University of Southern California Wed. Mar. 29, 2017 
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Associates / Fellows
Advisory Board

Travis J. Williams

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Office: LHI 104
Phone: (213) 740-5961
Fax: (213) 740-6679
  College Website



Research Focus


C-H Bond Functionalization


We are developing new catalysts and conditions to use various C-H groups as precursors for C-X and C-C bond formation in complex settings (Scheme 1). Particularly, we're interested in coordinatively directed hydride abstraction, elaboration of azoles, and C-H activation-initiated Heck-type reactions. To achieve these goals, we will employ strategies of catalyst design, thus exploring novel organometallic and coordination chemistry, and target-oriented new organic reaction development.  


Complex Molecule Synthesis


Simultaneously and synergistically with our new reaction campaigns, we are working to devise highly step economical strategies for the preparation of potentially bioactive small molecules. For example, we seek new tools to extend modern peptide synthesis techniques to the preparation of azole oligomers and other value-added building blocks that can be used as starting materials for modular syntheses of natural products and other targets of medicinal, biological, or materials interest (Scheme 2). We are currently pursuing a concise approach to analogs of Kabiramide C and the tris(oxazole) macrolide family of marine natural products based on this technology. 


1. Conley, B. L., Williams, T. J. "Dehydrogenation of ammonia-borane by Shvo's catalyst". Chem. Commun. 2010, 46, 4815-4817. 
2. Conley, B. L., Williams, T. J. "Thermochemistry and Molecular Structure of a Remarkable Agostic Interaction in a Heterobifunctional Ruthenium-Boron Complex". J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2010, 132, 1764–1765. 
3. Conley, B. L., Pennington-Boggio, M. K., Boz, E., Williams, T. J. "Discovery, Applications, and Catalytic Mechanisms of Shvo’s Catalyst". Chemical Reviews, 2009, 110, 2294-2312. 
4. Driver, T. G.; Williams, T. J. Labinger, J. A.; Bercaw, J. E. "C-H Bond Activation by Dicationic Platinum(II) Complexes" Organometallics 2007, 26, 294-301. 
5. Williams, T. J.; Labinger, J. A.; Bercaw, J. E. "Reactions of Indene and Indoles with Platinum Methyl Cations: Indene C-H Activation, Indole pi versus Nitrogen Lone-Pair Coordination" Organometallics 2007, 26, 281-287. 
6. Wender, P. A.; Paxton, T. J.; Williams, T. J.; "Cyclopentadienone Synthesis by Rhodium(I)-Catalyzed [3 + 2] Cycloaddition Reactions of Cyclopropenones and Alkynes" J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2006, 128, 14814-14815. 
7. Wender, P. A.; Haustedt, L. O.; Lim, J.; Love, J. A.; Williams, T. J.; Yoon, J.-Y. "Asymmetric Catalysis of the [5 + 2] Cycloaddition Reaction of Vinylcyclopropanes and pi-Systems" J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2006, 128, 6302-6303. 
8. Wender, P. A.; Gamber, G. G.; Williams, T. J. "Rhodium(I)-Catalyzed [5+2], [6+2], and [5+2+1] Cycloadditions: New Reactions for Organic Synthesis" in Modern Rhodium-Catalyzed Transformations; Evans, P. A., Ed. Wiley: New York, 2005.
9. Wender, P. A.; Deschamps, N. M.; Williams, T. J. "Intermolecular Dienyl Pauson-Khand Reaction" Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2004, 43, 3076-3079. 
10. Wender, P. A.; Williams, T. J. "[(Arene)Rh(COD)]+ Complexes as Catalysts for [5+2] Cycloadditions" Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2002, 41, 4550-4553. 

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