Samour Family Professor of Organic Chemistry, Director, Boston University Center for Molecular Discovery


Research in the Porco Group is focused in two major areas: The development of new synthetic methodologies for efficient chemical synthesis of complex molecules and synthesis of complex chemical libraries, the latter conducted at the Boston University Center for Molecular Discovery. Synthetic methodologies developed in the Porco Laboratory include copper (I)-mediated formation of enamides, oxa-electrocyclization/dimerization of dienals enroute to complex epoxyquinoids; enantioselective oxidative dearomatization using chiral copper complexes and molecular oxygen; photocycloaddition using oxidopyryliums enroute to the rocaglamides and related natural products, and catalytic ester-amide exchange using group (IV) metal alkoxide-activator complexes.

  • Dearomatization Strategies in Complex Synthesis aim to utilize aromatic scaffolds as starting materials as precursors to complex natural products.
  • Biomimetic Synthesis Approaches involve development of methodologies to test plausible biosyntheses of complex natural products and derivatives.
  • New Reaction Discovery is done in conjunction with the BU-CMD and aims to discover transformations leading to novel chemotypes.

Porco Group Website


Techniques & Resources

  • Organic Synthesis techniques are used and include modern methods for synthesis, purification, and analysis of organic molecules.
  • Boston University Center for Molecular Discovery (BU-CMD) is an NIH-funded Center at Boston University which focuses on development of new methodologies for the synthesis of complex chemical libraries.

What’s Next for Graduates of the Porco Group?

Since 1999, 25 graduate students have completed their Ph.D. dissertations and 19 postdoctoral fellows have completed fellowships.

Of those who have completed training, 25 of 45 have pursued academic or postdoctoral positions while the remainder have pursued careers in the pharmaceutical industry. Former group members include:

  • Dr. Branko Mitasev, Research Scientist, Eisai Research Institute.
  • Prof. Xiaoguang Lei, Professor, Peking University
  • Dr. Ji Qi, Principal Scientist, Merck, LinkedIn
  • Prof. Alex Grenning, Assistant Professor, University of Florida, Gainesville