May 27-30, 2015
Grand Rapids, MI

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A Grand Enterprise

Plenary Lectures and Keynote Speakers

For questions of comments, please contact James Kiddle at

Wednesday 27 May 2015

Thursday 28 May 2015

Friday 29 May 2015

Lewis Base Activation of Lewis Acids: An Evolving Paradigm for Catalysis in Main Group Chemistry

Professor Scott E. Denmark

Department of Chemistry, University of Illinois, Urbana IL 61801

Plenary Speaker – 11:00am – Wednesday 27 May 2015

Scott E. Denmark was born in New York on 17 June 1953. He obtained an S. B. degree from M.I.T. in 1975 and his graduate studies were carried out at the ETH-Zürich under the direction of Professor Albert Eschenmoser, culminating in a D. Sc. Tech degree in 1980. That same year he began his career as assistant professor at the University of Illinois. He was promoted to associate professor in 1986, full professor in 1987 and then in 1991 named the Reynold C. Fuson Professor of Chemistry.

Professor Denmark is primarily interested in the invention of new synthetic reactions and elucidating the origins of stereocontrol in novel, asymmetric reactions. The current emphasis in his laboratories focuses on the relationship between structure, reactivity and stereoselectivity in a variety of organoelement processes. He has pioneered the concept of chiral Lewis base activation of Lewis acids for catalysis in main group synthetic organic chemistry. His group has also developed palladium-catalyzed cross-couplings with organofunctional silicon compounds. In addition his research program encompasses the development and application of tandem heterodiene cycloadditions for the synthesis of complex natural (alkaloids) and unnatural (fenestranes, phase transfer catalysts) nitrogen containing compounds. In recent years, his group has investigated the use of chemoinformatics to identify and optimize catalysts for a variety of organic and organometallic reactions.

Headshot of Scott Denmark

Professor Denmark has won a number of honors for both research and teaching. These include: A. P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, Stuart Pharmaceuticals Award, A. C. Cope Scholar Award (ACS), Alexander Von Humboldt Senior Scientist Award, Pedler Lecture and Medal (RSC), the ACS Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry, the Yamada-Koga Prize, the Prelog Medal (ETH-Zürich), the H. C. Brown Award for Creative Research in Synthetic Methods (ACS), Robert Robinson Lecture and Medal (RSC), the ISHC Senior Award in Heterocyclic Chemistry, Paul Karrer Lectureship (Uni Zürich), the Frederic Stanley Kipping Award for Research in Silicon Chemistry (ACS), and the Harry and Carol Mosher Award (Santa Clara Section, ACS). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and the American Chemical Society. He has received numerous honorary lectureships and visiting professorships and has served on many editorial advisory boards. He edited Volume 85 of Organic Syntheses, was Editor of Volumes 22-25 of Topics in Stereochemistry and was a founding Associate Editor of Organic Letters (1999-2004). After serving on the editorial board from 1994-2003, he became Editor in Chief and President of Organic Reactions, Inc. in 2008.

Representative Publications

Out of over 340

  1. The Interplay of Invention, Discovery, Development and Application in Organic Synthetic Methodology: A Case Study J. Org. Chem. (Perspective) 2009, 74, 2915-2927.
  2. Mechanistic Duality in Palladium-Catalyzed Cross-Coupling Reactions of Aryldimethylsilanolates. Intermediacy of an 8-Si-4 Arylpalladium(II) Silanolate (with R. C. Smith) J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2010, 132, 1243-1245.
  3. Silicon-Based Cross-Coupling Reactions in the Total Synthesis of Natural Products (with J. H.-C. Liu) Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2010, 49, 2978-2986.
  4. On the Mechanism of Lewis Base Catalyzed Aldol Addition Reactions: Kinetic and Spectroscopic Investigations Using Rapid-Injection NMR (with B. M. Eklov, P. J. Yao, and M. D. Eastgate) J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2009, 131, 11770-11787.
  5. Lewis Base Catalysis in Organic Synthesis (with G. Beutner), Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. 2008, 47, 1560-1638.
  6. Catalytic, Asymmetric Halofunctionalization of Alkenes – A Critical Perspective (with W. E. Kuester and M. T. Burk) Angew. Chem., Int. Ed., 2012, 51, 10938-10953.
  7. A Systematic Investigation of Quaternary Ammonium Ions as Asymmetric Phase-Transfer Catalysts. Synthesis of Catalyst Libraries and Evaluation of Catalyst Activity (with N. D. Gould and L. M. Wolf) J. Org. Chem. 2011, 76, 4260-4336.
  8. Effects of Charge Separation, Effective Concentration, and Aggregate Formation on the Phase Transfer Catalyzed Alkylation of Phenol (with R. C. Weintraub and N. D. Gould) J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2012, 134, 13415-13429.
  9. Lewis Base Catalyzed, Enantioselective, Intramolecular Sulfenoamination of Olefins (with H. M. Chi) J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 8915-8918.
  10. Catalytic, Stereospecific Syn-Dichlorination of Alkenes (with A. J. Cresswell and S. T.-C. Eey) Nature Chemistry 2015, 7, 146-152.

Joan F. Brennecke

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN 46556

Keynote Speaker – 5:00pm – Wednesday 27 May 2015

Ionic liquids (ILs) are organic salts that have sufficiently low melting points that, in their pure state, they are liquid around room temperature. We will discuss how ILs can be designed for a variety of important energy-related applications. We will show ILs for gas separations, including removal of CO2 from post-combustion flue gas, pre-combustion gases, and natural gas. We will also discuss the use of ILs for two different types of refrigeration systems: IL/water absorption refrigeration and CO2/IL co-fluid vapor compression refrigeration. Both of these offer environmental advantages over conventional technology while improving coefficients of performance. Next, we will show how the structure of the anion and cation can improve the "ionicity" of ILs, which is important in the use of ILs as electrolytes for lithium-ion batteries, dye sensitized solar cells and supercapacitors.

Headshot of Joan Brenneck

Joan F. Brennecke is the Keating-Crawford Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame and was the founding Director of the Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame. She joined Notre Dame after completing her Ph.D. and M.S. (1989 and 1987) degrees at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her B.S. at the University of Texas at Austin (1984).

Her research interests are primarily in the development of less environmentally harmful solvents. These include supercritical fluids and ionic liquids. In developing these solvents, Dr. Brennecke's primary interests are in the measurement and modeling of thermodynamics, thermophysical properties, phase behavior and separations. Major awards include the 2001 Ipatieff Prize from the American Chemical Society, the 2006 Professional Progress Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the J.M. Prausnitz Award at the Eleventh International Conference on Properties and Phase Equilibria in Greece in May, 2007, the 2008 Stieglitz Award from the American Chemical Society, the 2009 E.O. Lawrence Award from the U.S. Department of Energy, and the 2014 E.V. Murphree Award in Industrial and Engineering Chemistry from the American Chemical Society. She serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Chemical & Engineering Data. Her 130+ research publications have garnered over 12,000 citations. She was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering in 2012.

Pursuit of Treatments for Unmet Medical Needs: Current Approaches and Case Studies in Drug Discovery

Dustin J. Mergott, Ph.D.

Keynote Speaker – 5:00pm – Thursday 28 May 2015

The current challenges faced by the pharmaceutical industry have been well-documented and extensively debated. Indeed, pharmaceutical drug discovery is a complicated endeavor. Fortunately, new discovery approaches are emerging to address these challenges. An overview of these drug discovery approaches along with specific case studies will be presented.

Dr. Dustin J. Mergott received his Bachelor's degree in chemistry from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1998. He then received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 2004 from the University of Michigan under the guidance of Professor William R. Roush, and subsequently completed a two-year postdoctoral appointment at Harvard University in the lab of Professor Eric N. Jacobsen. Dustin joined Lilly in 2006 where he is currently Principal Research Scientist and Medicinal Chemistry Group Leader. While at Lilly, Dustin’s research has focused on Alzheimer's Disease and Oncology. He has played a key role in leading Lilly's BACE inhibitor research program and is a named inventor on multiple U.S. patents covering BACE inhibitors. Dustin is a native of the midwest, having lived in Edina, Minnesota, where he was born, as well as Chicago, Ann Arbor, and now Indianapolis. He also loved his time in Cambridge, MA.

Dustin Mergott headshot