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Home > Past Conferences > 3rd Small Molecule Activation Conference

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Past Conference

3rd Small Molecule Activation Conference

19 Feb 2019 - 22 Feb 2019

Nassau, Bahamas


Following the success of the second SMA conference in Cancun, which took place in May 2016 we are delighted to be organising a third series. 

Small molecules are constituents of the air we breathe (e.g. N2, O2, CO2) and take part in element cycles and various metabolic processes. Further representatives (e.g. H2, CO, CH4) are produced/converted in nature under anaerobic conditions or in industrial processes on large scales. Hence, small molecules such as those mentioned are readily accessible and comparatively inexpensive, so that it is highly desirable to include them into syntheses of value-added products or to use them as reservoirs of chemical energy (fuels). However, at the same time they are typically quite thermodynamically stable, so that their utilization requires an activation step. The topic of this conference will thus be concerned with various aspects of small molecule activation, with a focus on molecular insights. It provides a stimulating and interdisciplinary environment for both senior scientists and young researchers to discuss latest progress in the field.

Key Sessions

  • H2 Activation
  • N2 Activation
  • NxOy Activation
  • O2 Activation
  • H2O2 Activation
  • Reactive NxHy Species
  • COx Chemistry 
  • CxHy Conversion

Student Offer

Take advantage of this fantastic opportunity for students! Register an academic at the earlybird rate of $1,822 and bring a student for only $850. Unfortunately, Postdocs are not eligible for this offer. Both registration packages include; accommodation for the 19, 20 and 21 February 2019 (on a shared basis for students) and a 24hour all-inclusive food and beverage package for the conference period. Academic registrations must be completed by 05 December 2018. Once registered, please contact Jack Peters to obtain a special registration link for your student.

Confirmed Plenary Speakers

Mu-Hyun Baik (KAIST)
Morris Bullock (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)
William Evans (University of California, Irvine)
Karsten Meyer (Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg)
David Milstein (Weizmann Institute of Science)

Confirmed Keynote Speakers

Oliver Einsle (University of Freiburg)
Lutz H. Gade (Universität Heidelberg)
Alan Goldman
(Rutgers University)
Osamu Ishitani
(Tokyo Institute of Technology)
Yunho Lee (KAIST)
Connie Lu (University of Minnesota)
Neal Mankad (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Daniel Stack (Stanford University)

Confirmed Invited Speakers

Martin Albrecht (Universität Bern)
Simon Aldridge
 (University of Oxford)
Elodie Anxolabéhère-Mallart (Université Paris Diderot)
Carole Duboc (University Joseph Fourier- Grenoble) 
Trevor Hayton (UC Santa Barbara)
Sonja Herres-Pawlis (RWTH Aachen University)
Eva Hevia (University of Strathclyde)
Karl Kirchner (TU Wien)
Hideki Masuda (Nagoya Institute of Technology)
Franc Meyer (Universität Göttingen)
Jan Paradies (Universität Paderborn)
Sven Schneider (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen)
Michael Shevlin (Merck)
Jalila Simaan (Aix-Marseille Université)
Nathaniel Szymczak (University of Michigan)
Matthias Tamm (Technische Universität Braunschweig)
Ian Tonks (University of Minnesota)
Timothy Warren (Georgetown University)






13:00 – 14:00

Student Networking Lunch

14:00 – 15:00

Registration & Welcome Reception

Conversion of Hydrocarbons
Session Chair: Morris Bullock

15:00 – 15:10

Opening Comments

15:10 – 15:50

Mu-Hyun Baik

Computer Assisted Design of New Catalytic Reactions: Catalytic Borylation of Methane and Other Reactions

15:50 – 16:15

Ian Tonks
University of Minnesota

Isocyanide and other small molecule activations via Ti-catalyzed nitrene transfer

16:15 – 16:40

Matthias Tamm
Technische Universität Braunschweig

Alkyne Metathesis – The Reversible Making and Breaking
of Carbon-Carbon Triple Bonds

16:40 – 17:15

Alan Goldman
Rutgers University

Catalysis by Pincer-Iridium Complexes. Breaking C-H Bonds, Making C-C Bonds, and Various Combinations Thereof

17:15 – 18:00


Session Chair: Connie Lu

18:00 – 18:35

Osamu Ishitani
Tokyo Institute of Technology

Photocatalytic Reduction of Low Concentration of CO2

18:35 – 19:05

Yunho Lee

Selective Conversion of CO2 at a Single Nickel Center using Bioorganometallic Methodology

19:05 – 19:30

Hideki Masuda
Nagoya Institute of Technology

Electrochemical activation of small molecules induced by ionic liquids: The cases of O2, N2 and CO2




07:00 – 08:30

Breakfast *The Market Place Restaurant*

Session Chairs: Oliver Einsle & Daniel Stack

08:30 – 09:05

Daniel Stack
Stanford University

Role of Cu(III) in Dioxygen Activation by Cu(I) Complexes

09:05 – 09:30

Sonja Herres-Pawlis
RWTH Aachen University

News on catalytically active Tyrosinase models

09:30 – 09:55

Elodie Anxolabéhère-Mallart
Université Paris Diderot

Electrochemical O2 reductive activation with bioinspired metallic complexes

09:55 – 10:20

Jalila Simaan
Aix-Marseille Université

Copper containing Monooxygenases: enzymatic and biomimetic studies

10:20 – 10:35

M. Teresa Corona Prieto
Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

Spectroscopic Characterization of a Mononuclear Non-Heme Iron(Ii)-Hydroperoxyl Radical Complex

10:35 – 11:20

Group Photo, Refreshments & Poster Viewing

11:20 – 11:45

Martin Albrecht
Universität Bern

Nickel-Catalyzed CO2 Reduction Imparted By Mesoionic Ligands

11:45 – 12:10

Carole Duboc
Univ. Grenoble Alpes

O2 Activation and Reduction by Dinuclear Thiolate-based Mn(II) and Fe(II) catalysts

12:10 – 12:25

Lars Müller
Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

Molecular models for oxygen activating mononuclear non heme-iron enzymes

12:25 – 16:40

Lunch at Leisure & Free Time

Session Chair: David Milstein

16:40 – 17:20

Karsten Meyer
Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg

From High-Valent Iron Nitrides to a Pentad of Low-Valent Iron Nitrosyls

17:20 – 17:50

Neal Mankad
University of Illinois at Chicago

Synthetic Copper-Sulfide Clusters as Functionally Active Models for the CuZ Site of Nitrous Oxide Reductase

17:50 – 18:15

Timothy H. Warren
Georgetown University

New Insights into the Reduction of Nitrite and Nitric Oxide at Copper

18:15 – 18:40

Trevor Hayton
UC Santa Barbara

Nitrous oxide reduction mediated by a nucleophilic nickel(II) sulfide

18:40 – 19:40

Poster Session II




07:00 – 08:30

Breakfast *The Market Place Restaurant*

N2 Activation
Session Chair: Karsten Meyer

08:30 – 08:55

Sven Schneider
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

Electrochemical and Photochemical Transformations of Dinitrogen

08:55 – 09:30

Oliver Einsle
University of Freiburg

Activating N2 at ambient conditions:  Tricks of the trade in nitrogenase catalysis

09:30 – 09:45

Andrew Ashley
Imperial College London

Efficient N2 Fixation by Fe(N2)(DIPHOSPHINE)2 Complexes


09:45 – 10:30

Refreshments & Poster Viewing

H2 Activation
Session Chair: Mu-Hyun Baik

10:30 – 11:10

Morris Bullock
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Making and Breaking Fe-H Bonds in H2 Reactions Involving Real and Alleged Hydrogen Atom Transfers

11:10 – 11:35

Jan Paradies
Universität Paderborn

Frustrated Lewis Pairs: Chemistry beyond Hydrogen Activation

11:35 – 12:00

Michael Shevlin

High Throughput Experimentation-Enabled Discovery and Development of Cobalt-Catalyzed Asymmetric Hydrogenation

12:00 – 17:00

Lunch at Leisure & Free Time

Cooperativity in SMA
Session Chair: Neal Mankad

17:00 – 17:30

Connie Lu
University of Minnesota

Bridging Homo- and Heterogeneous Catalysis with Single-site Bimetallic Clusters

17:30 – 17:55

Eva Hevia
University of Strathclyde

Bespoke Bimetallics for Chemical Cooperativity

17:55 – 18:20

Nathaniel Szymczak
University of Michigan

Using Boron Lewis Acids to Augment Metal-Mediated Transformations of Relevance to Dinitrogen Reduction

18:20 – 19:20

Poster Session II


Gala Dinner & Poster Awards


07:00 – 08:30

Breakfast *The Market Place Restaurant*

Small Molecule Activation using Pincer Ligands
Session Chair: Alan Goldman

08:30 – 09:10

David Milstein
Weizmann Institute of Science

Small Molecule Activation and Catalytic Design Based on Metal-Ligand Cooperation

09:10 – 09:35

Karl Kirchner
TU Wien

Synthesis and Catalytic Applications of Non-classical Iron(II) Polyhydride Pincer Complexes

09:35 – 10:05

Lutz Gade
Universität Heidelberg

Identification of Active Species and Mechanistic Pathways in Stoichiometric and Catalytic Reactions with 3d Transition Metal Pincer Complexes

10:05 – 10:35


Unusual Oxidation States
Session Chair: Lutz Gade

10:35 – 11:00

Franc Meyer
Universität Göttingen

H2-releasing reductive small molecule activation at bimetallic dihydride complexes

11:00 – 11:40

William Evans
University of California, Irvine

Recent Advances in Small Molecule Activation Based on the Discovery of New +2 Oxidation States of Rare-Earth Metals

11:40 – 12:05

Simon Aldridge
University of Oxford

Low valent main group systems in the activation of CO, NH3, H2 and C-H bonds

12:15 – 12:25

Closing Comments


Plenary Speakers

Invited Speakers

  • Prof. Osamu Ishitani
    Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology
  • Prof. Neal Mankad
    Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Prof. Trevor Hayton
    Professor, Department of Chemistry
  • Prof. Karl Kirchner
    Head of the Division of Inorganic Chemistry, TU Wien
  • Prof. Alan Goldman
    Professor, Rutgers University
  • Dr. Anxolabéhère Elodie
    Senior Researcher, Laboratoire d'Electrochimie Moleculaire - UMR CNRS 7591
  • Prof. Dr. Jan Paradies
    Professor for Organic Chemistry, University of Paderborn
  • Dr. Carole Duboc
    Senior Researcher, Univ. Grenoble Alpes
  • em. Prof. Hideki Masuda
    Professor, Nagoya Institute of Technology
  • Mr. Michael Shevlin
    Associate Principal Scientist, Chemistry, MSD
  • Prof. Dr. Sonja Herres-Pawlis
    Chair of Bioinorganic Chemistry, RWTH Aachen University
  • Dr. Connie Lu
    Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
  • Dr. A. Jalila SIMAAN
    Directrice de Recherches, CNRS/ Aix Marseille Université
  • Prof. Dan Stack
    Professor of Chemistry, Stanford University
  • Dr. Franc Meyer
    Professor, Georg-August-University
  • Prof. Yunho Lee
    Associate Professor , KAIST
  • Prof. Dr. Matthias Tamm
    Professor, Technische Universität Braunschweig
  • Prof. Eva Hevia
    Professor, University of Strathclyde
  • Prof. Lutz Gade
    Professor, Universität Heidelberg
  • Prof. Nathaniel Szymczak
    Associate Professor, University of Michigan
  • Professor Martin Albrecht
    Professor of Chemistry, University College Dublin
  • Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle
    Professor, University of Freiburg
  • Prof. Timothy Warren
    Professor, Georgetown University
  • Dr. Sven Schneider
    Professor, Georg-August-Universität
  • Prof. Ian Tonks
    McKnight Land-Grant Professor, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities


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