Chemists and engineers strive to develop safe, efficient, and environmentally sustainable chemical synthesis for the production of high-value molecules, such as those used in medical applications. Advances by electrochemists have demonstrated remarkable new means for improving product selectivity under mild reaction conditions. Unexplored realms of chemical synthesis are now attainable using electrons at the primary reactant.
Supported by the National Science Foundation Center for Chemical Innovation, chemists at the University of Utah and across the country are embarking on a collaborative project to employ the extensive knowledge electrochemists, materials scientists, and physical chemists in using electrons to make new molecules. The overarching goal is to deploy this exciting new knowledge to advance chemical synthesis.
Undergraduates participating in this SRI project will demonstrate how using electrons as reactants can make pharmaceutical synthesis greener, safer, and environmentally friendly. Students will work towards learning advanced electrochemical methods for carrying out chemical transformations. Working as a team, they will participate in designing a research plan for developing a general electrochemical route for introducing chemical functionality into molecules, and then demonstrate the general application of their method in the chemical syntheses of a series of molecules.
The project will provide students with a working knowledge of many aspects of organic preparatory chemistry, the physical chemistry of electron-transfer reactions, catalysis, materials chemistry, and quantitative analytical measurements, providing a foundation for future advance research in all areas of chemistry. Biweekly meetings of the entire team with the project leaders (Profs. Minteer and White) will focus on discussion of individual student results and the overall progress of the team.
Communication skills and scientific writing will be emphasized as part of the project. Undergraduates from all areas of science and engineering are encouraged to apply.