A paper authored by Kerry Barnett, James Howard, Renee Stullich, Adam Shipley, and Colin Treager entitled, "Air-Stable [(R3P)PdCl2]2 Complexes of Neopentylphosphines as Cross- Coupling Precatalysts: Catalytic Application and Mechanism of Catalyst Activation and Deactivation," was published in Organometallics. This paper describes the use of [(R3P)PdCl2]2 complexes as catalysts in the Suzuki coupling. A study of the mechanism of conversion of the Pd(II) precatalyst to the Pd(0) active species showed that palladacycle formation was a competitive pathway in acetonitrile. Switching the solvent to toluene eliminated formation of the palladacycle byproduct. This solvent switch allowed a 50-fold decrease in catalyst loading.
James Howard received a Randall Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award for his work in the Shaughnessy group. The Randall award recognizes outstanding undergraduate research at The University of Alabama.