Peng Liu

Personal | Department
Department of Chemistry, University of Pittsburgh
Ph.D., Computational Organic Chemistry, University of California, 2010

Reactivity and Selectivity Rules in Organic and Organometallic Reactions
We are developing computational models to quantitatively describe the origins of reactivity and selectivity in organocatalytic and transition metal-catalyzed reactions. We perform quantum mechanical calculations to explore the reaction mechanism, followed by thorough analysis on various stereoelectronic effects to predict how changes of the catalyst structure, substituents, and solvent affect rate and selectivity. We use quantitative energy decomposition methods to dissect the key interactions in the transition state and provide chemically meaningful interpretation to the computed reactivity and selectivity. We apply these computational studies to a broad range of organic and organometallic reactions, such as C–H and C–C bond activations, coupling reactions, olefin metathesis, and polymerization reactions. 

Catalyst Screening and Prediction
We are developing a multi-scale computational screening protocol which could efficiently rank the catalysts based on ligand-substrate interaction energies in the transition state. 

Applications of Computational Chemistry in Understanding Organic Chemistry
We are collaborating with experimental groups at Pitt and many other institutions to solve problems in organic chemistry using computational methods and programs. Our goal is to establish the most effective strategy to use modern computational methods and hardware to help address the grand challenges in synthetic chemistry. 


Most Cited Publications: 
  1. ​​​​"Computational Explorations of Mechanisms and Ligand-Directed Selectivities of Copper-Catalyzed Ullmann-Type Reactions," Gavin O. Jones, Peng Liu, K. N. Houk and Stephen L. Buchwald, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 132, 6205 (2010)
  2. "Suzuki−Miyaura Cross-Coupling of Aryl Carbamates and Sulfamates: Experimental and Computational Studies," Kyle W. Quasdorf, Aurora Antoft-Finch, Peng Liu, Amanda L. Silberstein, Anna Komaromi, Tom Blackburn, Stephen D. Ramgren, K. N. Houk, Victor Snieckus, and Neil K. Garg, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 133, 6352 (2011)
  3. "Palladium-Catalyzed Meta-Selective C–H Bond Activation with a Nitrile-Containing Template: Computational Study on Mechanism and Origins of Selectivity," Yun-Fang Yang, Gui-Juan Cheng, Peng Liu, Dasheng Leow, Tian-Yu Sun, Ping Chen, Xinhao Zhang, Jin-Quan Yu, Yun-Dong Wu, and K. N. Houk, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 136, 344 (2014)
  4. "Z-Selectivity in Olefin Metathesis with Chelated Ru Catalysts: Computational Studies of Mechanism and Selectivity," Peng Liu, Xiufang Xu, Xiaofei Dong, Benjamin K. Keitz, Myles B. Herbert, Robert H. Grubbs, and K. N. Houk, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 134, 1464 (2012)
  5. "Conversion of amides to esters by the nickel-catalysed activation of amide C–N bonds," Liana Hie, Noah F. Fine Nathel, Tejas K. Shah, Emma L. Baker, Xin Hong, Yun-Fang Yang, Peng Liu, K. N. Houk& Neil K. Garg, Nature, 524, 79 (2015)
Recent Publications: 
  1. Glycosyl Cross-Coupling of Anomeric Nucleophiles: Scope, Mechanism, and Applications in the Synthesis of Aryl C-Glycosides", Feng Zhu, Jacob Rodriguez, Tianyi Yang, Ilia Kevlishvili, Eric Miller, Duk Yi, Sloane O’Neill, Michael J. Rourke, Peng Liu, and Maciej A. Walczak, J. Am. Chem. Soc 139, 17908 (2017)
  2. "Predictive Model for Oxidative C−H Bond Functionalization Reactivity with 2,3-Dichloro-5,6-dicyano-1,4-benzoquinone (DDQ)", Cristian Morales-Rivera, Paul E. Floreancig, and Peng LiuJ. Am. Chem. Soc 139, 17935 (2017)
  3. "Ligand–Substrate Dispersion Facilitates the Copper-Catalyzed Hydroamination of Unactivated Olefins", Gang Lu, Richard Y. Liu, Yang Yang, Cheng Fang, Daniel S. Lambrecht, Stephen L. Buchwald, and Peng Liu, J. Am. Chem. Soc 139, 16548 (2017)
  4. "Computationally Guided Catalyst Design in the Type I Dynamic Kinetic Asymmetric Pauson−Khand Reaction of Allenyl Acetates," Lauren C. Burrows, Luke T. Jesikiewicz, Gang Lu, Steven J. Geib, Peng Liu, and Kay M. Brummond, J. Am. Chem. Soc 139, 15022 (2017)
  5. "Experimental and Computational Exploration of para-Selective Silylation with a Hydrogen-Bonded Template," Arun Maji, Dr. Srimanta Guin, Sheng Feng, Amit Dahiya, Vikas Kumar Singh, Peng Liu and  Debabrata Maiti, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 47,14903 (2017)

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