My research interests are in the area of organic synthesis and chemistry. My research group takes a synthetic view of organic, organometallic, polymer and materials chemistry. We are involved in a number of interdisciplinary research projects in collaboration with groups in other disciplines. One of the current interdisciplinary projects in the area of organic materials chemistry is in collaboration with Prof. Stephen Ducharme’s research group in the UNL physics and materials science department. The goal is to improve the performance of piezoelectric devices made from polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) and other synthetic polymers by nanoscale material structuring. In addition, my group is interested in the use of metal-directed self-assembly to prepare new metal-organic materials with unusual optical properties.
Another ongoing interdisciplinary project is directed at the design, synthesis, and evaluation of antimicrobial agents that inhibit a novel class of microbial enzymes. This project grew from the collaboration with Prof. Stephen Ragsdale in the UNL Biochemistry Department and Prof. Jess Miner in the UNL Animal Science Department.
Other current projects include the design, discovery and development of new synthetic methods based on transition metal-catalyzed carbon-carbon bond forming reactions, the development of novel combinatorial and parallel methods for catalyst discovery and optimization, the application of these new methods to the total synthesis of natural products, and the design and development of enantioselective catalyst systems with potential for environmentally benign chemical synthesis. The typical graduate or postdoctoral student in my group can expect to receive extensive training in organic synthesis and significant exposure to one or more of the following specialties: organometallic chemistry and catalysis; parallel methods and combinatorial chemistry; asymmetric synthesis; the design of tight-binding enzyme inhibitors; polymer chemistry; or organic materials chemistry.
Sean M. Smith, Gia L. Hoang, Rhitankar Pal, Mohammad O. Bani Khaled, Liberty S. W. Pelter, Xiao Cheng Zeng and James M. Takacs, “γ-Selective directed catalytic asymmetric hydroboration of 1,1-disubstituted alkenes,” Chemical Communications, 2012, 48(100), 12180-12182 (Published on the Web November 5, 2012; DOI: 10.1039/C2CC36199J)
Nathan C. Thacker, Judit Toth, Judy L. Miska, Raul G. Barletta, and James M. Takacs, “Preparation and Resolution of (D)-Cycloserine and 13C-labeled (D)-Cycloserine,” Heterocyles 2012, 86(2), 1575-1582; (Special issue in honor of Professor Dr. Ei-ichi Negishi on 77th Birthday; Published Online October 2012; DOI: 10.3987/COM-12-12553).
Nathan C. Thacker, Shin A. Moteki, and James M. Takacs, “Ligand Scaffold Optimization of a Supramolecular Hydrogenation Catalyst: Analyzing the Influence of Key Structural Subunits on Reactivity and Selectivity,” ACS Catalysis, 2012, 2, 2743-2752 (Published on the Web November 5, 2012; DOI: 10.1021/cs300465u).
Shin A. Moteki, Kazuya Toyama, Zeyu Liu, Jing Ma, Andrea Holmes and James M. Takacs, “Two-Stage Optimization of a Supramolecular Catalyst for Catalytic Asymmetric Hydroboration,” Chemical Communications, 2012, 48(2), 263-265 (Published Online 11/17/11, DOI: 10.1039/c1cc16146f).
Carolina C. Ilie, Luis G. Rosa, Matt Poulsen and James M. Takacs “Water Absorption and Subsequent Lattice Changes in the Crystalline Poly(Methyl Vinylidene Cyanide) and in the Ferroelectric Poly(Vinylidene Fluoride with Trifluoroethylene),” Integrated Ferroelectrics, 2011, 125:1, 98-103 (DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1080/10584587.2011.574085).
Sean M. Smith, Maulen Uteuliyev, and James M. Takacs, “Catalytic Asymmetric Hydroboration of β,γ-Unsaturated Weinreb Amides: Striking Influence of the Borane,”Chemical Communications, 2011, 47(27), 7812-7814 DOI: 10.1039/C1CC11746G. This article is part of the New Advances In Catalytic C--C Bond Formation Via Late Transition Metals web themed issue; Guest editor: Prof. Michael Krische. All articles in this issue are gathered together online.