T. Ross Kelly Lab

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

Over the years, this research group has accomplished the total synthesis of approximately four dozen natural products. Individual natural products that we choose as targets range from structurally simple to complex. They are 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 we have completed of late 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 is the design and synthesis of what might be called molecular devices. The initial example was the first molecular brake (9->10). More recently, we reported the results of our studies on molecular “ratchets” (11). We have now also devised a related system that achieves unidirectional rotation. To wit, we have accomplished a prototype (12) of a molecular motor by using the energy-rich chemical phosgene to power clockwise-only rotation in this molecule. Work is currently underway to optimize 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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