• Philadelphia Organic Chemists' Club


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


2020-2021 Seminar Series (Zoom Link)
Information about the POCC Spring Poster Session on April 29 HERE; Posters due APRIL 9th to Jing!

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

2020-2021 (Zoom Link)

Sept 24
Prof. Jessica Hoover

"Mapping Decarboxylative Coupling Reactions: Uncovering New Principles that Govern Catalysis"
Sponsored by Merck and Co.

Oct 29
Prof. Todd Hyster

"Photoenzymatic Catalysis – Using Light to Reveal New Enzyme Functions"
Sponsored by Janssen

Nov 19
Dr. Matt Bio

"Using continuous manufacturing technology and lab automation to accelerate pharmaceutical drug substance process development"

Dec 17
Prof. Osvaldo Gutierrez

"Combining Theory and Experiment to Develop Selective Three-Component Fe-Catalyzed Radical Cascades/Cross-Couplings "
Sponsored by Fox-Chase

Jan 28
Prof. David Nagib

"Harnessing Radicals To Enable Unconventional Reactivity"
Sponsored by Adesis
The POCC Student Choice Lecture

Feb 25
Dr. Tejas Shah

"Innovations in Small Molecule Agrochemical Discovery"

Mar 18
Dr. Erika Milczek

"Engineering enzymes for microbial control: deconvoluting expression and activity to enhance antimicrobial efficacy through directed evolution"
The Women in Chemistry Lecture

Apr 29
Prof. Seth Herzon

"Total synthesis of complex terpenoid natural products"
POCC 2021 Poster Sesssion (INFO HERE)

May 27
Dr. Erin O'Brien

"Development of a Sustainable Manufacturing Process for Vixotrigine"


Meet the POCC Leadership

Donald Watson

Chair, Professor @ the University of Delaware

Donald A. Watson received his BS in Chemistry 1998 from UC San Diego while working in the laboratories of Professors K.C. Nicolaou and Emmanuel Theodorakis on natural products synthesis. He completed his PhD at UC Irvine in 2004 working with Professor Larry E. Overman on stereochemical problems in palladium-catalyzed transformations. From 2004 to 2006 he was a NIH Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratories of Professor Robert G. Bergman at UC Berkeley, and then a Postdoctoral Associate from 2006 to 2009 with Professor Stephen L. Buchwald at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology working in the area of transition metal catalysis.
He joined the Chemistry and Biochemistry faculty at the University of Delaware as an Assistant Professor in July 2009. His research focuses on the development of new chemical methods for preparing organic molecules and structures, with a particular interest in the development transition-metal based catalytic reactions and in the construction of carbon-heteroatom bonds. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2015, and Professor in 2018.

Contact Donald: dawatson@udel.edu

Jing Li

Chair-Elect, President of Pharmablock USA

Jing is currently president of PharmaBlock(USA) leading both Process R&D and Business development. Prior to working at PharmaBlock, Jing has been with Merck Process Research for almost nine years, mostly in Jaume Balsells’s Discovery Process Chemistry team. In addition, She had over six years medicinal chemistry experience with Cubist and Millennium, and advanced two molecules into clinical trials. Jing graduated from Nanjing University (China) with PhD in Chemistry, and had postdoc training with Prof Patrick Harran working on Diazonamide A total synthesis. She lives in Worcester, PA, with her husband, two daughters, one Corgi and two cats. She always enjoys travel, and recently identified her new hobby in horse riding.

Contact Jing: li_jing@pharmablock.com

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 Wayne PA and has three adult children. He enjoys, golfing, reading, and wine making.

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

Qishui (Tracy) Chen

Assistant Secretary, Technology Licensing Officer @ the University of Pennsylvania

Tracy is a technology licensing officer at University of Pennsylvania. At Penn Center for Innovation (PCI), she manages intellectual property protection, licensing, and commercialization for a variety of technologies in chemistry, materials science, biotechnology, and engineering. Prior to working in technology transfer, Tracy was a postdoctoral researcher at Northwestern University with Prof. Fraser Stoddart, studying mechanically interlocked molecules in metal organic frameworks. She interned at the Office of Innovation and New Ventures (INVO) at Northwestern, where she conducted prior art search and market analysis for new inventions. Tracy received her PhD in organic chemistry in 2015 from Columbia University (advisor: Colin Nuckolls), and her BS in chemistry from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.

Contact Qishui: qchen1@upenn.edu

Cheyenne Chaplain

Student Representative, Graduate Student @ the University of Pennsylvania (Smith Laboratory)

A native of Parke County, Indiana, I graduated with my Bachelor’s from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, and while at Purdue, I had the opportunity to research under two professors: David H. Thompson on synthesizing new MRI contrast agents and therapeutics for Niemann-Pick Type C disease and Arun K. Ghosh on synthesizing derivatives of HIV-1 protease inhibitors. I am now in Professor Amos Smith’s laboratory working on creating new CD4 mimetic analogues to combat HIV/AIDS. I spend my free time outside of lab writing stories and watching anime and movies, and I’m always looking for a tennis partner to spar with! Aside from the Mentoring Committee, I am also one of the directors for ACES–one of the biannual outreach programs.

Contact Cheyenne: cheyc@sas.upenn.edu

Kalina Doytchinova

Social Media Director, Graduate Student @ the University of Pennsylvania (Winkler Laboratory)

Kalina was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria, finishing high school in Long Island, NY. She graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in chemistry in 2016. While at BU, she pursued undergraduate research under the mentorship of Prof. John A. Porco, Jr. She is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Pennsylvania in the laboratory of Prof. Jeffrey D. Winkler, where her research is focused on the total synthesis of a complex polyketide natural product.

Contact Kalina: kalinad@sas.upenn.edu

Christopher Kelly

Web Master, Scientist @ Janssen R & D

Chris grew up in Yorktown Heights, NY, a suburb of one of the greatest cities in the world. Chris’s interest in organic chemistry was sparked during his undergraduate studies at Stonehill College in North Easton, MA. At Stonehill, Chris worked under the mentorship of Prof. Leon Tilley and completed a targeted synthesis of a previously unknown bicyclobutane derivative, 1-(trifluoromethyl)bicyclo[1.1.0]butane. After graduating summa cum laude and valedictorian of his class, Chris moved to the University of Connecticut to perform his doctoral work under Prof. Nicholas Leadbeater. At UCONN, he worked toward developing practical methods in the areas of organofluorine chemistry, sustainable oxidative processes, and the integration of emerging technologies (continuous flow processing, microwave irradiation, etc.) in synthesis.

In 2015, he moved to Philadelphia to pursue his post-doctoral training as an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow under Prof. Gary Molander at the University of Pennsylvania. At Penn, Chris’s research centered on the utilization of photoredox catalysis as an enabling technology for C–C bond construction and its application toward accessing novel fluorinated motifs. In the summer of 2018, Chris will move to Richmond, VA to join the faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University and the Medicines for All Institute. At VCU, Chris’s group focused on reaction discovery by leveraging high throughput experimentation, computational insight, and cutting-edge equipment with the ultimate goal of developing tools to solve problems in medicinal chemistry. In the fall of 2019, he left VCU to join Janssen's new Discovery Process Research team headed by Jaume Balsells to tackle problems durectly relating to human health.

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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