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Qilei Zhu


Assistant Professor

B.S., Peking University, 2014
Ph.D., Princeton University, 2019
Postdoctoral research fellow, Harvard University, 2019–2022

Phone: (801) 581-6538
Office: 4222 HEB
Research Group


Activities & Awards

  • Eli Lilly-Edward C. Taylor Fellowship in Chemistry (Princeton University), 2018–2019
  • Pickering Teaching Award for Excellence in Teaching (Princeton University), 2015–2016

Research Interests

Our research programs center at tackling several long-standing challenges in synthetic chemistry by integrating supramolecular catalysis, nano-chemistry and state-of-the-art electrochemical and photochemical catalysis in energy research. The key aspects of our approach are:

(1) Developing strategies to leverage short-lived reactive radical intermediates, both temporally and spatially, using precisely fabricated electrodes, to develop novel electrochemical transformations;

(2) Achieving catalytic radical reactions with superior selectivity by pre-organizing substrates or catalysts in molecular recognition systems and engineering the secondary coordination sphere of transition metal catalysts. Potential synthetic applications include macrocyclization and C–H functionalization.

Selected Publications

  • Photocatalytic Hydromethylation and Hydroalkylation of Olefins Enabled by Titanium Dioxide Mediated Decarboxylation. Zhu, Q.; Nocera, D. G. J. Am. Chem. Soc.2020, 142, 17913–17918.
  • Intermolecular Anti-Markovnikov Hydroamination of Unactivated Alkenes with Sulfonamides Enabled by Proton-Coupled Electron Transfer. Zhu, Q.; Graff, D. E.; Knowles. R. R. J. Am. Chem. Soc.2018, 140, 741−747.
  • Catalytic Alkylation of Remote C−H Bonds Enabled by Proton-Coupled Electron Transfer. Choi, G.; Zhu, Q.; Miller, D. C.; Gu, C. J.; Knowles, R. R. Nature, 2016, 539, 268−271.
  • Catalytic Carbocation Generation Enabled by the Mesolytic Cleavage of Alkoxyamine Radical Cations. Zhu, Q.; Gentry, E. C.; Knowles, R. R. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.2016, 55, 9969−9973.
Last Updated: 7/29/22