The 27th Biennial ORCS Meeting

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ORCS 27th Conference

The Organic Reactions Catalysis Society cordially invites you to our 27th biennial meeting, to be held at the Catamaran Resort in San Diego, April 8-12, 2018.

Award Winners

ORCS is pleased to announce the following award winners that will be honored at the 27th ORCS Conference.

2018 Paul N. Rylander Award Sponsored by BASF

The Organic Reaction Catalysis Society is pleased to announce Dr. Huw M. L. Davies, Asa Griggs Candler Professor at Emory University and director of the Center for Selective C–H Functionalization, as the recipient of the 2018 Paul N. Rylander Award for his significant contributions to the use of catalysis in organic reactions. Over his career that began in 1983, the Davies’ lab has pioneered research in the general area of C–H activation and metal-carbene transfer chemistry. His name is synonymous with this type of reaction methodology and, today, he a consistent reference for any publication for carbene chemistry and C–H bond functionalization. Professor Davies’ research emphasizes the development of new enantioselective synthetic methods and their applications in total synthesis and drug discovery. His program covers design of chiral catalysts, carbenoid chemistry, development of new synthetic methodology, total synthesis of biologically active natural products, and development of chiral therapeutic agents.

In the area of asymmetric C–H insertion and alkene cyclopropanation, Davies is the unquestionable leader. His chiral dirhodium complexes, particularly those derived from L-proline, are unmatched in their effectiveness to promote enantioselective carbene transfer. Recent developments from his lab have shown that catalyst systems derived from sterically large amino acids and substituted cyclopropanes offer differential levels of performance in carbenoid reactions. The asymmetric control afforded by these complexes is truly remarkable particularly when one considers the hyper-reactivity of the rhodium-carbene species. His implementation of such reaction methods in the context of natural product synthesis, as highlighted by the colombiasin and elisapterosin works, reflects an uncommon level of inventiveness.

Huw has served for more than 7 years as the executive director of the Center for Selective C–H Functionalization (CCHF), a NSF-sponsored program that brings together dozens of labs from across the US to tackle grand challenges in this general problem area. His leadership has been instrumental in assembling this unique team of scientists and in fostering relationships that are resulting in demonstrable research breakthroughs. Perhaps more importantly, his vision for CCHF has had a transformative impact on the larger community of synthetic chemists and engineers by increasing the depth, breadth and timescale of collaboration across academic and industrial laboratories.

Professor Davies is actively involved in the chemical community, having served as the Executive Officer of the 2003 National Organic Symposium, the 2005 Program Chair of the Gordon Conference on Heterocyclic Compounds, the 2005 Chair of the Organic Division of the American Chemical Society, and Co-Organizer of the ACS Organic Division yearly Assistant Professor Symposium at the Fall ACS meeting since 2006. Recent awards include the American Chemical Society Cope Scholar Award (2005), Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (2007), Fellow of the American Chemical Society (2009), Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2012), Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (2014), and an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Senior Award (2017) .

This Award is administered by ORCS and generously funded by BASF.

2018 Murray Raney Award Sponsored by W.R. Grace and Co.

The Organic Reaction Catalysis Society is pleased to announce Dr. Raghunath V. Chaudhari, Deane E. Ackers Distinguished Professor at the University of Kansas, as the recipient of the 2018 Murray Raney Award for his significant contributions to advance the use of base metal catalysis in organic reactions.

In a long and distinguished career that has accomplishments spanning a wide variety of heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysts, Dr. Chaudhari has made seminal contributions to catalysis by base metals. These include monometallic catalysts and bimetallic formulations with synergistic effects in catalytic hydrogenation, hydrogenolysis, carbonylation and oxidation reactions. These include novel synthesis and applications to industrially important reactions as well as kinetic modeling of multiphase reactions using the base metal catalysts.

Early in his career, Dr. Chaudhari made important contributions on the ethynylation of formaldehyde to butynediol (Reppe Process), the hydrogenation of diethyl adipate to hexanediol, and the coupling of methanol and ethanol for Gurbet Alcohol synthesis using mixed metal oxides as catalysts.

Professor Chaudhari showed that using Cu based catalysts, polyols can be converted to lactic acid with high selectivity at low temperatures. Further, it was shown that catalysts consisting of Cu on reduced graphene, a novel approach of lattice match engineering, can lead to significant enhancement in catalytic conversion of glycerol (and polyols) to lactic acid at low temperature as a result of tailoring specific surface configuration of Cu (111) surface on graphene support in a two dimensional structure.

Recent work demonstrated that liquid phase oxidation of sugars and polyols can be conducted below 100oC and atmospheric pressure with exceptional activity and selectivity using bimetallic catalysts with nanostructure. He showed that bimetallic Pt-Cu, Pt-Fe, and Pt-Mn catalysts can be synthesized with well-defined surface configuration that lead to exceptional oxidation performance. These reactions have industrial relevance to synthesize dicarboxylic acids, and offer opportunities for greener routes for industrial products such as adipic acid from glucose using renewable feedstock.

He also made valuable contributions to carbonylation of methanol using homogeneous Ni complex catalysts with novel ligands that showed high activity and selectivity for acetic acid. A unique feature of this work was elimination of volatile Ni carbonyl species and comparable performance to the conventional Rh and Ir based catalysts with anticipated lower cost of catalyst in the commercial application. He also showed that oxidative carbonylation of amines can provide alternative non-phosgene routes to carbamates as key intermediates for insecticides and polyurethanes.

Professor Chaudhari is active in the catalysis community with a network distributed widely among academic and industrial scientists and engineers. He holds several editorial responsibilities and has been prolific in organizing conferences in the US and Asia. Finally, he’s especially prolific in innovation, with over 60 approved patents and 295 journal publications.

This Award is administered by ORCS and generously funded by Grace Catalysts Technologies.

2018 Robert Augustine Award Sponsored by ORCS

The Organic Reaction Catalysis Society is pleased to announce Dr. Yuriy Roman-Leshkov, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as the recipient of the 2018 Robert Augustine Award for his significant early career contributions to catalysis of organic reactions of industrial importance. Professor Roman-Leshkov has been at MIT since 2010, and has already made an impact in multiple areas of catalysis and analysis to better understand reaction mechanisms and characterize heterogeneous catalysts. His research group at MIT has been prolific, with about 65 publications as an independent researcher in journals including Science, JACS, and Nature reflecting high quality of work that is recognized by peers.

His research is having impact in several areas including designer porous catalysts for biomass conversion to chemicals, nanoparticle ‘eggshell’ type catalysts comprising precious metals over metal carbide cores as a means to reduce the use of precious metals, redox electrocatalysts for lignin conversion, and applying NMR to characterize heterogeneous catalyst. His group has made several distinct advances in bioconversion efforts through catalysis; epimerization of sugars as well as novel catalysts and mechanisms for sugar conversion. Publications in Nature Communication and J. Mol. Cat. A demonstrated several aspects of epimerizing sugars to higher value products using Sn zeolites. Separately, work from the group demonstrated the production of g-valerolactone from Furfural in a single reactor with dual catalysts, but without the need for precious metals or hydrogen. In this way, Roman’s group seeks to emulate enzymatic mixtures with sustainable chemocatalyst mixtures that avoid the use of precious metals along with high pressure and/or temperature conditions. Further, his group demonstrated in separate publications in the prestigious journal Energy and Environmental Science that reducible metal oxides (e.g., MoO3) are highly active and selective deoxygenation catalysts capable of breaking C-O bonds without saturating or breaking C=C bonds for molecules featuring a wide range of functional groups. .

Working again with non-precious metal catalysts, Professor Roman-Leshkov’s group recently demonstrated the low temperature oxidation of methane to methanol or acetic acid, which promises to have a disruptive effect if it can be harnessed as more natural gas supplies come to market. In addition to developing catalysts, the Roman group pushes for understanding of mechanisms and characterizing catalysts. Some unique work in this area was their collaboration on dynamic nuclear polarization nuclear magnetic resonance, previously considered a technique for proteins, to Sn zeolite catalysts. This technique allowed characterization of the active metal within the zeolite framework without the use of a synchrotron or enriched isotopes of tin, and was well received as a publication in JACS. A separate investigation of the assembly of SSZ-13 zeolites showed that multiple pathways led to growth; both amorphous solid precursor attachment and phase change accompanied growth from solution onto crystalline surfaces.

Professor Roman-Leshkov is also heavily involved in the catalysis community, serving on several boards, has 4 separate editorial commitments, and is actively involved in leadership roles within AIChE, the North American Catalysis Society, and the New England Catalysis Club, and taken an active role in coordinating conferences. He has exhibited great scientific drive, insight, and quality of work while conducting research in multiple parallel directions, and stands out for his achievements.

2017 Robert Augustine Award Sponsored by ORCS

The Organic Reaction Catalysis Society is pleased to announce Dr. Ive Hermans, John and Dorothy Vozza Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Wisconsin – Madison as the recipient of the 2017 Robert Augustine Award for his significant early-career contributions to catalysis of organic reactions of industrial importance. Dr. Hermans began his independent career at the ETH Zurich in 2008, and gained appointments in the departments of Chemistry as well as Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2013. Ive Hermans combines scientific excellence and an intense focus on reactions that matter in industry. His contributions changed the way industrial scientists and engineers think about autoxidation catalysis, and his more recent work on novel catalysts for selective oxidation is making major waves throughout the entire community. Ive has published more than 110 papers in the top scientific journals in the field.

Some of his major accomplishments so far include work on the mechanism of hydrocarbon autoxidation. In his early career he reinvestigated the radical chain oxidation of hydrocarbons with O2, both catalyzed and uncatalyzed, and showed that important elementary steps had been overlooked and other mechanistic proposals were plainly wrong. It is this fresh view of persistent challenges and his courage to question ingrained ideas that has left such an enduring impression.

One of Ive’s most exciting discoveries is the use of catalytic amounts of nitric oxide for aerobic oxidation reactions that was reported in Angew. Chemie in 2011. Many large-volume chemicals rely on using stoichiometric amounts of nitric acid for oxidation, and Ive’s work opens a realistic potential for using HNO3 in a catalytic cycle with molecular oxygen as the oxidant for these key industrial reactions. In another influential study, Ive developed a simple, scalable synthesis method for the Lewis acid zeolite Sn-Beta, and has demonstrated the unprecedentedly high activity of this catalyst for the Baeyer-Villiger reaction. He has since published subsequent papers expanding on the ability to prepare and characterize the active sites for these materials.

In a landmark discovery reported in a recent Science publication, Ive’s group reported the use of boron nitride-based catalysts for the oxidative dehydrogenation of alkanes with exceptional selectivity and minimal over oxidation. This discovery could drastically reduce capital and energy cost compared to current commercial processes. This paper has attracted enormous attention and excitement among academics as well as scientists from industry.

Professor Hermans is also heavily involved in the catalysis community, serving on several committees and boards; he has multiple editorial commitments, and is actively involved in leadership roles with organizations internationally for sharing science. He is an authority in selective oxidation chemistry, Lewis acidic zeolites and alkane oxidative dehydrogenation,

Conference Details

Conference Topics

  • Catalysis for biomass oxidation
  • Electrocatalysis and photocatalysis
  • Catalysis of polymers for medical applications
  • Catalysis for specialty chemicals and pharmaceuticals
  • Catalysis to enable production of chemicals from sustainable sources
  • Advances in sustainable and base metal catalysis
  • Catalyst characterization and study of reaction and deactivation pathways

Important Dates

  • Award Nominations Call: 15 May 2017
  • Award Nominations Due: 15 September 2017
  • Awards Notifications: 1 November 2017
  • Abstract Submissions Due: 30 November 2017
  • Abstract Acceptance Notification: 30 November 2017
  • Conference Registration Opens: 1 November 2017
  • Conference Dates: 8-12 April 2018
  • Venue : Catamaran Resort and Spa, San Diego, CA USA

Short Course

Sunday, April 8th, 2018, 1:00-4:00 pm

Key characteristics, preparation methods, diversity and applications of heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysts.

Douglas Grotjahn, San Diego State University.

Robert McNair, Johnson Matthey.

Conference Travel

Golf Outing

Details Coming Soon

Award Winners

  • Dr. Ive Hermans
  • Dr. Yuriy Roman-Leshkov
  • Dr. Raghunath V. Chaudhari
  • Dr. Huw M. L. Davies