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Henry J. and Linda C. Pownall Lectureship in Chemistry


Speaker: Prof. Hosea Nelson (Caltech)


Title: New reactions of dicoordinated carbocations and methods for structural characterization.


Abstract: In this talk I will discuss our recent efforts to utilize phenyl and vinyl carbocations in C–H functionalization reactions. We will describe how these high-energy dicoordinated carbocations can be generated under mild conditions and utilized in the selective C–C bond forming reactions of simple hydrocarbons. Moreover, we will discuss our efforts to understand the mechanism of these reactions through computational chemistry, kinetics, electron microscopy, and isotopic labeling studies. We will  also discuss our efforts to apply electron microscopy to problems in organic chemistry through the use of MicroED and other CryoEM modalities.
Bio: Prof. Nelson earned a B.S. in Chemistry from University of California at Berkeley in 2005 and a  Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in 2013. After postdoctoral training at University of California at Berkeley, Prof. Nelson joined the UCLA faculty in 2015. In 2021 he joined Caltech’s Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. Prof. Nelson’s research program is focused on the development of enabling technologies for chemical synthesis. His group focuses on this goal through two primary avenues of research. 1) In their structural chemistry subgroup they develop new electron microscopy techniques that enable the characterization of complex molecules, often unattainable using traditional methods. 2) Their synthetic subgroup focuses on the development of new chemical reactions that will enable the efficient and rapid synthesis of bioactive compounds. 

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