2023-2024 Seminar Series
NOTE: All talks are anticipated to be IN PERSON for the 2023-2024 cycle.
The Philadelphia Organic Chemists' Club (POCC) is one of the oldest independent chemistry clubs in the United States and it works in conjunction with area universities and pharmaceutical companies to allow distinguished scientists to speak to a broad chemistry audience from the Philadelphia area. The organization's central purpose is to facilitate the interaction between scientists, particularly between academic and the numerous chemical and pharmaceutical companies. The POCC lectures and events provide a monthly forum.
The POCC has been actively sponsoring seminars in Philadelphia since at least 1945 (check out the archives!). Typically, the POCC meets on the last Thursday of the month, often with the speaker being hosted during the day by one of the local chemical or pharmaceutical companies. The POCC event is held in the University of Pennsylvania Chemistry Department, beginning at 6:30 p.m. with a social hour, followed by the seminar at 7:30 p.m.
Meet the POCC Leadership
Director of Chemistry Research and Business Innovation, Pharmablock
Zhenzhen’s journey began in Shanghai, where she earned her BS in Polymer Science and Engineering from Shanghai Jiaotong University in 2002. She pursued her passion for chemistry in the United States, completing her Ph.D. in organic chemistry at the University of Delaware under Prof. Joseph Fox in 2007. For the last 15 years, Zhenzhen had been a key member of Adesis Inc.'s Chemistry group. Recently, she embarked on a new chapter by joining PharmaBlock (USA). Zhenzhen is a strong advocate for diversity in STEM and founded AWISE in 2021. Beyond her career, she enjoys gardening, fitness, movies, crafting, and spending time with her young daughter, Pekinese dog, and two kittens.
Contact Zhenzhen: email@example.com
John A. Milligan
Chair-Elect, Assistant Professor at Thomas Jefferson University
John Milligan is an Assistant Professor in the College of Life Sciences at Thomas Jefferson University. After earning his B.S. in chemistry from Allegheny College, he undertook graduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh in Prof. Peter Wipf's research group and earned his Ph.D. in 2018. He then joined Prof. Gary Molander's group at the University of Pennsylvania as a postdoctoral researcher, where his research focused on developing radical/polar crossover reactions with bis(catecholato)silicate reagents. His current research interests focus on the development of other transformations with these reagents. These efforts have been funded in part by the Organic Syntheses grant program for research at primarily undergraduate institutions.
Contact John: firstname.lastname@example.org
Joseph M. Karpinski
Treasurer, Chemistry Laboratory Coordinator @ University of Delaware
Joseph Karpinski graduated from Ursinus College with a bachelor’s degree in Biology, and from Lehigh University with a master's degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry. After a 23-year career as a synthetic organic chemist, he taught full-time for 10 years and now works as a Laboratory Coordinator at the University of Delaware. He lives in Kennett Square, PA, and has three adult children. He enjoys, golfing, reading, and winemaking.
Contact Joseph: email@example.com
Craig A. Zificsak
Secretary, Chemist @ Adesis, Inc.
Craig grew up in Wisconsin and attended UW-Stevens Point for his BS and Univ. of Minnesota for graduate school. Following a post-doc at Johnson & Johnson, he worked for 14 years in small molecule discovery at Cephalon and Teva Pharmaceuticals. Since 2018, he has been working on small molecule discovery and process development projects at Adesis, Inc. He enjoys travel and watching his son play baseball.
Contact Craig: firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistant Secretary, Graduate Student @ the University of Pennsylvania (Trauner Laboratory)
Jordan was born in Miami FL. He received his B.S. in Biochemistry from Florida State University in 2022, where he worked on natural product synthesis via pyridinium dearomatization in the Joel Smith lab. He is now a PhD student in the Trauner laboratory at UPenn and has a strong interest in total synthesis and medicinal chemistry.
Contact Jordan: email@example.com
Student Representative, Graduate Student @ the University of Pennsylvania (Smith Laboratory)
Jonathan was raised in Allentown, PA, and received his BS in chemistry from Moravian College, where he studied under the mentorship of Professor Michael Bertucci. He is currently a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania in the lab of Professor Amos B. Smith, III, where he studies natural product total synthesis and medicinal chemistry.
Contact Jonathan: firstname.lastname@example.org
Social Media Director, Graduate Student @ the University of Pennsylvania (Smith Laboratory)
Derek grew up in Sunnyvale, CA and attended UC Santa Barbara for undergrad where he got a B.S. in biochemistry and a B.A. in political science. At UCSB, Derek studied under Professor Tom Pettus and investigated o-Quinone Methide intermediates as a means of making benzoxazine rings. After graduating in 2020, he now is a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania under the mentorship of Professor Amos B. Smith, III, where he works on small molecule synthesis to study and treat HIV
Contact Derek: email@example.com
Web Master, Scientist @ Janssen R & D
A native New Yorker, Chris’s interest in synthesis was sparked during his undergraduate studies at Stonehill College. At Stonehill, Chris worked under Prof. Leon Tilley and completed a targeted synthesis of 1-(trifluoromethyl)bicyclo[1.1.0]butane. Chris moved to UCONN in 2010 to perform his doctoral work under Prof. Nicholas Leadbeater. At UCONN, he worked in the areas of organofluorine chemistry and sustainable oxidative processes. In 2015, he continued his training under Prof. Gary Molander at the University of Pennsylvania as an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow. At Penn, Chris’s research utilized photoredox catalysis to enable C–C bond construction. After a short stint (2018-2019) in academia as an Assistant Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, he joined Janssen's Discovery Process Research team to tackle problems relating to human health. However, because of his passion for teaching, Chris also serves as the lecturer for CHEM 746, a graduate-level organic chemistry course at Penn, since Fall 2020.
Contact Chris: Ckelly5@its.jnj.com
Join Us for Great Chemistry and Refreshments
Seminars are held at 7:30 p.m. in the Carol Hoff Lynch Hall at the Department of Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania. Prior to that, there is a social hour, starting at 6:30 PM with pizza and other refreshments. Those interested are encouraged to come early to have the chance to interact with faculty, industrial scientists amd the seminar speaker themselves in a relaxed,friendly reception hall.