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Headshot 2021

Dr. Leslie Nickerson

Assistant Professor

Office: PSC 361, Pocatello




Postdoctoral Studies: Organic Synthesis and Teaching, Smith College, 2019-2021

Ph.D. Chemistry, University of California, Davis, 2019

Bachelor of Science Chemistry, University of Idaho, 2014

Research area: Organic methodology and heterogeneous catalysis

Student experience required for research: CHEM 1111, CHEM 1112

Student experience gained from research: Organic synthetic technique, experimental design, heterogeneous catalysis, sustainable chemistry principles, data analysis

Ideal preparation for: Employment in a wide-range of chemical industries particularly with an emphasis on sustainable chemistry, teaching, and preparation for graduate school or professional schools.

Research Focus:

Research in the Nickerson lab is focused on adapting traditional organic transformations that use metal-halide based Lewis acids to more sustainable processes using Lewis acidic heterogeneous materials such as clays and zeolites. This adjustment makes methods safer and more sustainable because the heterogeneous materials are easily recycled and reused and the waste production is far less than when using traditional Lewis acids. Current projects are focused on modifying the Friedel-Crafts acylation and the Prins-pinacol rearrangement.

Diagram of changing molecular structures

The proposed research will provide student researchers valuable skills in organic synthesis, method development and materials chemistry. Students will learn organic chemistry techniques, experimental design with an emphasis on safety considerations, data analysis, and spectroscopic techniques including NMR and GC. This work will be ideal for any students that want to learn more about implementing sustainable methods in organic chemistry.

Recent Publications

“First-Semester Organic Chemistry During COVID-19: Prioritizing Group Work, Flexibility, and Student Engagement.” L. A. Nickerson, K. M. Shea, J. Chem. Ed. 2020, 97, 3201-3205.

“Transition Metal Catalyzed Insertion Reactions with Donor/Donor Carbenes.” B. D. Bergstroma, L. A. Nickersona, J. T. Shawa, L. W. Souzaa, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2020, 10.1002/anie.202007001. aAuthors are listed alphabetically by last name. “Enantioselective Synthesis of Isochromans and Tetrahydroisoquinolines by C–H Insertion of Donor/Donor Carbenes.” L. A. Nickerson, B. D. Bergstrom, M. Gao, Y-S. Shiue, C. J. Laconsay, M. R. Culberson, W. A. Knauss, J. C. Fettinger, D. J. Tantillo, J. T. Shaw. Chem. Sci. 2020, 11, 494-498.

“Au(I)-Catalyzed Synthesis of Trisubstituted Indolizines from 2-Propargyloxypyridines and Methyl Ketones.” M. D. Rossler, C. T. Hartgerink, E. E. Zerull, B. L. Boss, A. K. Frndak, M. M. Mason, L. A. Nickerson, E. O. Romero, J. E. Van de Burg, R. J. Staples, C. E. Anderson. Org. Lett. 2019, 21, 5591-5595.

Enantioselective Synthesis of Indolines, Benzodihydrothiophenes, and Indanes by C–H Insertion of Donor/Donor Carbenes.” L. W. Souza, R. A. Squitieri, C. A. Dimirjian, B. M. Hodur, L. A. Nickerson, C. N. Penrod, J. Cordova, J. C. Fettinger, J. T. Shaw. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2018, 130, 15433-15436. These authors contributed equally.