Vuk wins poster prize at SCF-18

Vuk Vuković has won the EuCheMS poster prize at the 18th meeting of the French Chemical Society (SCF), held this week in Montpellier. His poster described the use of HFIP to enable dehydrative Friedel-Crafts reactions for a variety of alcohols. Way to go, Vuk!

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New publication

Ed, Jing and Vuk’s paper in Chemical Science shows that hexafluoroisopropanol solvent enables simple monosubstituted cyclopropanes to undergo ring-opening hydroarylation – no donor-acceptor motif required. A good chunk of this work came from Jing’s M2 internship in our group. Special thanks to the Rowley group from Memorial University in Canada for the DFT calculations. Congrats to all!

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New publication

Our second paper on the chemical origins of life is published in Nature Ecology & Evolution. We show that metallic iron powder fixes carbon dioxide as acetate and pyruvate much like the Acetyl CoA pathway, an ancient biological pathway used by microbes to build themselves. It represents a rare “chemistry-up” experiment that connects with the current “biology-down” understanding of early life. Congrats to Sreejith, Kamila and Paul! Free read-only version here. Paywall version here. Also check out the accompanying Behind the Paper post here.

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New publication

Ed and Vuk’s paper on the accelerating effect of HFIP solvent on nucleophilic ring-opening of donor-acceptor cyclopropanes has been published in Organic Letters. Congrats!

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Paul, Florent and Shaofei join the group

The fourth incoming class of PhD students joins the group. Paul Chatelain (MRT fellowship) returned this October to continue his MSc work on protometabolism. Florent Noel (Région Alsace fellowship) and Shaofei Zhang (CSC fellowship) arrived in November to initiate a new project on directed Brønsted acid catalysis. A warm welcome to all three!