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Travis J. Williams

Professor of Chemistry
Organic and Organometallic Chemistry
2005-2007 NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award
2011-2016 NSF CAREER Award

Ph.D., 2005, Stanford University
B.S., 1998, California Institute of Technology
Office: LHI 104
Phone: (213) 740-5961
Fax: (213) 740-6679
 Group Homepage

Research Focus


New Approaches to Hydride Manipulation

We are developing new catalysts and conditions to manipulate hydrides such as various C-H and other X-H bonds. Particularly, we're interested in coordinatively directed hydride abstraction and new reactions for complex molecule synthesis that feature C-H activation. It's like a "carrot and stick" approach, in which a Lewis acid directing group directs a target substrate to a reactive metal center.

To achieve these goals, we will employ strategies of catalyst design, thus exploring novel organometallic and coordination chemistry, and target-oriented new organic reaction development.

Chemical Probes for Biology and Medicine

Simultaneously and synergistically with our organometallic work, we are devising conceptually novel chemical tools for research and clinical use. Along these lines, we are currently developing the first ultrasound-activated MRI contrast agent.

Selected publications

1 Demianets, I., Hunt, J. R., Dawlaty, J. M., Williams, T. J. (2019). Optical pKa Control in a Bifunctional Iridium Complex. Organometallics. Vol. 38, pp. ASAP. DOI: 10.1021/acs.organomet.8b00778.
2 Lauridsen, P. J., Lu, Z., Celaje, J. J., Kedzie, E. A., Williams, T. J. (2018). Conformational Twisting of a Formate-Bridged Diiridium Complex Enables Catalytic Formic Acid Dehydrogenation. Dalton Trans.. Vol. 47, pp. In press. DOI: 10.1039/C8DT03268H.
3 Smock, S. R., Williams, T. J., Brutchey, R. L. (2018). Quantifying the Thermodynamics of Ligand Binding to CsPbBr3 Quantum Dots. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.. Vol. 57, pp. 11711-11715. DOI: 10.1002/anie.201806.
4 Coricello, A., Adams, J. D., Lein, E., Nguyen, C., Perri, F., Williams, T. J., Aiello, F. (2018). A Walk in Nature. Sesquiterpene Lactones as Multi-Target Agents Involved in Inflammatory Pathways. Curr. Med. Chem.. Vol. 25, pp. in press. DOI: 10.2174/0929867325666180719111123.
5 Lu, Z., Cherepakhin, V., Demianets, I., Lauridsen, P. J., Williams, T. J. (2018). Iridium-Based Hydride Transfer Catalysts: from Hydrogen Storage to Fine Chemicals. Chem. Commun.. Vol. 54, pp. 7711-7724. DOI: 10.1039/C8CC03412E.
6 Lo, J., Nutt, S. R., Williams, T. J. (2018). Recycling Benzoxazine-Epoxy Composites via Catalytic Oxidation. ACS Sustain. Chem. Eng.. Vol. 6, pp. 7227–7231. DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.8b01790.
7 Lo, J., Zhang, X., Williams, T. J., Nutt, S. R. (2018). Eliminating Porosity in an RTM Benzxoazine Resin. J. Composite Materials. pp. 1481-1493. DOI: 10.1177/0021998317727048.
8 Lu, Z., Cherepakhin, V., Kapenstein, T., Williams, T. J. (2018). Upgrading Biodiesel from Vegetable Oils by Hydrogen Transfer to its Fatty Esters. ACS Sustain. Chem. Eng.. Vol. 6, pp. 5749–5753. DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.8b00653.
9 Cherepakhin, V., Williams, T. J. (2018). An Iridium Catalyst for Acceptorless Dehydrogenation of Alcohols to Carboxylic Acids. ACS Catal.. Vol. 8, pp. asap. DOI: 10.1021/acscatal.8b00105.
10 Navarro, C. A., Kedzie, E. A., Ma, Y., Michael, K. H., Nutt, S. R., Williams, T. J. (2018). Mechanism and Catalysis of Oxidative Degradation of Fiber-Reinforced Epoxy Composites. Top. Catal.. Vol. 61, pp. 704-709. DOI: 10.1007/s1124-018-0917-2.
11 Lee, H., Feakins, S. J., Lu, Z., Schimmelmann, A., Sessions, A. L., Tierney, J. E., Williams, T. J. (2017). Comparison of Three Methods for the Methylation of Aliphatic and Aromatic Compounds. Rapid Commun. Mass Spec.. Vol. 31, pp. 1633–1640. DOI: 10.1002/rcm.7947.
12 Zhang, X., Kam, L., Trerise, R., Williams, T. J. (2017). Ruthenium-Catalyzed Ammonia Borane Dehydrogenation: Mechanism and Utility. Acc. Chem. Res.. pp. 86-95. DOI: 10.1021/acs.accounts.6b00482.
13 Celaje, J. J., Zhang, X., Zhang, F., Kam, L., Herron, J. R., Williams, T. J. (2017). A Base and Solvent-Free Ruthenium-Catalyzed Alkylation of Amines. ACS Catal.. Vol. 7, pp. 1136-1142. DOI: 10.1021/acscatal.6b03088.
14 Lu, Z., Williams, T. J. (2016). Di(carbene)-Supported Nickel Systems for CO2 Reduction Under Ambient Conditions. ACS Catal.. Vol. 6, pp. 6670-6673. DOI: 10.1021/acscatal.6b02101.
15 Celaje, J. J., Lu, Z., Kedzie, E. A., Terrile, N. J., Lo, J. N., Williams, T. J. (2016). A Prolific Catalyst for Dehydrogenation of Neat Formic Acid. Nature Commun.. Vol. 7, pp. 11308. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms11308.
16 Williams, T. J., Zhang, X., Kam, L. (2016). Dehydrogenation of Ammonia Borane through the Third Equivalent of Hydrogen. Dalton Trans.. Vol. 45, pp. 7672-7677. DOI: 10.1039/c6dt00604c.
17 Lu, Z., Demianets, I., Hamze, R., Terrile, N. J., Williams, T. J. (2016). A Prolific Catalyst for Selective Conversion of Neat Glycerol to Lactic Acid. ACS Catal.. Vol. 6, pp. 2014-2017. DOI: 10.1021/acscatal.5b02732.
18 Zhang, X., Zhiyao, L., Lena, F. K., Williams, T. J. (2015). Nitrogen-Based Ligands Accelerate Ammonia Borane Dehydrogenation with the Shvo Catalyst. Organometallics. Vol. 34 (15), pp. 3732-3738. DOI: 10.1021/acs.organomet.5b00409.
19 Williams, T. J., Wu, X., Dawsey, A. C., Siriwardena-Mahanama, B. N., Allen, M. J. (2014). A (Fluoroalkyl)Guanidine Modulates the Relaxivity of a Phosphonate-Containing T1-Shortening Contrast Agent. J. Fluorine Chem.. Vol. 168, pp. 177-183. DOI: 10.1016/j.jfluchem.2014.09.018.
20 Pennington-Boggio, M. K., Conley, B. L., Richmond, M. G., Williams, T. J. (2014). Synthesis, Structure, and Conformational Dynamics of Rhodium and Iridium Complexes of Dimethylbis(2-pyridyl)borate. Polyhedron. Vol. 35, pp. 24-31. DOI: 10.1016/j.poly.2014.05.042.
21 Boutemy, A., Filho, O. R., Adams, J. D., Williams, T. J. (2014). Adenostoma fasciculatum, California Chamise, Chemistry and Use in Skin Conditions. Integr. Med. Int.. Vol. 1, pp. 25-31. DOI: 10.1159/000362630.
22 Krylova, V. A., Djurovich, P. I., Conley, B. L., Haiges, R., Whited, M., Williams, T. J., Thompson, M. E. (2014). Control of Emission Colour with N-Heterocyclic Carbene (NHC) Ligands in Phosphorescent Three-Coordinate Cu(I) Complexes. Chem. Commun.. Vol. 50, pp. 7176-7179. DOI: 10.1039/C4CC02037E.
23 Celaje, J. A., Pennington-Boggio, M. K., Flaig, R. W., Williams, T. J. (2014). Synthesis and Characterization of Dimethyldi(2-pyridyl)borate Nickel(II) Complexes: A Unimolecular Square Planar to Square Planar Rotation Around Nickel(II). Organometallics. Vol. 33, pp. 2019–2026. DOI: 10.1021/om500173j.
24 Lu, Z., Williams, T. J. (2014). A Dual Site Catalyst for Mild, Selective Nitrile Reduction. Chem. Commun.. Vol. 50, pp. 5391-5393. DOI: 10.1039/C3CC47384H.
25 Li, V., Ghang, Y., Hooley, R. J., Williams, T. J. (2014). Non-Covalent Self Assembly Controls the Relaxivity of Bound Gd Complexes. Chem. Commun.. Vol. 50, pp. 1375-1377. DOI: 10.1039/C3CC48389D.
26 Li, V., Chang, A. Y., Williams, T. J. (2013). A Noncovalent, Fluoroalkyl Coating Monomer for Phosphonate-Covered Nanoparticles. Tetrahedron. pp. 7741-7745. DOI:10.1016/j.tet.2013.05.
27 Dawsey, A. C., Hathaway, K. L., Kim, S., Williams, T. J. (2013). Introductory Chemistry: A Molar Relaxivity Experiment in the High School Classroom. J. Chem. Educ.. Vol. 90, pp. 922-925. DOI: 10.1021/ed3006902.
28 Fontaine, P., Wong, V., Williams, T. J., Garcia, C., Adams, J. D. (2013). Chemical Composition and Antinociceptive Activity of California Sagebrush (Artemisia Californica). Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy. Vol. 5 (1), pp. 1-11. DOI 10.5897/JPP11.053.
29 Lu, Z., Malinoski, B., Flores, A. V., Guess, D., Conley, B., Williams, T. J. (2012). Alcohol Dehydrogenation with a Dual Site Ruthenium, Boron Catalyst Occurs at Ruthenium. Catalysts. Vol. 2, pp. 412-421. DOI:10.3390/catal2040412.
30 Lu, Z., Conley, B. L., Williams, T. J. (2012). [Cover] A Three-Stage Mechanistic Model for Ammonia–Borane Dehydrogenation by Shvo’s Catalyst. Organometallics. Vol. 31, pp. 6705–6714. DOI: 10.1021/om300562d.
31 Pennington-Boggio, M. K., Conley, B. L., Williams, T. J. (2012). A Ruthenium-Catalyzed Coupling of Alkynes with 1,3-Diketones. J. Organometallic Chem.. Vol. 716, pp. 6-10. DOI: 10.1016/j.jorganchem.2012.05.017.
32 Dawsey, A. C., Li, V., Hamilton, K. C., Jianmei, W., Williams, T. J. (2012). Copper-Catalyzed Oxidation of Azolines to Azoles. Dalton Trans.. Vol. 41, pp. 7994-8002. DOI: 10.1039/c2dt00025c.
33 Wu, X., Boz, E., Sirkis, A. M., Chang, A. Y., Williams, T. J. (2012). Synthesis and Phosphate Binding of Guanidine-Functionalized Fluorinated Amphiphiles. J. Fluorine Chem.. Vol. 135, pp. 195-218. DOI: 10.1016/j.jfluchem.2011.12.011.
34 Conley, B. L., Guess, D., Williams, T. J. (2011). A Robust, Air-Stable, Reusable Ruthenium Catalyst for Dehydro-genation of Ammonia Borane. J. Am. Chem. Soc.. Vol. 133, pp. 14212-14215. DOI: 10.1021/ja909858a.
35 Williams, T. J., Kershaw, A. D., Li, V., Wu, X. (2011). An Inversion Recovery NMR Experiment. J. Chem. Ed.. Vol. 88 (5), pp. 665-669. DOI: 10.1021/ed1006822.
36 Conley, B. L., Williams, T. J. (2011). Dual Site Catalysts for Hydride Manipulation. Comments Inorg. Chem.. (32), pp. 195-218. DOI:10.1080/02603594.2011.642087.
37 Conley, B. L., Williams, T. J. (2010). Dehydrogenation of Ammonia Borane by Shvo’s Catalyst. Chem. Commun.. (46), pp. 4815-4817. DOI: 10.1039/C003157G.
38 Conley, B. L., Williams, T. J. (2010). Thermochemistry and Molecular Structure of a Remarkable Agostic Interaction in a Heterobifunctional Ruthenium-Boron Complex. J. Am. Chem. Soc.. Vol. 132 (6), pp. 1764-1765. DOI: 10.1021/ja909858a.
39 Conley, B. L., Pennington-Boggio, M. K., Boz, E., Williams, T. J. (2010). Discovery, Applications, and Catalytic Mechanisms of Shvo’s Catalyst. Chem. Rev.. Vol. 110 (4), pp. 2294-2312. DOI: 10.1021/cr9003133.
40 Thorson, M. K., Klinkel, K. L., Wang, J., Williams, T. J. (2009). Mechanism of Hydride Abstraction by Cyclopentadienone-Ligated Metal Carbonyls (M = Ru, Fe). Eur. J. Inorg. Chem.. (2), pp. 295-302. DOI: 10.1002/ejic.200800975.
41 Williams, T. J., Caffyn, A. J., Hazari, N., Oblad, P. F., Labinger, J. A., Bercaw, J. E. (2008). C—H Bond Activation Mediated by Air-Stable [(diimineMII(OH)]22+ Dimers (M = Pd, Pt). J. Am. Chem. Soc.. Vol. 130, pp. 2418-2419.
42 Wender, P. A., Paxton, T. J., Williams, T. J. (2006). Rhodium Catalyzed [3+2] Cycloaddition Reactions of Cyclopropenones and Alkynes. J. Am. Chem. Soc.. Vol. 128, pp. 14814-14815.
43 Wender, P. A., Deschamps, N. M., Williams, T. J. (2004). The Intermolecular Dienyl Pauson-Khand Reaction. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.. Vol. 43, pp. 3076-3079.

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