• Philadelphia Organic Chemists' Club


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


2022-2023 Seminar Series
NOTE: All talks are anticipated to be IN PERSON for the 2022-2023 cycle.

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


Sept 22
Dr. Emma McInturff

"Development of Nirmatrelvir to treat COVID-19: Milligrams to Metric Tons in 18 Months"

Oct 27
Dr. Nicole Goodwin

"Driving efficiencies in drug discovery via the tactical application of high-throughput chemistry solutions"

Nov 18
Prof. Donna Huryn

"Development of Allosteric Inhibitors of the ATPase p97 to Interrogate Novel Biology and Fuel Cancer Drug Discovery "
Sponsored by: FMC
Women in Chemistry Lecture

Dec 8
Dr. Steven Wisniewski

"Enabling Process Development Through Transition Metal Catalysis"

Jan 26
Prof. Jon Ellman

"The Development of Synthetic Methods for Drug Discovery and Development "
Sponsored by: Janssen
Allan Day Award Lecture

Feb 16
Prof. Mark Levin

"Single Atom Logic for Skeletal Editing"
Sponsored by: FMC

Mar 23
Dr. Kristi Leonard

"Discovery of a Gut-Restricted JAK Inhibitor for the Treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease & Identification of Quinazoline-based Covalent Inhibitors of KRASG12C for the Treatment of Solid Tumors"
Sponsored by : Adesis

Apr 27
Prof. Timothy Newhouse

"Computationally Augmented Total Synthesis"
Sponsored by: Merck
Student Choice Lecture and POCC Poster Session

May 25
Prof. Robert Knowles

"Organic Synthesis Away from Equilibrium"
Sponsored by: Pharmablock


Meet the POCC Leadership

Sarah Wengryniuk

Chair, Associate 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

Zhenzhen Dong

Chair-Elect, Associate Director, Adesis Inc.

Zhenzhen grew up in Shanghai and got her BS degree in Polymer Science and Engineering from Shanghai Jiaotong University in 2002. She came to US and studied under Prof. Joseph Fox at University of Delaware and received her Ph.D in organic chemistry in 2007. Zhenzhen has been working in the Discovery Chemistry group at Adesis Inc. for the past 15 years and is an advocate for diversity in the lab. In 2021, she founded AWISE (Adesis for Women in STEM Empowerment). Zhenzhen has a young daughter and enjoys gardening, fitness, movie, crafting and playing with her 2 kittens.

Contact Zhenzhen: zdong@adesisinc.com

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: 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

Jordan Artzy

Assistant Secretary, Graduate Student @ the University of Pennsylvania (Smith 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: jartzy@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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