09/26/19 - 9:45 AM to 11:00 AM
Student Seminar Series: Professor Andrew McNally
Student Seminar Series
Professor McNally attended the University of Cambridge, where he earned a Master of Arts and Master of Science in Natural Sciences, with a final year project spent working on aldol coupling of Pelouroside A. He continued on to obtain his doctorate, working on a novel organocatalytic [2,3]-Wittig rearrangement using secondary amines as catalysts. He moved to the United States as a Marie Curie International Fellow at Princeton University. There, he developed the concept of "accelerated serendipity" where high-throughput screening methods were used to discover new chemical reactions. A photoredox process that coupled amines with cyanoaromatics to make benzylic amines was discovered using this approach. He returned to the University of Cambridge for a second post-doctoral experience developed palladium catalyzed methods to activate aliphatic amines via 4-membered ring palladacycle intermediates. Currently, he is a professor of chemistry at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.
A broad aim in Professor McNally's lab is to develop new catalytic reactions to access molecules with desirable properties whether they be key chemical building blocks or substances vital for human health. The unique ability of synthetic chemists to control and direct the reactivity of molecules combined with the influence of new technology is integral toward this goal. This includes sustainable catalysis, developing new catalytic methods to transform these ubiquitous molecules into useful chemicals and provide access to low-cost fuels, fine chemicals, pharmaceuticals and polymeric materials; asymmetric catalysis, developing catalytic asymmetric process on non-typical precursors such as aromatic heterocyles and amines, which can enable rapid and direct construction of complex molecules synonymous with useful biological properties; and new reaction development and high-throughput techniques, using a combination of traditional and high-throughput techniques when developing new reactions and exploring problems outside of the remit of typical laboratory techniques.