and organic materials applications.

The new research builds on the 2010 Nobel prize-winning Suzuki-Miyaura cross-coupling reaction, an extremely powerful strategy to synthesize a variety of significant organic compounds on an industrial scale. The reaction is usually catalyzed by a pallidium catalyst to couple boronic acids with organic hallides. The result is extremely powerful but its reaction partners can generate corrosive waste byproducts.

Researchers at ITbM and CCHF have demonstrated that readily available esters–carbonyl compounds found in fat and oils–can be used as alternative coupling partners, generating useful products such as derivatives of plant metabolites and a drug for treating hypertension, telmisartan.

Esters are known for their distinctive odors, such as banana and pineapple, thus making them a popular ingredient in perfumes. Due to their high commercial and synthetic accessibility, the use of esters to couple with boronic acids greatly expands the scope of available substrates for the Suzuki-Miyaura cross-coupling reaction.

Theoretical calculations conducted by Professor Djamaladdin Musaev, Director of the Emerson Center at Emory University, contributed valuable insight to the mechanism of the decarbonylative cross-coupling reaction between aromatic esters and boronic acids.

“This is a beautiful work in the frontier of organic transformations,” said Musaev. “I am grateful to Professor Itami and the entire ITbM team for providing the opportunity for us to contribute to this novel research project.”

In turn, Professor Ken Itami of ITbM praises Musaev for elucidating the unusual decarbonylative cross-coupling reaction. “This is obviously a result of the strong collaboration between ITbM and CCHF. We will continue to work together to conduct further optimization of the reaction system to expand its scope.”

Itami and his colleagues envisage that ongoing advances in this reaction method may lead to the development of new industrial processes for making biologically and structurally active compounds, including aliphatic esters.

Emory Report Profiles Emerson Center’s Musaev

Jamal Musaev is featured in an Emory Report profile, “‘Land of Fire’ ignites love of science.”

Jamal Musaev, director of Emory’s Cherry L. Emerson Center for Scientific Computation, is a native of Azerbaijan.

He grew up in the small, mountain town of Ordubad, during the heyday of the space race between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.

“I loved physics, and from the time I was in sixth grade, I wanted to be an astronaut. That was my dream,” Musaev recalls.

[Full Article]