Organic chemistry is, very broadly, the study of molecules containing carbon atoms. But at its core, organic chemistry is the art of understanding connections to carbon and discovering novel and efficient ways to construct chemical bonds. Research efforts range from studying the physical, spectroscopic, and chemical properties of molecules to target oriented synthesis of highly complex chemical structures with bioactivity. Efforts are also directed towards understanding reaction mechanisms and kinetics.
Catalysis/Synthesis Departmental Collaborations:
Mechanism Training — All chemistry graduate students and postdoctoral researchers are invited to attend Mechanism Training (Denksport), a monthly meeting about reaction mechanisms currently organized by Dr. Dominik Hager, a post-doctoral researcher in the MacMillan lab. Meetings are usually on the first Monday of the month and pizza is provided. The meeting is usually attended by students from the MacMillan, Knowles, Fiedler, Sorensen and Doyle labs. Organic chemistry problem sets written by Dr. Hager or student volunteers are given out at the beginning of each meeting. After brief contemplation, individual attendees are asked to share their solutions on the white board. These informal meetings prepare students for similar situations in group meetings and interviews that involve quick thinking in front of others. It also keeps students refreshed on foundational chemistry knowledge such as mechanistic pathways, named reactions and chemical reactivity.