• Philadelphia Organic Chemists' Club


    Bringing Together Industrial and Academic Chemists Since 1945; Over 75 Years of Great Chemistry!


2021-2022 Seminar Series (ZOOM Link)
NOTE: For the Fall 2021-Spring 2022, all seminars will be virtual.

About P.O.C.C.

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.

Seminar Schedule

2021-2022 (ZOOM link)
Hybrid option for April 21 only

Sept 30th
Prof. Andrew McNally

"Selective Functionalization of Pyridines, Diazines and Pharmaceuticals via Unconventional Intermediates"
Sponsored by: PharmaBlock

Oct 28th
Dr. Jaume Balsells

"Chemistry Accelerating Discovery at Janssen"
Sponsored by: Incyte

Nov 18th
Prof. Dirk Trauner

"An Efficient Synthesis of Tetrodotoxin"
Sponsored by: Janssen
Student Choice Lecture

Dec 16
Dr. Martin Eastgate

"Innovation in the Synthesis of Complex Pharmaceutical Agents"
POCC Industrial Award Lecture

Jan 27th
Prof. Melanie Sanford

"New Synthetic Methods for C–F Bond Formation: From Fundamental Science to Applications"
Sponsored by: Merck
Allan Day Award Lecture

Feb 24th
Prof. Song Lin

"Amping Up Organic Synthesis with Electrochemistry"
Sponsored by: Incyte

Mar 24th
Dr. Jeff Sperry

"Improving Lab Safety in Academia: Free and Inexpensive Methods to Identify High-Risk Chemistry"
Sponsored by: Adesis

Apr 21st
Dr. Dani Schultz

"Utilizing high-throughput experimentation to catalyze diverse chemistry and collaborations within and outside of Merck"
Sponsored by: Pharmaron
Hybrid option available, see flyer!
POCC Poster Session to Celebrate Return to In Person Events!

May 26th
Prof. Alison Narayan

"Biocatalysis and complex molecule synthesis"
Sponsored by: The Fox Chase Chemical Diversity Center


Meet the POCC Leadership

Jing Li

Chair, President of Pharmablock USA

Jing is currently president of PharmaBlock(USA) focusing on team building, process capability building and site expansion. Prior to work at PharmaBlock since 2016, Jing had over eight year API process development experience with Merck, led and supported many API development projects. She also had six years medicinal chemistry experience and advanced two molecules into clinical stage. Jing graduated from Nanjing University (China) with PhD in Chemistry, and had postdoc training with Prof Patrick Harran on total synthesis of Diazonamide A. She lives in Worcester PA, with her husband, two daughters and three furry friends. She enjoys reading, traveling and horse riding.

Contact Jing: li_jing@pharmablock.com

Sarah Wengryniuk

Chair-Elect, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Temple University

Dr. Sarah Wengryniuk was born in Frederick, MD. She conducted her undergraduate studies at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC graduating Magna cum laude with B.S. degrees in chemistry and biology. From 2007-2012 she conducted her doctoral studies at Duke University as an NSF Graduate Fellow, under the direction of Professor Don Coltart, working on auxiliary-based asymmetric ketone alkylation. In 2012, she joined the laboratory of Professor Phil Baran at The Scripps Research Institute as an NIH Ruth L. Kirchstein postdoctoral fellow. In 2015, she began her independent career at Temple University where her laboratory has explored novel umpolung reactivities enabled by hypervalent iodine reagents. Her research and teaching efforts have been recognized with several awards including the Thieme Chemistry Journal Award, the Italia-Eire Teacher of the Year, the Robert L. Smith Early Career Professorship and an NSF CAREER Award.

Contact Sarah: sarahw@temple.edu

Joseph M. Karpinski

Treasurer, Chemistry Laboratory Manager and Adjunct Instructor @ Eastern University

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 has been teaching full-time since 2012. He lives in Kennett Square, PA, and has three adult children. He enjoys, golfing, reading, and winemaking.

Contact Joseph: jkarpins@eastern.edu

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: secretary.pocc@gmail.com

Aria Fodness

Assistant Secretary, Graduate Student @ the University of Pennsylvania (McCallum Laboratory)

Aria received her B.S. in Chemistry from MIT in 2020, where she worked on continuous flow chemistry in Tim Jamison’s group. She is now a PhD student at UPenn in the McCallum laboratory, where she studies natural product total synthesis.

Contact Aria: fodness@sas.upenn.edu

Jonathan Nadraws

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: jnadraws@sas.upenn.edu

Derek Yang

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: dyangg@sas.upenn.edu

Christopher Kelly

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.

University of Pennsylvania

Address: 231 S 34th St Philadelphia, PA 19104

Seminars are in the Carol Hoff Lynch Hall

Get Directions

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