John K. Snyder

John Snyder

Professor John Snyder

Degrees and Positions

  • B.S. in Chemistry, Denison University, 1973
  • M.S. in Organic Chemistry, University of Chicago, 1975
  • Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1979
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Columbia University, 1979 – 1983


  • Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching, Boston University, 1989
  • Henry and Camille Dreyfus Foundation, Newly Appointed Young Faculty in Chemistry, 1983
  • Research Fellowship, National Academy of Sciences, Committee for Scholarly Communication with the People’s Republic of China, 1983

As illustrated in the scheme, the Snyder Group has recently shown how highly substituted cyclohexadienes can be easily prepared in high yields using Rh(I) catalyzed cyclizations.


The Snyder Group focuses on both organic synthesis and the discovery of new synthetic methodology that allow for the synthesis of natural product type chemotypes that occupy new chemical space. These efforts explore novel applications of inverse electron demand Diels-Alder reactions, homo Diels-Alder reactions, and other chemistries in organic synthesis. They are also exploring the use of abundant natural products as scaffolds in the synthesis of small molecule libraries. The goal of this work is the discovery of completely novel compounds that have significant biological activities against disease targets, such as those illustrated in the Figure.  Our library synthesis work coordinates with the Boston University Center for Molecular Discovery (BU-CMD).

Sndyer Image 2Techniques & Resources

  • NMR Spectroscopy – The Chemistry Department as well as the BU-CMD have excellent spectroscopy facilities to aid synthetic organic chemists. Included are a 500 MHz, two 400 MHz and numerous 300 MHz NMR spectrometers.
  • Multimode Microwave Reactors Multimode – Microwave reactors have proven invaluable in both reaction condition optimization and in library synthesis.
  • LC-MS/UPLC – Reaction monitoring is rapidly achieved with LC-MS and UPLC spectrometers.
  • ISCO CombiFlash (CMD) – For rapid, automated purification.


Within the Snyder Group and the BU-CMD, investigators work closely with biological collaborators who screen their compounds for activities. These collaborations give students an opportunity to learn about a medicinal chemists approach to library design and to engage in the drug discovery process.

What’s Next for Graduates of the Snyder Group?

Snyder Group graduates typically go into postdoctoral positions or directly into the pharmaceutical industry.  Ph.D. Graduates from the last 5 years include:

  • Dr. Xiang Liu – Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University
  • Dr. Ya Zhou – Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Vanderbilt University
  • Dr. Bin Ma – Research Scientist, Biogen Idec, Cambridge, MA
  • Dr. Grace Woo – Research Scientist, Merck-Boston
  • Dr. Brian Lahue – Research Scientist, Merck-Boston

SCI 474
P:617.353-2621 F:617.353.6466
Office hours: By appointment
Snyder Group Homepage
Google Scholar Page