Upcoming Seminars & Events

Professor Véronique Gouverneur

Professor Véronique Gouverneur
University of Oxford – Chemistry Research Laboratory – Oxford (UK)
Abstract

18F-Radiochemistry for Positron Emission Tomography Imaging

Positron emission tomography (PET) is a powerful molecular imaging technology to interrogate biological processes in vivo, diagnosis and drug development. Fifteen years ago, PET was far from being used to its full potential because of the difficulties associated with the production of 18F-radiotracers. Our objective was to expand the toolbox of radiochemical transformations for 18F-C bond formation and to enable the 18F-labelling of novel fluorine-containing motifs that can enhance radiotracer efficacy. Key contributions are the development of: (1) new 18F-labelled reagents including 18F-NFSI, 18F-Selectfluor bis(triflate), 18F-CuCF3, 18F-Umemoto, 18F-Langlois, 18F-Hines/Hu; (2) metal free and transition metal mediated strategies for the 18F-labeling of fluoro(hetero)arenes; (3) strategies for the 18F-labelling of -CF3, -CF2H, -OCF3, -SCF3, -OCHF2, -OCH2CF2H substituted radioligands; (4) asymmetric 18F-fluorination, and (5) novel strategies for the 18F-labelling of biologics. These advances will be discussed with selected applications to radiopharmaceuticals for patient care. This body of work has allowed medicinal chemists to decide much earlier in the drug discovery pipeline whether or not to pursue potential drug candidates.

Véronique Gouverneur

Véronique Gouverneur was born in Geel (Belgium) and received her undergraduate degree in chemistry at the Université Catholique de Louvain where she carried out research in the laboratory of Professor Léon Ghosez. She completed her doctoral studies in the same laboratory in 1991, and then joined the group of Professor Richard Lerner at the Scripps Research Institute as a postdoctoral fellow in 1992. In 1994, she moved to Strasbourg and was appointed Maître de Conferences at the University Louis Pasteur in the laboratory of Dr Charles Mioskowski, and Associate Member of the Institut de Science et d’Ingénierie Supramoléculaires, being mentored by Professor Jean-Marie Lehn. Dr Gouverneur began her independent career at the University of Oxford in 1998 as a University Lecturer and a Tutorial Fellow at Merton College. Ten years later, she became professor of chemistry. In 2022, she was appointed Waynflete Professor of Chemistry (Statutory Professorship, Magdalen College), and she founded FluoRok, a spin-out of the University of Oxford, where she is currently serving as non-executive director. 

Professor Gouverneur’s research has focused on the design and invention of new strategies for the synthesis of fluorine-containing molecules, an area of research that can directly benefit numerous sectors in the life sciences and materials science. In 2007, she started research on 18F radiochemistry for applications in Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging, a new direction considered at the time as highly specialized, not anymore as this field is rapidly expanding due to the importance of molecular imaging techniques for patient care, precision medicine, and drug development. This research has closed the gap in innovation between 19F-chemistry and 18F-radiochemistry, with the invention of numerous  18F-labelling processes. Some of the methods she has developed are routinely employed to access  18F-radiotracers for applications in PET. More recently, she has initiated a new programme on circular and safe fluorine chemistry. 

Professor Gouverneur’s research contributions have been recognized with numerous international awards, including ACS Arthur Cope C. Award (2022, USA), EuChemS Female Organic Chemist of the Year Award (2022, EuChemS), Prix Henri Moissan (2021, France), RSC Organic Stereochemistry Award (2019, UK), the Prelog Medal, ETH Zurich (2019, Switzerland), Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award (2018, UK), RSC Tilden Prize (2016, UK), Tetrahedron Chair BOSS XV (2016, Belgium), ACS Award for Creative Work in Fluorine Chemistry (2015, USA), Chair Internationale de Recherche Blaise Pascal ENS/CEA, Saclay (2012, France), Distinguished Woman in Chemistry Award/ACS Challenge Year of Chemistry Celebration (2011, IUPAC), Liebig Lectureship Award of the Organic Division of the German Chemical Society (2011, Germany) and the RSC Bader Award (2008, UK). 

Gouverneur was elected an International Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2022), Fellow of the Royal Society (2019), Fellow of the European Academy of Sciences (EURASC) (2017), Fellow Royal Society of Chemistry (2010). She served as Chair RSC Journal Chemical Communications from 2016-2019.

Hosted by Professor William Pomerantz

Learn more about the Gassman Lectureship in Chemistry

Professor Véronique Gouverneur

Professor Véronique Gouverneur
University of Oxford – Chemistry Research Laboratory – Oxford (UK)
Abstract

Rethinking Fluorine Chemistry with Global Challenges in Mind

Fluoro chemicals are key for fundamental and applied sciences including applications in medicine, agrochemistry and material science. The starting point of the entire fluorochemical industry is the conversion of acid grade fluorspar into hydrogen fluoride (HF) with sulfuric acid, a reaction first reported in 1771 by Swedish chemist Carl Scheele, and still in use today. The process requires considerable expertise and know-how due to the highly hazardous nature of HF. The supply chain of HF, which is transported either as liquefied gas or in solution as fluorohydric acid, is equally demanding and high maintenance. In this lecture, we will explore pathways to rejuvenate fluorine chemistry with ground-breaking methodologies that convert fluorspar into critically needed fluorine-containing molecules applying operationally simple and energy- effective methods that bypass the production of hydrogen fluoride.

Véronique Gouverneur

Véronique Gouverneur was born in Geel (Belgium) and received her undergraduate degree in chemistry at the Université Catholique de Louvain where she carried out research in the laboratory of Professor Léon Ghosez. She completed her doctoral studies in the same laboratory in 1991, and then joined the group of Professor Richard Lerner at the Scripps Research Institute as a postdoctoral fellow in 1992. In 1994, she moved to Strasbourg and was appointed Maître de Conferences at the University Louis Pasteur in the laboratory of Dr Charles Mioskowski, and Associate Member of the Institut de Science et d’Ingénierie Supramoléculaires, being mentored by Professor Jean-Marie Lehn. Dr Gouverneur began her independent career at the University of Oxford in 1998 as a University Lecturer and a Tutorial Fellow at Merton College. Ten years later, she became professor of chemistry. In 2022, she was appointed Waynflete Professor of Chemistry (Statutory Professorship, Magdalen College), and she founded FluoRok, a spin-out of the University of Oxford, where she is currently serving as non-executive director. 

Professor Gouverneur’s research has focused on the design and invention of new strategies for the synthesis of fluorine-containing molecules, an area of research that can directly benefit numerous sectors in the life sciences and materials science. In 2007, she started research on 18F radiochemistry for applications in Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging, a new direction considered at the time as highly specialized, not anymore as this field is rapidly expanding due to the importance of molecular imaging techniques for patient care, precision medicine, and drug development. This research has closed the gap in innovation between 19F-chemistry and 18F-radiochemistry, with the invention of numerous  18F-labelling processes. Some of the methods she has developed are routinely employed to access  18F-radiotracers for applications in PET. More recently, she has initiated a new programme on circular and safe fluorine chemistry. 

Professor Gouverneur’s research contributions have been recognized with numerous international awards, including ACS Arthur Cope C. Award (2022, USA), EuChemS Female Organic Chemist of the Year Award (2022, EuChemS), Prix Henri Moissan (2021, France), RSC Organic Stereochemistry Award (2019, UK), the Prelog Medal, ETH Zurich (2019, Switzerland), Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award (2018, UK), RSC Tilden Prize (2016, UK), Tetrahedron Chair BOSS XV (2016, Belgium), ACS Award for Creative Work in Fluorine Chemistry (2015, USA), Chair Internationale de Recherche Blaise Pascal ENS/CEA, Saclay (2012, France), Distinguished Woman in Chemistry Award/ACS Challenge Year of Chemistry Celebration (2011, IUPAC), Liebig Lectureship Award of the Organic Division of the German Chemical Society (2011, Germany) and the RSC Bader Award (2008, UK). 

Gouverneur was elected an International Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2022), Fellow of the Royal Society (2019), Fellow of the European Academy of Sciences (EURASC) (2017), Fellow Royal Society of Chemistry (2010). She served as Chair RSC Journal Chemical Communications from 2016-2019.

Hosted by Professor William Pomerantz

Learn more about the Gassman Lectureship in Chemistry

Professor Alexander Spokoyny

Professor Alexander Spokoyny
Department of Chemistry
University of California, Irvine
Abstract

Organometallic Strategies for Modifying Biomolecules

Over the past decade, we and others have been engaged in developing a toolbox of organometallic reagents that can transfer complex functional groups onto biomolecules. This talk will describe some historical perspectives, reagent design considerations, and state-of-the-art chemistry that was discovered and developed in our laboratories. Specifically, I will highlight how this recent emergence of organometallic chemistry for the modification of biomolecular nanostructures has begun to rewrite the long-standing assumption among practitioners that small-molecule organometallics are fundamentally incompatible with biological systems. As research progresses, many of the challenges associated with applying organometallic chemistry in this context are being reassessed. Looking to the future, the growing utility of the organometallic transformations we and others have been developing will likely make them more ubiquitous in the construction and modification of biomolecular nanostructures. As such, I will also highlight several key emerging opportunities in this area of research.

Alexander Spokoyny

Professor Alexander Spokoyny is a professor and chair of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department at UCLA and a faculty member of the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI). He received his Ph.D. degree from Northwestern University in inorganic chemistry in 2011 and conducted a post-doctoral stint at MIT in chemical biology. His group’s research focuses on fundamental synthetic chemistry challenges that can be further applied to address pressing problems in biology, medicine, and materials science. Over his career, he has co-authored more than 100 research manuscripts and received numerous national and international awards, including being named a 2024 Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC), receiving the 2020 Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, the 2019 National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the 2018 Cottrell Scholar from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, the 2017 Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship in Chemistry, the 2017 NIH/NIGMS Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA), the 2016 Chemical and Engineering News (C&EN) Talented 12, the 2016 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award, the 2013 Grand Poster Prize from the American Peptide Society, the 2012 International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) Prize for Young Chemists, and the 2011 American Chemical Society Inorganic Young Investigator Award. His research has been highlighted by the popular press, including Science, Nature, C&EN, Cell Press, RSC, and other news outlets. At UCLA, Spokoyny has also been engaged in efforts to broaden scientific literacy among non-STEM undergraduates and students incarcerated at state prison facilities. For his efforts, he has received the 2021 UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award and the 2022 UCLA Community Service and Praxis (DEI) Award.

Hosted by Professor Ian Tonks

Professor Robert S. Paton

Professor Robert S. Paton
Department of Chemistry
Colorado State University
Abstract

Data-driven predictions of organic reactivity and selectivity

Quantum chemical models of reaction mechanism and selectivity provide a powerful tool to explain the outcome of laboratory experiments. However, since many reactions involve several steps and multiple conformers, the computational expense of QM approaches often prevent their application to predict reaction outcomes more broadly. Surrogate machine-learning models with quantum chemical accuracy at a fraction of the computational cost are set to transform the accessibility of computational predictions of reactivity and selectivity. I will discuss machine learning efforts utilizing knowledge and data from QM studies to generate surrogate models for the large-scale prediction of various atomic and molecular properties. We have developed graph neural networks to predict computational and experimental observables such as spin density, chemical shift, thermochemistry and reactivity. In this talk I discuss the performance of these models in high-throughput predictions of reactivity and selectivity of heteroaromatics and in goal- directed molecular optimization of stable organic radicals, along with strategies to improve model transferability.

Robert Paton

Dr. Robert Paton is a Professor of Chemistry and the inaugural holder of the Marshall Fixman and Branka Ladanyi Professorship at Colorado State University. Research in the Paton group is focused on the development and application of computational tools to accelerate chemical discovery. Paton has received the Harrison-Meldola Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), an Outstanding Junior Faculty Award from the ACS Computers in Chemistry Division, the Silver Jubilee Prize of the Molecular Graphics and Modeling Society and is a Fellow of the RSC. The Paton group enjoy collaborative research and are members of the NSF Center for Computer- Assisted Synthesis (C-CAS), the NSF Molecular Maker Lab Institute (MMLI), and the Center for Sustainable Photoredox Catalysis.

Hosted by Suman Bhaumik

Past Seminars & Events

Link to Chemistry seminar recordings