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Eric Ferreira

Blurred image of a green laser used as background for stylistic purposes.
Associate Professor
  • S.B. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2000
  • Ph.D. California Institute of Technology, 2005
  • Postdoc  Stanford University, 2005-2008
Research Areas:
Research Interests:

Organic Chemistry

Research in our group is focused on the development of new synthetic transformations, primarily centered around transition metal catalysis.  Critical to the invention of these methods is our ability to derive inspiration from both reaction mechanisms and natural products.  Our understanding of intermediates along mechanistic pathways allows us to design innovative chemcial transformations that can capitalize on these potentially reactive species.  Concurrently, we are interested in natural products and other molecules possessing interesting structural properties and biological activity.  Our analyses of their respective core molecular architectures initiates the design of these synthetically important methods.  These sources of inspiration continuously feed into our logical advancement of synthetic methods.  At the same time, our expansion of the synthetic toolbox affords us opportunities for applications of these methods, both in mechanistic studies and in natural product synthesis.

Current efforts in our group are primarily dedicated toward three distinct areas: catalytic alkyne activation, directed catalytic C–H functionalization, and light-activated catalysis based on earth-abundant reagents.  In all of these areas, fundamental questions of reaction design and potential applications are probed.  Ultimately, we anticipate that our explorations in these and other conceptual areas will eventually deepen our understanding of many principles of catalysis and reactivity.

Selected Publications:


Costello, J. P.; Ferreira, E. M.  Regioselectivity Influences in Platinum-Catalyzed Intramolecular Alkyne O–H and N–H Additions. Organic Letters 2019, 21(24), 9934-9939. doi:10.1021/acs.orglett.9b03557

Ferreira, E. M.  Decoration of Molecules Made Easy.  Nature 2019, 567, 184-185. doi:10.1038/d41586-019-00767-w


Knutson, P. C.; Fredericks, H. E.; Ferreira, E. M.  Synthesis of 1,3-Diynes Via Cadiot-Chodkiewicz Coupling of Volatile, in Situ-Generated Bromoalkynes. Organic Letters 2018, 20(21), 6845-6849. doi:10.1021/acs.orglett.8b02975

Higgins, R. F.; Fatur, S. M.; Damrauer, N. H.; Ferreira, E. M.; Rappé, A. K.; Shores, M. P.  Detection of an Energy-Transfer Pathway in Cr-Photoredox Catalysis. ACS Catalysis 2018, 8(10), 9216-9225. doi:10.1021/acscatal.8b03013

Sarabia, F. J.; Li, Q.; Ferreira, E. M.  Cyclopentene Annulations of Alkene Radical Cations with Vinyl Diazo Species Using Photocatalysis. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2018, 57(34), 11015-11019. doi:10.1002/anie.201805732

Shen, X.; Wang, J.; Gall, B. K.; Ferreira, E. M.; Yuan, Q.; Yan, Y.  Establishment of Novel Biosynthetic Pathways for the Production of Salicyl Alcohol and Gentisyl Alcohol in Engineered Escherichia coli. ACS Synthetic Biology 2018, 7(4), 1012-1017. doi:10.1021/acssynbio.8b00051


Wang, J.; Mahajani, M.; Jackson, S. L.; Yang, Y.; Chen, M.; Ferreira, E. M.; Lin, Y.; Yan, Y. Engineering a bacterial platform for total biosynthesis of caffeic acid derived phenethyl esters and amides. Metabolic Engineering 2017, 44, 89-99. doi:10.1016/j.ymben.2017.09.011

Seizert, C. A.; Ferreira, E. M. A boron-based Ireland-Claisen approach to the synthesis of pordamacrine A. Tetrahedron 2017, 73(29), 4186-4194. doi:10.1016/j.tet.2016.11.030

Li, Q.; Ferreira, E. M. Meta-Selective C−H Arylation of Aromatic Alcohols with a Readily Attachable and Cleavable Molecular Scaffold. Chemistry - A European Journal 2017, 23(48), 11519-11523. doi:10.1002/chem.201703054

Sarabia, F. J.; Ferreira, E. M. Radical Cation Cyclopropanations via Chromium Photooxidative Catalysis. Organic Letters 2017, 19(11), 2865-2868. doi:10.1021/acs.orglett.7b01095

Stevenson, S. M.; Higgins, R. F.; Shores, M. P.; Ferreira, E. M. Chromium photocatalysis: accessing structural complements to Diels-Alder adducts with electron-deficient dienophiles. Chemical Science 2017, 8(1), 654-660. doi:10.1039/c6sc03303b

Huynh, K. Q.; Seizert, C. A.; Ozumerzifon, T. J.; Allegretti, P. A.; Ferreira, E. M. Platinum-Catalyzed α,β-Unsaturated Carbene Formation in the Formal Syntheses of Frondosin B and Liphagal. Organic Letters 2017, 19(1), 294-297.


Stevenson, S. M.; Newcomb, E. T.; Ferreira, E. M. C–C Bond Migration in the Cycloisomerization of 1,6-Enynes. Organic Chemistry Frontiers 2016, 3, 1228-1335.

Li, Q.; Knight, B. J.; Ferreira, E. M. Palladium(II)-Catalyzed ortho-Arylation of Aromatic Alcohols with a Readily Attachable and Cleavable Molecular Scaffold. Chemistry - A European Journal 2016, 22, 13054-13058.

Higgins, R. F.; Fatur, S. M.; Shepard, S. G.; Stevenson, S. M.; Boston, D. J.; Ferreira, E. M.; Damrauer, N. H.; Rappé, A. K.; Shores, M. P. Uncovering the Roles of Oxygen in Cr(III) Photoredox Catalysis. Journal of the American Chemical Society 2016, 138, 5451 - 5464.

Newcomb, E. T.; Knutson, P. C.; Pedersen, B. A.; Ferreira, E. M. Total Synthesis of Gelsenicine via a Catalyzed Cycloisomerization Strategy. Journal of the American Chemical Society 2016, 138, 108 - 111.

Knight, B. J.; Rothbaum, J. O.; Ferreira, E. M. The design of a readily attachable and cleavable molecular scaffold for ortho-selective C–H alkenylation of arene alcohols. Chem. Sci. 2016, 7, 1982 - 1987.

Allegretti, P. A.; Huynh, K.; Ozumerzifon, T. J.; Ferreira, E. M. Lewis Acid Mediated Vinylogous Additions of Enol Nucleophiles into an α,β-Unsaturated Platinum Carbene. Organic Letters 2016, 18, 64 - 67.


Knight, B. J.; Stache, E. E.; Ferreira, E. M. An analysis of the complementary stereoselective alkylations of imidazolidinone derivatives toward α-quaternary proline-based amino amides. Tetrahedron 2015, 71, 5814 - 5823.

Stevenson, S. M.; Shores, M. P.; Ferreira, E. M. Photooxidizing Chromium Catalysts for Promoting Radical Cation Cycloadditions. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2015, 54, 6506 - 6510.


Knight, B. J.; Stache, E. E.; Ferreira, E. M. Complementary Stereochemical Outcomes in Proline-Based Self-Regenerations of Stereocenters. Organic Letters 2014, 16, 432 - 435.

Seizert, C. A.; Ferreira, E. M. An Examination of the Scope and Stereochemistry of the Ireland-Claisen Rearrangement of Boron Ketene Acetals. Chemistry - A European Journal 2014, 20, 4460 - 4468.

Rooke, D. A.; Menard, Z. A.; Ferreira, E. M. An analysis of the influences dictating regioselectivity in platinum-catalyzed hydrosilylations of internal alkynes. Tetrahedron 2014, 70, 4232 - 4244.

Stevenson, S. M.; Newcomb, E. T.; Ferreira, E. M. C–C bond migration in the cycloisomerization of oxygen-tethered 1,6-enynes. Chem. Commun. 2014, 50, 5239 - 5241.

Ferreira, E. M. C–H Activation. A Surrogate for Selectivity. Nature Chemistry 2014, 6, 94-96.


Newcomb, E. T.; Ferreira, E. M. Highly Enantiospecific Platinum-Catalyzed Cycloisomerizations: Synthesis of Enantioenriched Oxabicycloheptene Derivatives. Organic Letters 2013, 15, 1772 - 1775.

Barczak, N. T.; Rooke, D. A.; Menard, Z. A.; Ferreira, E. M. Stereoselective Synthesis of Tetrasubstituted Olefins through a Halogen-Induced 1,2-Silyl Migration. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2013, 52, 7579 - 7582.

Allegretti, P. A.; Ferreira, E. M. Platinum-catalyzed cyclizations viacarbene intermediates: syntheses of complementary positional isomers of isoxazoles. Chem. Sci. 2013, 4, 1053 - 1058.

Allegretti, P. A.; Ferreira, E. M. Vicinal Bisheterocyclizations of Alkynes via Nucleophilic Interception of a Catalytic Platinum Carbene. Journal of the American Chemical Society 2013, 135, 17266 - 17269.


Rooke, D. A.; Ferreira, E. M. Palladium-Catalyzed Hiyama Couplings of α-Silylenoates and α-Silylenamides. Organic Letters 2012, 14, 3328 - 3331.

Stache, E. E.; Seizert, C. A.; Ferreira, E. M. Molecular scaffolds with remote directing groups for selective palladium-catalyzed C–H bond functionalizations. Chemical Science 2012, 3, 1623 - 1628.

Rooke, D. A.; Ferreira, E. M. Platinum-Catalyzed Hydrosilylations of Internal Alkynes: Harnessing Substituent Effects to Achieve High Regioselectivity. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2012, 51, 3225 - 3230.


Allegretti, P. A.; Ferreira, E. M. Generation of α,β-Unsaturated Platinum Carbenes from Homopropargylic Alcohols: Rearrangements to Polysubstituted Furans. Organic Letters 2011, 13, 5924 - 5927.


Rooke, D. A.; Ferreira, E. M. Stereoselective Syntheses of Trisubstituted Olefins via Platinum Catalysis: α-Silylenones with Geometrical Complementarity. Journal of the American Chemical Society 2010, 132, 11926 - 11928.

Articles Featuring Eric Ferreira
Monday, January 25, 2021 - 2:26pm

Eric Ferreira’s own early fascination with solving puzzles helps him inspire students to piece together the logic behind organic chemistry.

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