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Nicholas Leadbeater, Ph.D. - University of Connecticut. Storrs, CT, US

Nicholas Leadbeater, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry | University of Connecticut


Dr. Leadbeater specializes in cleaner, greener ways to make molecules.

Areas of Expertise (5)

Organic Chemistry

Green Chemistry

Metals in Preparative Chemistry

Preparing Biofuels

Public Communication of Science

Education (3)

Cambridge University: Ph.D., Chemistry

University of Nottingham: B.Sc. (Hons)

Cambridge University: Research Fellow







UConn Talks - Nicholas Leadbeater 21st century alchemy - making chemicals out of biofuels: Nicholas Leadbeater at TEDxUConn 2013


Media Appearances (3)

Riding the microwave: three chemists share their stories

Chemistry World  online


Twenty years ago, microwave chemistry was still something of a mystery. As researchers began to take advantage of the faster, cleaner and more efficient reactions offered by using microwaves in the lab they observed things that did not align with traditional physical organic theory. And so began a heated debate on the existence of non-thermal or ‘magic’ microwave effects. ‘Very few people went from one [camp] to the other,’ says Nicholas Leadbeater, a synthetic chemist at the University of Connecticut in the US. ‘You would either argue until you were blue in the face that there was a microwave effect, or that there wasn’t. And you would pick apart experiments that had been done and do your own. It was quite a controversial time.’

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Catalyst made from plant roots promotes Suzuki reaction

Chemistry World  online


"‘The idea behind this work certainly captures the imagination,’ says Nicholas Leadbeater, who researches green chemical processes at the University of Connecticut, US. ‘Using the roots of a plant as the catalyst to perform Suzuki couplings in glycerol certainly checks a number of 'green' boxes...'"

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Dr. Nicholas Leadbeater, University of Connecticut – Walter White’s Meth

WAMC  online


"In today’s Academic Minute, Dr. Nicholas Leadbeater of the University of Connecticut begins a three-day examination of the chemistry of the hit television show Breaking Bad. Today, he discusses why Walter White’s product was so unique..."

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Articles (4)

Accessing N-Acyl Azoles via Oxoammonium Salt-Mediated Oxidative Amidation

Organic Letters

An operationally simple, robust, metal-free approach to the synthesis of N-acyl azoles from both alcohols and aldehydes is described. Oxidative amidation is facilitated by a commercially available organic oxidant (4-acetamido-2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidine-1-oxoammonium tetrafluoroborate) and proceeds under very mild conditions for an array of structurally diverse substrates. Tandem reactions of these activated amides, such as transamidation and esterification, enable further elaboration. Also, the spent oxidant can be recovered and used to regenerate the oxoammonium salt.

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Exploring the reactivity of a ruthenium complex in the metathesis of biorenewable feedstocks to generate value-added chemicals

Journal of Organometallic Chemistry

Tricyclohexylphosphine[4,5-dimethyl-1,3-bis(2,4,6-trimethylphenyl)imidazol-2-ylidene][2-thienylmethylene]ruthenium(II) dichloride proves active for the ring-closing metathesis of linalool and citronellene, the self-metathesis of eugenol, and to some extent the ethenolysis of methyl oleate. Microwave heating and continuous-flow processing have been used as tools for performing the reactions. For the ring-closing metathesis reactions, transition from batch to flow processing for scale-up of the reaction is possible but it proves problematic in the case of cross-metathesis.

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Toward a Unified Mechanism for Oxoammonium Salt-Mediated Oxidation Reactions: A Theoretical and Experimental Study Using a Hydride Transfer Model

Journal of Organic Chemistry

A range of oxoammonium salt-based oxidation reactions have been explored computationally using density functional theory (DFT), and the results have been correlated with experimentally derived trends in reactivity. Mechanistically, most reactions involve a formal hydride transfer from an activated C–H bond to the oxygen atom of the oxoammonium cation. Several new potential modes of reactivity have been uncovered and validated experimentally.

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Direct, rapid, solvent-free conversion of unactivated esters to amides using lithium hydroxide as a catalyst

RSC Advances

A simple, solvent-free methodology is reported for the direct conversion of esters to amides using lithium hydroxide as a catalyst. The approach allows for the preparation of a range of amide products as well as being applicable to the ring-opening of a representative lactone.

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