2014 – present Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh
2010 – 2014 Postdoctoral Scholar, University of California, Los Angeles (advisor: Kendall N. Houk)
2006 – 2010 Ph.D. in Chemistry, University of California, Los Angeles (advisor: Kendall N. Houk)
2004 – 2006 M.Sc. in Chemistry, University of Guelph (advisor: John D. Goddard)
1999 – 2003 B.Sc. in Chemistry, Peking University (advisor: Wenjian Liu)
Chancellor's Award for Postdoctoral Research (UCLA) 2012
MBI Postdoctoral Award for Research Excellence (UCLA) 2012
Saul and Sylvia Winstein Award (UCLA) 2010
Majeti-Alapati Fellowship for Research in Organic Chemistry (UCLA) 2009
Excellence in First Year Academics and Research (UCLA) 2007
Computational Organic Chemistry
The Liu group use computational tools to study organic and organometallic reactions. We study how reactions occur, factors controlling rates and selectivity, and provide theoretical insights to help our experimental collaborators to develop improved catalysts and reagents.
Organocatalysis | Catalytic Site-selective Acylation of Carbohydrates Directed by Cation-n Interaction
Guozhi Xiao, Gabriel A. Cintron-Rosado, Daniel A. Glazier, Baomin Xi, Can Liu, Peng Liu*, and Weiping Tang*
J. Am. Chem. Soc., accepted, DOI: 10.1021/jacs.7b01412.
NHC-Boranes | Synthesis of Boriranes by Double Hydroboration Reactions of N-Heterocyclic Carbene Boranes and Dimethyl Acetylenedicarboxylate
Timothy R. McFadden, Cheng Fang, Steven J. Geib, Everett Merling, Peng Liu*, and Dennis P. Curran*
J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2017, 139, 1726–1729.
Multi-Tasking Catalysis | A Photoswitchable Olefin Metathesis Catalyst
Aaron J. Teator, Huiling Shao, Gang Lu, Peng Liu*, and Christopher W. Bielawski*
Organometallics, 2017, 36, 490–497.
Multi-Tasking Catalysis | A Ring-Opening Metathesis Polymerization Catalyst That Exhibits Redox-Switchable Monomer Selectivities
Dominika N. Lastovickova, Huiling Shao, Gang Lu, Peng Liu*, and Christopher W. Bielawski*
Chem. Eur. J., 2017, accepted. DOI: 10.1002/chem.201605738.
C–C Functionalization | Catalytic Activation of Carbon–Carbon Bonds in Cyclopentanones
Ying Xia, Gang Lu, Peng Liu*, and Guangbin Dong*
Nature, 2016, 539, 546–550.
C–H Functionalization | Benzazetidine Synthesis via Palladium-Catalyzed Intramolecular C−H Amination
Gang He*, Gang Lu, Zhengwei Guo, Peng Liu*, and Gong Chen*
Nature Chem., 2016, 8, 1131–1136.
Metal-Free C–H Functionalization | Photoredox-Mediated Minisci C−H Alkylation of N-Heteroarenes Using Boronic Acids and Hypervalent Iodine
Guo-Xing Li, Cristian A. Morales-Rivera, Yaxin Wang, Fang Gao, Gang He, Peng Liu*, and Gong Chen*
Chem. Sci., 2016, 7, 6407–6412.
Olefin Hydrofunctionalization | Copper-Catalyzed Asymmetric Addition of Olefin-Derived Nucleophiles to Ketones
Yang Yang, Ian B. Perry, Gang Lu, Peng Liu*, and Stephen L. Buchwald*
Science, 2016, 353, 144–150.
Transition Metal-Catalyzed Annulation | Rhodium(I)-Catalyzed Benzannulation of Heteroaryl Propargylic Esters: Synthesis of Indoles and Related Heterocycles
Xiaoxun Li, Haibo Xie, Xiaoning Fu, Jitian Liu, Hao-Yuan Wang, Bao-Min Xi,* Peng Liu,* Xiufang Xu,* and Weiping Tang*
Chem. Eur. J., 2016, 22, 10410–10414.
Metal-Free C–H Functionalization | Mechanistic Studies on Intramolecular C–H Trifluoromethoxylation of (Hetero)arenes via OCF3-Migration
Katarzyna N. Hojczyk, Zhen Lei, Cristian A. Morales-Rivera, Peng Liu, and Ming-Yu Ngai*
Org. Biomol. Chem., 2016, 14, 5599–5605.
(5 + 2) Cycloaddition | Rhodium-Catalyzed [5+2] Cycloaddition of Inverted 3-Acyloxy-1,4-enyne and Alkyne: Experimental and Theoretical Studies
Xiaoxun Li, Wangze Song, Xian-Liang Zhao, Xiaona Ke, Xiufang Xu,* Peng Liu, K. N. Houk, and Weiping Tang*
Chem. Eur. J., 2016, 22, 7079–7083.
Metal-Free ATRP | Mechanism of Photoinduced Metal-Free Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization: Experimental and Computational Studies
Xiangcheng Pan, Cheng Fang, Marco Fantin, Nikhil Malhotra , Woong Young So, Linda A. Peteanu, Abdirisak A. Isse, Armando Gennaro,* Peng Liu,* and Krzysztof Matyjaszewski*
J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2016, 138, 2411–2425.
Olefin Hydrofunctionalization | Mechanism and Origins of Ligand-Controlled Linear versus Branched Selectivity of Iridium-Catalyzed Hydroarylation of Alkenes
Genping Huang* and Peng Liu*
ACS Catal., 2016, 6, 809–820.
Organolithium | Fundamental Difference in Reductive Lithiations with Preformed Radical Anions versus Catalytic Aromatic Electron-Transfer Agents: N,N-Dimethylaniline as an Advantageous Catalyst
Nicole Kennedy,* Peng Liu, and Theodore Cohen*
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2016, 55, 383–386.
Organolithium | Reductive Lithiation in the Absence of Aromatic Electron Carriers. A Steric Effect Manifested on the Surface of Lithium Metal Leads to a Difference in Relative Reactivity Depending on Whether the Aromatic Electron Carrier is Present or Absent.
Nicole Kennedy,* Gang Lu, Peng Liu,* and Theodore Cohen*
J. Org. Chem., 2015, 80, 8571–8582.
Olefin Hydrofunctionalization | Catalytic Asymmetric Hydroamination of Unactivated Internal Olefins to Aliphatic Amines
Yang Yang, Shi-Liang Shi, Dawen Niu, Peng Liu, and Stephen L. Buchwald*
Science, 2015, 349, 62–66.
Catalytic assembly of enantiopure aliphatic amines from abundant and readily available precursors has long been recognized as a paramount challenge in synthetic chemistry. Here, we describe a mild and general copper-catalyzed hydroamination that effectively converts unactivated internal olefins—an important yet unexploited class of abundant feedstock chemicals—into highly enantioenriched α-branched amines (≥96% enantiomeric excess) featuring two minimally differentiated aliphatic substituents. (Full abstract)
C–C Activation | Computational Study of Rh-Catalyzed Carboacylation of Olefins: Ligand-Promoted Rhodacycle Isomerization Enables Regioselective C–C Bond Functionalization of Benzocyclobutenones
Gang Lu, Cheng Fang, Tao Xu, Guangbin Dong, and Peng Liu*
J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2015, 137, 8274–8283.
The mechanism, reactivity, regio- and enantioselectivity of the Rh-catalyzed carboacylation of benzocyclobutenones are investigated using DFT calculations. The calculations indicate that the selective activation of the relatively unreactive C1–C2 bond in benzocyclobutenone is achieved via initial C1–C8 bond oxidative addition, followed by rhodacycle isomerization via decarbonylation and CO insertion. (Full abstract)
Olefin Metathesis | Origins of Initiation Rate Differences in Ruthenium Olefin Metathesis Catalysts Containing Chelating Benzylidenes
Keary M. Engle, Gang Lu, Shao-Xiong Luo, Lawrence M. Henling, Michael K. Takase, Peng Liu,* K. N. Houk,* and Robert H. Grubbs*
J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2015, 137, 5782–5792.
A series of second-generation ruthenium olefin metathesis catalysts was investigated using a combination of reaction kinetics, X-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy, and DFT calculations in order to determine the relationship between the structure of the chelating o-alkoxybenzylidene and the observed initiation rate. The initiation rate was found to correlate strongly with the computed Ru–O bond strength. (Full abstract)
C–H Functionalization | Mechanism and Origins of Selectivities in the Copper-Catalyzed Dearomatization-Induced ortho C–H Cyanation of Vinylarenes
Yang Yang and Peng Liu*
ACS. Catal., 2015, 5, 2944–2951.
DFT calculations indicated this C–H cyanation is composed of two discrete catalytic cycles (the copper-catalyzed electrophilic cyanative dearomatization and the subsequent base-catalyzed hydrogen transposition) that furnish the ortho C–H cyanated arenes. (Full abstract)
Essay | Using Computational Chemistry to Understand & Discover Chemical Reactions
K. N. Houk and Peng Liu, Daedalus 2014, 143, 49–66.