T. Ross Kelly Lab

Boston College
Chemistry Dept.
Merkert Center
140 Comm. Ave
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

Over the years, the Kelly research group accomplished the total synthesis of approximately four dozen natural products. Individual natural products that were chosen as targets ranged from structurally simple to complex. They were selected as objectives because their architectures are novel and have not been synthesized previously. Many also have important biological activities. Lactonamycin (1) serves as a case in point, because it not only possesses an unprecedented structure, but also because it has outstanding antibiotic activity against bacteria that are resistant to current antibiotics. Natural products whose synthesis has been completed in recent years include azacridone A (2), nigellicine (3), HKI 0231B (4), pterocellin A (5), nostocine A (6), pseudoiodinine (7) and santiagonamine (8).

A second main area of research was the design and synthesis of what might be called molecular devices. The initial example was the first molecular brake (9->10). This was followed by studies on molecular “ratchets” (11). A related system that achieved unidirectional rotation was devised followed by the development of a prototype (12) of a molecular motor that used energy-rich chemical phosgene to power clockwise-only rotation in the molecule. Further refinements were made with the aim of optimizing the system so that it rotates continuously (13) (see animation) and rivals the speed of its biological and mechanical counterparts.

BS (Honors) 1964, Holy Cross College

Ph.D. 1968, University of California, Berkeley (C. H. Heathcock)

Postdoc 1968-9, Brandeis University (J. B. Hendrickson)


Honors and Awards NSF Trainee 1965-68

NIH Postdoctoral Fellow 1968-1969

NIH Research Career Development Award 1975-80

Thomas A. and Margaret A. Vanderslice Professor of Chemistry 1989-

Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award (American Chemical Society) 1996

Teacher of the Year Award (Boston College Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa) 2004

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