Shelley Minteer

Shelley Minteer

The University of Utah’s Center for Synthetic Organic Electrochemistry (CSOE) is proud to announce that they received a $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to fund the CSOE’s Phase II development to improve the sustainability of synthetic chemistry. CSOE’s mission is to promote a safer alternative to traditional organic synthesis methods.

“If you think about industry, whether industry is making a pharmaceutical or a plastic, they’re doing a synthesis in an organic solvent and typically at high temperatures and sometimes at high pressures with possibly explosive materials. This is because most of the synthesis require oxidation or reduction reactions that typically is done chemically and not electrochemically. Those chemicals can cause safety issues when it comes to making pharmaceuticals and other value-added products,” says Shelley Minteer, professor of chemistry and CSOE director. (more…)

(Learn more about electrochemical engineering and pharmaceutical compounds, visit us at AiMES 2018 in Cancun, Mexico from September 30 – October 4, 2018.)

Carbon-nitrogen bonds are the stuff pharmaceuticals are made of. And according to Cornell University, they’re so essential that over 85 percent of the top selling pharmaceuticals have at least one carbon-nitrogen bond. That is to say, advances in carbon-nitrogen bond technology would mean great advances to the drug industry.

Song Lin, a Cornell University researcher in the chemistry and chemical biology field and ECS member of the organic and biologic division, is working on doing just that. He says that with electrochemistry, a process that directly uses electricity to drive chemical reactions, it would be possible to create carbon-nitrogen bonds in a sustainable manner. The only problem is that electrochemical reactions often do not offer the chemical selectivity and efficiency needed to accomplish a particular transformation – a problem Lin and his team are working to solve.