James P. Morken

James P. Morken

Louise and James Vanderslice and Family
Professor of Chemistry

Ph.D. Boston College, 1995
NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University, 1995-1997

Selected Honors and Awards:
Sloan Foundation Fellow, 2004-2006
David and Lucile Packard Foundation Fellow, 1998-2003
Bristol-Myers Squibb Award, 2002

morken@bc.edu    617-552-6290
Fax: 617-552-2705

Group Research Website


Synthetic organic chemistry has undergone a paradigm shift over the past 15 years with new metal-catalyzed transformations enabling bond formation in ways that chemists previously only dreamed about. Realizing the impact that new catalytic asymmetric reactions will have on the continued evolution of organic synthesis, we have focused our research on the development of new processes and on studying their utility in complex molecule synthesis. Control of enantioselectivity is an overarching theme as adequate control of molecular shape is paramount in the design of effective therapeutics, materials, and commodity chemicals. Our progress towards these goals depends upon expertise in many areas of chemistry including organometallic chemistry, physical organic chemistry, and synthetic organic chemistry. Additionally, computational chemistry plays a central role in ligand design and in prediction of reaction outcomes.

Efforts in new reaction development are intimately intertwined with efforts in total synthesis of natural products. Our approaches to the natural products borrelidin, inostamycin, fraxinellone and dihydroxanthatin all served to highlight the utility of newly developed reactions and serve as a device to measure the limitations of catalytic methods. In addition to expanding the frontiers of chemistry, these studies prepare students for a variety of careers that involve the synthesis and manipulation of chemical structures.

Representative Key Publications:

“Synthesis of (+)-Discodermolide by Catalytic Stereoselective Borylation Reactions” Z. Yu, R. J. Ely, and J. P. Morken Angew. Chemie. Int. Ed. 2014, 126, 9786-9790.

“Congested C–C Bonds by Pd-Catalyzed Enantioselective Allyl–Allyl Cross-Coupling, a Mechanism-Guided Solution” M. J. Ardolino and J. P. Morken J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 7092-7100.

“A Catalytic Enantiotopic-Group-Selective Suzuki Reaction for the Construction of Chiral Organoboronates” C. Sun, B. Potter and J. P. Morken J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 6534-6537.

“Asymmetric Synthesis from Terminal Alkenes by Cascades of Diboration and Cross-Coupling” S. N. Mlynarski, C. H. Schuster and J. P. Morken Nature 2014, 505, 386-390.

“A Catalytic Enantioselective Tandem Allylation Strategy for Rapid Terpene Construction: Application to the Synthesis of Pumilaside Aglycon” G. E. Ferris, K. Hong, I. A. Roundtree and J. P. Morken J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013, 135, 2501-2504.

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Boston College Department of Chemistry

Merkert Center, Boston College, 2609 Beacon Street, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467-3860
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