NIU Department of
Chemistry & Biochemistry
Where the study of matter...matters!
Office: Faraday Hall 343
Phone: (815) 753-9236
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, University of Oxford, 2009-2011
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Yale University, 2008-2009
Ph.D., Duke University, 2008
B.S., University of California, Berkeley, 2003
Synthesis and evaluation of organic molecules towards biological, green catalysis, biosensing, and smart materials applications.
Mai, J.; Hoxha, E.; Morton, C.E.; Muller, B.M.; Adler, M.J. "Towards a Dynamic Covalent Molecular Switch: Substituent Effects in Chalcone/Flavanone Isomerism", Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry 2013, 11, 3421-3423.
Adler, M.J.; Scott, R.T.W.; Hamilton, A.D. "Enaminone-Based Mimics of Extended and Hydrophilic α-Helices", Chemistry: A European Journal, 2012 18(41), 12974-12977.
Adler, M.J.; Hamilton, A.D. "Oligophenylenaminones as Scaffolds for α-Helix Mimicry", Journal of Organic Chemistry, 2011, 76(17), 7040-7047.
Adler, M.J.; Baldwin, S.W. "Direct, Regioselective Synthesis of 2,2-Dimethyl-2H-chromenes. Total Syntheses of Octandrenolone and Precocenes I and II", Tetrahedron Letters, 2009, 50(36), 5075-5079.
Natural systems are incredible in their ability to sense and adapt to changing environments. Small changes in factors such as temperature, pH, or hormone concentration can elicit responses on the molecular level, which translate to cellular alterations that ultimately impact entire organisms. These types of conformational changes are reversible, equilibrium processes. The dynamic and sensitive nature of these specific molecular interactions is the key to such biological events; it is in fact the lynchpin for life itself.
In our lab we are interested in these interactions and how they might be used not only to understand fundamental and important biological processes, but also applied in different realms such as disease therapy, catalyst development, sensing, and smart materials. In order to investigate such phenomena, it is crucial to develop a model system of sufficient complexity to functionally represent complicated natural systems, but of sufficient simplicity such that they may be easily assembled and observed; the synthesis of such scaffolds and their utilization for the aforementioned purpose is a major thrust of research in our lab.
In addition to investigating dynamic inter- and intramolecular interactions that occur commonly in natural systems, we are also interested in the study and development of synthetic surrogates. Specifically, the utilization of silicon as a Lewis acid has captured our attention. Silicon is a highly abundant element that has been underutilized in organic synthesis considering its unique structural and reactive features. We aim to develop green, efficient silicon-based Lewis acid catalysts for a variety of asymmetric organic transformations, and to showcase these catalysts via the synthesis of complex molecules.
Our research allows for group members to gain experience and knowledge in a variety of areas under the umbrella of organic chemistry, from synthesis to in-depth spectroscopic analysis to biological application. We are always looking for bright minds to join the group at any level, and also potential collaborators.