Author: Mark Peczuh

Accumulating a foundation

Full Title: “Accumulating” a foundation: The philosophy behind organic cumulative exams1 Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time, put it best when he said, “Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.” Cumulative exams are about setting the foundation for your training. They are a signature part of […]

Twenty Year Takeaways

The headline from the recent “Building UConn Chemistry for Another 20 Years,” panel discussion wasn’t the whiz-bang technical stuff you might expect from an event like this, although that element was definitely present. What really jumped out were the timeless bits of advice from the panelists: “Challenge the conventional wisdom.” – Gary Brudvig, Yale University […]

Neighboring Group Participation

For Toni Planas, a sabbatical in rural Connecticut has accelerated a sweet collaboration with Mark Peczuh’s research group. The Glycosidase Team: (L to R) Sergi Pascual, Aditya Pote, Antoni Planas, Mark Peczuh Carbohydrate chemists are readily familiar with the concept of neighboring group participation (NPG), where the electrons of…

Hypocrellin A, With a Twist

Some time ago my research group stumbled upon a family of macrocycles whose structure contained a somewhat uncommon stereogenic element, a plane of chirality. A plane of chirality arises when restricted rotation around a planar unit in a molecule leads to the formation of stereoisomers. The textbook example (seriously, look at Eliel) is E-cyclooctene. The […]

Still Working Toward Convergence in Total Synthesis

I was at the Natural Products and Bioactive Compounds Gordon Research Conference (GRC) last summer. During the usual free time one afternoon, there was a roundtable discussion about the challenges faced by women in science and strategies to overcome those challenges. The conversation was promoted by the GRC organization, which made sure there was an […]

How to Organize your Orgo Lecture Notebook

  With the hope of sharing best-practices for success in introductory orgo lecture, I asked an undergrad in my department (John Ovian) what he recommended. He gave me a sheet that explained how he organized his notebook and how his notebook became a valuable tool for studying. Those notes, plus some design inspiration from the […]