North Jersey Section of the ACS


 [  registration  |  directions  |  history  |  schedule  ] 


is proud to present the 2009

Visions in Chemistry


on Wednesday, May 20, 2009
at the Raritan Valley Community College
North Branch, NJ

The Visions in Chemistry Symposium features speakers who are pioneers in their respective areas of expertise and whose work is considered visionary in the field of Chemistry.

Schedule at-a-Glance
  8:00 am Registration
Theatre, Raritan Valley Community College, North Branch, NJ
  8:45 Introductory Remarks:

Dr. Bao-Guo Huang, Chair, Visions in Chemistry – 2009
Dr. Daniel Schirlin, VP, sanofi-aventis Discovery US

Professor David B. Berkowitz, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Professor Jeffrey Bode, University of Pennsylvania
11:00 Coffee Break
Professor Bruce H. Lipshutz University of California, Santa Barbara
12:15 pm Lunch Break
Professor John L. Wood, Colorado State University
Professor Robert H. Grubbs, California Institute of Technology
  4:00 Closing Remarks: Dr. Bao-Guo Huang

Symposium will be held at the Theatre in RVCC (Building 12 on the campus map).

For RVCC campus map and directions, visit:



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[ Speaker's Bio ]

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Abstract: xxx_ABSTRACT_n




8:45 – Dr. Bao-Guo Huang - Chair, Visions in Chemistry 2009 Chair

Dr. Daniel Schirlin, - VP, sanofi-aventis Discovery US

Introductory Remarks



9:00 – Professor David B. Berkowitz - University of Nebraska, Lincoln

“Traversing the Interface of Asymmetric Synthesis and Mechanistic Enzymology – In Both Directions”

[ Speaker's Bio ]

Abstract: This talk will focus on two topics that cut in opposite directions at this interface. In one sense, the former topic speaks to drug discovery, and the latter, to process chemistry. On the one hand, we will discuss how an understanding of the details of enzyme mechanism can be exploited to design new “mechanism-based” enzyme inactivators. In this regard, fluorine plays an integral role in both trigger actuation, in the target active site, and as a “spectroscopic beacon” providing useful information, by 19F NMR, on how the inhibitor partitions in that active site. Methods for the stereocontrolled synthesis of quaternary, α-branched amino acids will be discussed, as will target enzyme purification, and both kinetic and spectroscopic examination of enzyme inactivation.

On the other hand, the Berkowitz group has developed a program in combinatorial catalysis that revolves around the use of enzymes as analytical tools to facilitate the catalyst screening process. We term this approach In Situ Enzymatic Screening (ISES). In such endeavors, issues to be addressed include information content of the screen, sensitivity, convenience and throughput. As ISES screens are developed, this is done in the context of catalyst/ligand development for transformations of real synthetic interest to the group. Discussed will be combinatorial catalytic approaches to transition metal-based allylic amination, Co(III)-salen based hydrolytic kinetic resolution, and a new halometalation/carbocyclization route to fused, sesquiterpene lactone natural product cores.

Professor David B. Berkowitz


10:00 – Professor Jeffrey Bode - University of Pennsylvania

“Reinventing Amide Bond Formation”

[ Speaker's Bio ]

Abstract: Amide bond formation is one of the most widely used chemical reactions and constitutes the core of modern peptide synthesis. Despite its importance, there is but one general reaction manifold for the synthesis of amide bonds. Although extremely powerful, this paradigm for amide formation has inherent limitations that not only prohibit the efficient synthesis of larger structures including proteins and therapeutic peptides but also result in the generation of large amounts of chemical waste. In addressing these issues, we have developed two conceptually novel approaches to amide bond formation. One of these methods allows chemoselective coupling of completely unprotected molecules without the need for reagents, protecting groups, or starting materials. The second approach makes possible waste-free, catalytic amidations from simple starting materials via a novel N-heterocyclic carbene catalyzed pathway that has far reaching implications for the development of new synthetic methods, including enantioselective carbon–carbon bond forming reactions.

Professor Jeffrey Bode


11:00 – Coffee Break

11:15 – Professor Bruce H. Lipshutz - University of California, Santa Barbara

“‘Greening Up’ Transition Metal-Catalyzed Cross-Coupling Reactions”

[ Speaker's Bio ]

Abstract: This discussion will focus on new, alternative technologies for efficiently making bonds via transition metal-catalyzed couplings, with two important criteria: (1) water is the only medium for these reactions, and (2) they can be run at room temperature. Thus, the overriding theme will be to “get organic solvents out of organic reactions.”

The methodologies developed take advantage of micellar catalysis, which allows for water-insoluble substrates to be coupled under homogeneous conditions, in water at rt. Two “designer” surfactants that form nanoreactors in water will be presented: PTS and PQS.

PTS and PQS molecules

Although several “name” reactions have already been described using this approach (olefin metathesis, Heck, Suzuki-Miyaura and Sonogashira), this presentation will focus on unpublished work. Thus, newly devised procedures for carrying out aminations of aryl halides, allylic alcohols, and allylic ethers, in water at rt will be presented. Lastly, the potential for this approach to be applied to reactive metal chemistry will be disclosed by a discussion of Negishi couplings of organozinc halides…in water. Really.

Professor Bruce H. Lipshutz


12:15 – Lunch Break

  2:00 – Professor John L. Wood - Colorado State University

“Synthetic Studies of Oxindole-Containing Natural Products”

[ Speaker's Bio ]

Abstract: Recent efforts in our laboratories have focused on the synthesis of several oxindole-containing natural products. The evolution of synthetic strategies directed toward the welwitindolinones and citrinadins will be discussed.

Professor John L. Wood


  3:00 – Professor Robert H. Grubbs - California Institute of Technology

“Synthetic Methods Using Olefin Metathesis”

[ Speaker's Bio ]

Speaker's Bio: Born February 27, 1942, near Possum Trot, Kentucky. B.S., Chemistry, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, 1963; M.S., Merle Battiste, 1965. Ph.D., Ronald Breslow, Chemistry, Columbia University, New York, New York, 1968. NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, James P. Collman, Chemistry, Stanford University, 1968-69.

Dr. Robert H. Grubbs is currently the Victor and Elizabeth Atkins Professor of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA, where he has been a faculty member since 1978. Before moving to Caltech, he was at Michigan State University from 1969 to 1978 achieving the rank of Associate Professor.

The research group of Grubbs is involved in the design, synthesis, and mechanistic studies of complexes that catalyze basic organic transformations. The major focus of the group over the past few years has been on the olefin metathesis reaction. To optimize the utility of this reaction, new catalysts have been developed that are extremely tolerant of organic functional groups. Due to their high-activity, functional group tolerance, and ease of use, these ruthenium based catalysts have found wide applications in organic and polymer synthesis. He has 475+ publications and 100+ patents based on his research.

Professor Grubbs awards have included Alfred P. Sloan Fellow (1974-76), Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (1975-78), Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship (1975), ACS National Award in Organometallic Chemistry (1988), Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award (1990), ACS Award in Polymer Chemistry (1995), Nagoya Medal of Organic Chemistry (1997), Fluka Reagent of the Year (1998), Mack Memorial Award (1999), Benjamin Franklin Medal in Chemistry (2000), ACS Herman F. Mark Polymer Chemistry Award (2000), ACS Herbert C. Brown Award for Creative Research in Synthetic Methods (2001), ACS Arthur C. Cope Award (2002), ACS Award for Creative Research in Homogeneous or Heterogeneous Catalysis (2003), Richard C. Tolman Medal (Southern California Section ACS - 2003), ACS Tetrahedron Prize for Creativity in Organic Chemistry (2003), Pauling Award Medal (2003), Bristol-Myers Squibb Distinguished Achievement Award in Organic Synthesis (2004), Kirkwood Medal (2005) (New Haven Section, ACS), Paul Karrer Gold Medallion (2005) (University of Zurich), August-wilhelm-von-Hofmann-Denkmunze (2005) (German Chemical Society), Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2005), Havinga Medal (2006) (Leiden University), Golden Plate Award (2006) (Academy of Achievement), and Tetrahedron Most Cited Paper 2003-2006 Award (“Olefin Metathesis”), Tetrahedron Letters Most Cited Paper 2005-2008 Award (“A Neutral, Water-Soluble Olefin Metathesis Catalyst Based on an N-Heterocyclic Carbene Ligand”), ACS Award for Creative Invention (2009). He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1989, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1994, and the Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2006.

Professor Robert H. Grubbs


  4:00 – Closing Remarks



The Symposium will include a continental breakfast, luncheon, and refreshment break.

Please Note: There is no fee for this event, thanks to the generosity of our sponsor, sanofi-aventis. The Symposium will include lunch and coffee break. If you have any questions related to the 2009 Visions in Chemistry Symposium, please contact Bin Cao at

IMPORTANT!  Since seats are limited, if you cannot attend, please cancel your registration so someone on the waiting list can take your place. Click 'Cancellation' below.