Fluorine in Vancouver

I had a great time at UBC yesterday. Amongst other science stories in my talk I described how we make crystals of peptides at SGC. Somehow this really got the graduate students interested. They peppered me with questions, which was fun.

This visit was a chance for me to see some old friends and meet new people. I would like to say my special thanks to Jen Love, who invited me and organized my visit. Throughout the day, there was a certain “fluorine” theme I could not help but notice. Dave Perrin, who is always passionate about science told me about some of his lab’s work that has convinced the world about how specific activity of radiolabelled trifluoroborates is to be understood. I encouraged you to read this scholarly work:


Steve Withers described a great story related to his neuraminidase inhibitors. Although I saw his paper in Science not too long ago, I was thrilled to hear the story from the man himself. Each of the fluorines is critical to the behaviour of this intriguing inhibitor (below) and the work is a testament to the fine balance of relative rates that is possible through the careful selection of substituents.



Glenn Sammis concluded the triumvirate of fluorine-related vignettes for me and showcased how his lab (in collaboration with J. –F. Paquin) managed to get radical fluorination to go:



I also had a great time with Marco Ciufolini, Jen Love, and Laurel Schafer. I have followed their work for a number of years and will dedicate a special section some time in the near future. My former student Taka is in Marco’s lab. It was great to see him (good luck with the total synthesis, Taka!).

2 thoughts on “Fluorine in Vancouver

  1. Not to be picky, but in the neuraminidase inhibitors story, the figure is not totally correct. C8 hydroxyl is missing and C4 should have a amine or it will not be trapped..

    • I am glad you pointed this out – I completely forgot to update this but I meant to (wrote the post on a bumpy ride back to Toronto)… Thanks for reading.

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