Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Keary M. Engle

Reader 2

Anna G. Wenzel

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

2018 Timothy J Gallagher


Transition-metal-catalyzed cross-coupling reactions are reliable tools for forging C–C bonds. The Engle Lab has previously pioneered the intermolecular difunctionalization of unactivated alkenes facilitated by nickel catalysis, where regioselectivity is controlled through the use of a bidentate directing group. A limitation of existing methods is that allyl groups have not yet been successfully incorporated, as the electrophile scope has been limited to alkyl and aryl species. Fundamentally, C–C p-bonds have served as key building blocks for the assembly of complex molecules, and the ability to introduce allyl moieties in a controlled manner enables diverse, downstream functionalization in multi-step synthesis.

This work focuses on the use of diverse azaheterocycle directing groups connected to non-conjugated alkenes. Through the use of nickel catalysis, we have been able to successfully introduce and preserve allyl and cinnamyl species at the g-position and alkyl zinc nucleophiles at the b-position with high yield under mild conditions. This novel, 1,2-allylalkylation can accommodate a vast array of substituents with different electronic and steric properties (>20 examples). Our efforts have shifted to exploring different monodentate directing groups and to conduct mechanistic studies to shed light on the catalytic cycle. Interestingly, electron-rich electrophiles provide nearly quantitative NMR and isolated yields, whereas electron-poor electrophiles lead to lower yields. We report a competition experiment to further elucidate this mechanism. While isolated yields were generally higher for electron-rich groups, a competition between p-OMe and p-CF3 electrophiles led to preferential incorporation of the trifluoromethyl-substituted coupling partner, which supports oxidative addition as the product-determining step.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.