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Educational Background

Matt was born and raised in Congers, NY, a small hamlet located about 30 miles northwest of New York City. He graduated from SUNY Geneseo in 2007 with a B.S. in Chemistry where he got his taste for research working in the laboratory of Dave Geiger. Unwilling to sacrifice his love of skiing for graduate school, he moved to Hanover, NH in July 2007 to pursue his doctoral studies at Dartmouth College under the tutelage of Dave Glueck. His Ph.D. thesis was entitled “Cu(I)-Catalyzed P-C Bond Formation and the Synthesis of C3- and C1-Symmetric P-Stereogenic Triphosphine Ligands”. The research relied heavily on Schlenk techniques and glove box manipulations – skills he hopes to extend to the members of his research group; in addition, he learned the beauty of the Kugelrohr and its unwavering ability to make phosphine purification possible. Continuing his northeast tour, he moved to MIT in January 2012 to work on the design of new TREN-based macrocyclic ligands for Mo-catalyzed N2 reduction with Dick Schrock. At MIT, his knowledge of metathesis and early metal complexes expanded greatly, but perhaps, the most important lesson learned was to never stop being competitive and always strive for greatness. Matt joined the Department of Chemistry at University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa in the summer of 2014 as an Assistant Professor and looks forward to making an impact in both teaching and research.

Professor: Cain, M.

Miura-Akagi, P.M.; Chapp, T.W.; Yoshida, W.Y.; Yap, G.P.A.; Rheingold, A.L.; Hughes, R.P.; Cain, M.F. Synthesis and Structure of Dearomatized and P-Halogenated Benzazaphospholes and Their Reactivity toward Pt(0) Sources. Organometallics 2023, 42, 672-688. DOI: 10.1021/acs.organomet.3c00070

Chinen, B.L.; Hyvl, J.; Brayton, D.F.; Riek, M.M.; Yoshida, W.Y.; Chapp, T.W.; Rheingold, A.L.; Cain, M.F. Trimerization and Cyclization of Reactive P-Functionalities Confined Within OCO Pincers. RSC Adv. 2021, 11, 28602-28613. DOI: 10.1039/d1ra05926b

Zhou, D.Y.; Miura-Akagi, P.M.; McCarty, S.M.; Guiles, C.H.; O’Donnell, T.J.; Yoshida, W.Y.; Krause, C.E.; Rheingold, A.L.; Hughes, R.P.; Cain, M.F. P-Alkynyl Functionalized Benzazaphospholes as Transmetalating Agents. Dalton Trans. 2021, 50, 599-611. DOI: 10.1039/D0DT01367F (special issue featuring New Talent: Americas, 2020)

Nakashige, M.L.; Loristo, J.I.P.; Wong, L.S.; Gurr, J.R.; O’Donnell, T.J.; Yoshida, W.Y.; Rheingold, A.L.; Hughes, R.P.; Cain, M.F. E-Selective Synthesis and Coordination Chemistry of Pyridine-Phosphaalkenes: Five Ligands Produce Four Distinct Types of Ru(II) Complexes. Organometallics 2019, 38, 3338-3348. DOI: 10.1021/acs.organomet.9b00425

Kremláček, V.; Hyvl, J.; Yoshida, W.Y.; Růžička, A.; Rheingold, A.L.; Turek, J.; Hughes, R.P.; Dostál, L.; Cain, M.F. Heterocycles Derived from Generating Monovalent Pnictogens within NCN Pincers and Bidentate NC Chelates: Hypervalency vs. Bell-Clappers vs. Static Aromatics. Organometallics 2018, 37, 2481-2490. DOI: 10.1021/acs.organomet.8b00290

Hyvl, J.; Yoshida, W.Y.; Rheingold, A.L.; Hughes, R.P.; Cain, M.F. A Masked Phosphinidene Trapped in a Fluxional NCN Pincer. Chem. Eur. J. 2016, 22, 17562-17565. DOI: 10.1002/chem.201604415


My research interests include development of new multidentate, non-innocent, and/or chiral ligands for application in transition metal-based asymmetric catalysis, small molecule activation, and alternative energy processes. Without giving up too much information, we plan to target a largely unexplored class of C1-Symmetric, P-Stereogenic ligands, rationally designed multidentate ligands for dinitrogen reduction, and phosphaalkene-based ligands as redox active / non-innocent platforms for interesting chemical transformations. If these projects interest you, please do not hesitate to contact me or stop by my office.

For more information, please visit our group website, Synthesis in Paradise.

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