Symposium 2022 'Chemistry Blown Up: Zooming in on the details'

Dr. Trevor Hamlin

Department of Theoretical Chemistry
Amsterdam Institute of Molecular and Life Sciences (AIMMS)
Amsterdam Center for Multiscale Modeling (ACMM)
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1083, 1081 HV Amsterdam (The Netherlands)

E: t.a.hamlin@vu.nl, W: https://www.theochem.nl/


Understanding Chemical Reactivity Using the Activation Strain Model

Understanding chemical reactivity, using state-of-the-art computational techniques,
allows chemists to both predict reactivity and rationally design novel reactions. This talk
aims to provide critical insight into a powerful and robust method for analyzing and
understanding any chemical reaction using the Activation Strain Model[1] of reactivity. The
ASM relates the relative energy of a molecular system (E) to the sum of the energies
required to distort the reactants into the geometries required to react (Estrain), plus the
strength of their mutual interactions (Eint). The use of this methodology has been proven
to be crucial for the understanding of reactions, spanning the realms of the inorganic,
organic, as well as supramolecular and biochemical fields. Application of the ASM to
understand and rationalize the reactivity of Lewis acid catalyzed reactions,
[2] the intrinsic E2 vs SN2 competition,[3] and some other reactions will be discussed.

[1] a) Chem. Commun. 2021, 57, 5880-5896; b) Nature Protoc. 2020, 15, 649–667; c) Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2017,
56, 10070–10088.
[2] a) Chem. Eur. J. 2021, 27, 10610–10620; b) Acc. Chem. Res. 2021, 54, 1972–1981; c) Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.
2020, 59, 6201–6206; d) Chem. Sci. 2020, 11, 8105–8112; e) Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2019, 58, 8922–8926.
[3] a) J. Org. Chem. 2022, 87, 1805–1813; b) J. Org. Chem. 2020, 85, 14087–14093; c) Chem. Eur. J. 2020, 26,

Prof. Dr. Sarah O'Connor

Department of Natural Product Biosynthesis, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology

Hans-Knöll-Straße 8, 07745 Jena, Germany


Harnessing the chemistry of plant natural product biosynthesis

Plants, which make thousands of complex natural products, are outstanding chemists. Through the concerted action of enzymes that are assembled into metabolic pathways, nature creates enormous chemical complexity from simple starting materials. This talk will highlight the discovery process for enzymes that catalyze unusual or unprecedented enzymatic transformations, mechanistic and structural characterization of these enzymes, and methods by which these enzymes can be harnessed for metabolic engineering to generate pharmacological important compounds. A variety of different plants and molecules are used for these studies, most notably the monoterpene indole alkaloids and the monoterpenes known as iridoids.

Prof. Dr. Edwin Otten

Stratingh Institute for Chemistry

University of Groningen, 9747 AG Groningen, The Netherlands


Stable organic radicals - from catalysis to energy storage

Organic radicals, i.e., compounds that possess an unpaired electron, are often considered to be highly reactive. However, with the proper precautions they can in fact be rendered stable and have interesting properties as a result. In this presentation I will highlight some of the important applications of organic radicals in the context of catalysis and energy storage, scientific fields in which electron transfer reactions play a key role. The talk will zoom in on the details of recent results from the research carried out in my group, and demonstrate how stable organic ligands can be used to (i) change the course of a chemical reaction (lactide polymerization), and (ii) store electrical energy (in a redox flow battery). 

Dr. Hugo van Oosterhout

Chief Chemist – Zeolyst C.V.


Zeolites and their derived products are one of the (often-overlooked) foundational materials of our current society. From traditional uses in oil refining and detergents to applications in gas purification, denitrification and protecting fibre-optic filaments, zeolites have proven themselves a versatile and effective solution to many of our challenges. Although academic attention for these materials has somewhat diminished, new and more sustainable applications for these materials keep being developed and implemented. 

The future prospective for zeolite products is excellent, not only due to the constant innovation but also for the tried and tested production expertise. They do not only fill a pivotal role in our increasingly sustainable society, production of these often surprisingly complex products is following the same trend. 

Zeolyst International, a subsidiary of Ecovyst Inc. is a major, state of the art, global producer of high-quality zeolites, with sites in the US: Kansas City and Conshohocken, and the Netherlands: Delfzijl through Zeolyst C.V. 

During my presentation, I will introduce you to the inspiring world of (commercial) zeolite production and give an insight in the unique approaches and challenges that Zeolyst has to offer.

Prof. Dr. Bill Morandi

Laboratorium für Organische Chemie, ETH Zürich, CH



Shuttle Catalysis – A Conceptual Blueprint for Reversible Functional Group Transfer

In this presentation, the concept of shuttle catalysis will be introduced and several recent
examples of such reactions will be presented. Next, another emerging class of reversible
transformations, single-bond metathesis, will be presented including new catalytic methods
as well as their application to materials science.

Selected references:
“Catalytic Reversible Alkene-Nitrile Interconversion through Controllable Transfer Hydrocyanation”
X. Fang, P. Yu, B. Morandi*, Science 2016, 351, 832.

“Merging Shuttle Reactions and Paired Electrolysis for Reversible Vicinal Dihalogenations”
X. Dong, J. Röckl, S. R. Waldvogel*, B. Morandi*, Science 2021, 371, 507.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abf2974

“Palladium-Catalyzed Carbon-Sulfur or Carbon-Phosphorus Bond Metathesis by Reversible Arylation”
Z. Lian, B. N. Bhawal, P. Yu, B. Morandi*, Science 2017, 356, 1059.

“Preparation of Recyclable and Versatile Porous Poly-Arylthioethers by Reversible Pd-Catalysed C–S/C–S
M. R. Rivero-Crespo, G. Toupalas, B. Morandi*, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021, 143, 21331.

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