Laurel Schafer

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Laurel Schafer


Research and Teaching Interests

My research interests bridge the areas of organometallic and organic chemistry where we prepare discrete early transition metal and lanthanide complexes for use in the atom-economic, catalytic synthesis of amines. In particular, we are interested in new approaches for the synthesis of chiral ligands for early transition metal and lanthanide complexation suitable for enantioselective transformations.

Our group has developed specialized expertise in the exploitation of easily prepared and modular amidate ligand sets. Upon complexation, the unique electronic characteristics of these ligands promote the formation of very electrophilic metal centers that display promising reactivity in both C-N (hydroamination), C-C (the direct alkylation of amines) bond formation and the ring-opening polymerization of lactones.

There are three general areas of catalysis research:

1) New N,O Chelated Organometallic Complexes for
Group 4 and Lanthanide Mediated Hydroamination Catalysis

2) New N,O Chelated Organometallic Complexes for the direct alkylation of amines (the hydroaminoalkylation reaction).

2) New N,O Chelated Organometallic Complexes for the catalytic synthesis of biodegradable polymers via ring-opening polymerization of lactones.

The fundamental research of the organometallic chemistry of these new complexes provides the foundation for the program. The motivation is the application of these complexes toward small molecule organic chemistry, in which elucidation of mechanistic detail is a key focus. Researchers involved in this work will become trained in a wide range of synthetic skills. The organometallic portions of the projects will demand development of air-sensitive handling techniques while the applications portion will build organic chemistry laboratory skills. The focus on enantioselective methodology will ensure familiarity with chiral techniques (e.g. determination of optical purity, chiral resolutions).

*Photo credit: Janis Franklin/UBC Media Group, UBC Faculty of Science


Real name: 
Office Room Number(s): 
Chem A227
Office Phone Number: 
Fax Number: 

Curriculum Vitae

B.Sc. University of Guelph (1993); Ph.D. University of Victoria (D.J. Berg, 1999); NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship University of California - Berkeley (T.D. Tilley, 1999-2001); NSERC University Faculty Award (2001); Undergraduate Teaching Award (2003); Boehringer Ingelheim Young Investigator Award for Organic Synthesis (2004); A.P. Sloan Fellow (2007); Humboldt Research Fellow (2010); Dean's Distinguished Scholar (2010); UBC Sustainability Fellowship (2011); Killam Award for Excellence in Mentoring (2013); Canada Research Chair in Catalyst Development [Tier 2] (2011 – 2016)






Drover, M. W. ; Christopherson, C. J. ; Schafer, L. L. ; Love, J. A. C(Sp3 )-H Bond Activation Induced By Monohydroborane Coordination At An Iridium(Iii)-Phosphoramidate Complex. European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry 2017.
Braun, C. ; Braese, S. ; Schafer, L. Planar-Chiral [2.2]Paracyclophane-Based Amides As Proligands For Titanium And Zirconium Catalyzed Hydroamination. European Journal of Organic Chemistry 2017.


Drover, M. W. ; Schafer, L. L. ; Love, J. A. Capturing Hbcy2: Using N,o-Chelated Complexes Of Rhodium(I) And Iridium(I) For Chemoselective Hydroboration. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2016, 55, 3181–3186.
Perry, M. R. ; Ebrahimi, T. ; Morgan, E. ; Edwards, P. M. ; Hatzikiriakos, S. G. ; Schafer, L. L. Catalytic Synthesis Of Secondary Amine-Containing Polymers: Variable Hydrogen Bonding For Tunable Rheological Properties. Macromolecules 2016, 49, 4423-4430.
Derakhshandeh, M. ; Noroozi, N. ; Schafer, L. L. ; Vlassopoulos, D. ; Hatzikiriakos, S. G. Dynamics Of Partially Miscible Polylactide-Poly(Ε-Caprolactone) Blends In The Presence Of Cold Crystallization. Rheologica Acta 2016, 55, 657–671.
Drover, M. W. ; Bowes, E. G. ; Schafer, L. L. ; Love, J. A. ; Weller, A. S. Phosphoramidate-Supported Cp*iriii Aminoborane H2B=Nr2 Complexes: Synthesis, Structure, And Solution Dynamics. Chemistry – A European Journal 2016, 22, 6793–6797.
Drover, M. W. ; Love, J. A. ; Schafer, L. L. Toward Anti-Markovnikov 1-Alkyne O-Phosphoramidation: Exploiting Metal–Ligand Cooperativity In A 1,3-N,o-Chelated Cp*ir(Iii) Complex. Journal of the American Chemical Society 2016, 138, 8396-8399.


Chong, E. ; Xue, W. ; Storr, T. ; Kennepohl, P. ; Schafer, L. L. Pyridonate-Supported Titanium(Iii). Benzylamine As An Easy-To-Use Reductant. Organometallics 2015, 34, 4941-4945.
Ryken, S. A. ; Schafer, L. L. N,o-Chelating Four-Membered Metallacyclic Titanium(Iv) Complexes For Atom-Economic Catalytic Reactions. Accounts of Chemical Research 2015, 48, 2576-2586.
Drover, M. W. ; Johnson, H. C. ; Schafer, L. L. ; Love, J. A. ; Weller, A. S. Reactivity Of An Unsaturated Iridium(Iii) Phosphoramidate Complex, [Cp*ir\kappa(2)-N,o\][Bar4F]. Organometallics 2015, 34, 3849-3856.
Horrillo-Martinez, P. ; Leitch, D. C. ; Ryken, S. A. ; Thomson, R. K. ; J. Beard, D. ; Patrick, B. O. ; Schafer, L. L. ; Giesbrecht, G. R. Titanium Amidate Complexes As Active Catalysts For The Synthesis Of High Molecular Weight Polyethylene. Canadian Journal of Chemistry 2015, 93, 775-783.
Drover, M. W. ; Schafer, L. L. ; Love, J. A. Amidate-Ligated Complexes Of Rhodium(I): A Showcase Of Coordination Flexibility. Organometallics 2015, 34, 1783-1786.
Drover, M. W. ; Schafer, L. L. ; Love, J. A. Isocyanate Deinsertion From Kappa(1)-O Amidates: Facile Access To Perfluoroaryl Rhodium(I) Complexes. Dalton Transactions 2015, 44, 19487-19493.
Schafer, L. L. ; Mountford, P. ; Piers, W. E. Earth Abundant Element Compounds In Homogeneous Catalysis. Dalton Transactions 2015, 44, 12027-12028.
Gilmour, D. J. ; Webster, R. L. ; Perry, M. R. ; Schafer, L. L. Titanium Pyridonates For The Homo- And Copolymerization Of Rac-Lactide And Epsilon-Caprolactone. Dalton Transactions 2015, 44, 12411-12419.
Lauzon, J. Michel P. ; Schafer, L. L. Tethered Bis(Amidate) And Bis(Ureate) Supported Zirconium Precatalysts For The Intramolecular Hydroamination Of Aminoalkenes. Zeitschrift für anorganische und allgemeine Chemie 2015, 641, 128-135.


Chong, E. ; Brandt, J. W. ; Schafer, L. L. 2-Pyridonate Tantalum Complexes For The Intermolecular Hydroaminoalkylation Of Sterically Demanding Alkenes. Journal of the American Chemical Society 2014, 136, 10898-10901.
Haehnel, M. ; Priebe, J. B. ; Yim, J. C. - H. ; Spannenberg, A. ; Brueckner, A. ; Schafer, L. L. ; Rosenthal, U. Four-Membered Heterometallacyclic D(0) And D(1) Complexes Of Group 4 Metallocenes With Amidato Ligands. Chemistry-A European Journal 2014, 20, 7752-7758.
Yim, J. C. - H. ; Bexrud, J. A. ; Ayinla, R. O. ; Leitch, D. C. ; Schafer, L. L. Bis(Amidate)Bis(Amido) Titanium Complex: A Regioselective Intermolecular Alkyne Hydroamination Catalyst. Journal of Organic Chemistry 2014, 79, 2015-2028.
Chong, E. ; Garcia, P. ; Schafer, L. L. Hydroaminoalkylation: Early-Transition-Metal-Catalyzed Alpha-Alkylation Of Amines. Synthesis-Stuttgart 2014, 46, 2884-2896.
Yonson, N. ; Yim, J. C. - H. ; Schafer, L. L. Alkene Hydroamination With A Chiral Zirconium Catalyst. Connecting Ligand Design, Precatalyst Structure And Reactivity Trends. Inorganica Chimica Acta 2014, 422, 14-20.


Borzenko, A. ; Pajouhesh, H. ; Morrison, J. - L. ; Tringham, E. ; Snutch, T. P. ; Schafer, L. L. Modular, Efficient Synthesis Of Asymmetrically Substituted Piperazine Scaffolds As Potent Calcium Channel Blockers. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters 2013, 23, 3257-3261.
Payne, P. R. ; Garcia, P. ; Eisenberger, P. ; Yim, J. C. - H. ; Schafer, L. L. Tantalum Catalyzed Hydroaminoalkylation For The Synthesis Of Alpha- And Beta-Substituted N-Heterocycles. Organic Letters 2013, 15, 2182-2185.
Garcia, P. ; Payne, P. R. ; Chong, E. ; Webster, R. L. ; Barron, B. J. ; Behrle, A. C. ; Schmidt, J. A. R. ; Schafer, L. L. Easily Assembled, Modular N,o-Chelating Ligands For Ta(V) Complexation: A Comparative Study Of Ligand Effects In Hydroaminoalkylation With N-Methylaniline And 4-Methoxy-N-Methylaniline. Tetrahedron 2013, 69, 5737-5743.
Duis, J. M. ; Schafer, L. L. ; Nussbaum, S. ; Stewart, J. J. A Process For Developing Introductory Science Laboratory Learning Goals To Enhance Student Learning And Instructional Alignment. Journal of Chemical Education 2013, 90, 1144-1150.
Webster, R. L. ; Noroozi, N. ; Hatzikiriakos, S. G. ; Thomson, J. A. ; Schafer, L. L. Titanium Pyridonates And Amidates: Novel Catalysts For The Synthesis Of Random Copolymers. Chemical Communications 2013, 49, 57.
Garcia, P. ; Lau, Y. Y. ; Perry, M. R. ; Schafer, L. L. Phosphoramidate Tantalum Complexes For Room-Temperature C-H Functionalization: Hydroaminoalkylation Catalysis. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2013, 52, 9144-9148.
Chong, E. ; Qayyum, S. ; Schafer, L. L. ; Kempe, R. 2-Aminopyridinate Titanium Complexes For The Catalytic Hydroamination Of Primary Aminoalkenes. Organometallics 2013, 130228091638008.
Zhang, Z. ; Hamel, J. - D. ; Schafer, L. L. Tame3Cl2-Catalyzed Intermolecular Hydroaminoalkylation: A Simple Complex For Enhanced Reactivity And Expanded Substrate Scope. Chemistry-A European Journal 2013, 19, 8751-8754.
Haehnel, M. ; Yim, J. C. - H. ; Schafer, L. L. ; Rosenthal, U. Facile Access To Tuneable Schwartz's Reagents: Oxidative Addition Products From The Reaction Of Amide N-H Bonds With Reduced Zirconocene Complexes. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2013, 52, 11415-11419.


Lauzon, J. Michel P. ; Schafer, L. L. Tantallaaziridines: From Synthesis To Catalytic Applications. Dalton Transactions 2012.
Noroozi, N. ; Schafer, L. L. ; Hatzikiriakos, S. G. Thermorheological Properties Of Poly (Ε-Caprolactone)/polylactide Blends. Polymer Engineering & Science 2012, n/a - n/a.
Thomson, J. A. ; Schafer, L. L. Yttrium (Amidate) Complexes For Catalytic C–N Bond Formation. Rapid, Room Temperature Amidation Of Aldehydes. Dalton Transactions 2012, 41, 7987 - 7904.
Platel, R. H. ; Schafer, L. L. Zirconium Catalyzed Alkyne Dimerization For Selective Z-Enyne Synthesis. Chemical Communications 2012, 48, 10609.
Noroozi, N. ; Thomson, J. A. ; Noroozi, N. ; Schafer, L. L. ; Hatzikiriakos, S. G. Viscoelastic Behaviour And Flow Instabilities Of Biodegradable Poly (Ε-Caprolactone) Polyesters. Rheologica Acta 2012, 51, 179 - 192.
Zhai, H. ; Borzenko, A. ; Lau, Y. Yin; Ahn, S. Hye; Schafer, L. L. Catalytic Asymmetric Synthesis Of Substituted Morpholines And Piperazines. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2012, 51, 12219 - 12223.
Hayes, C. E. ; Platel, R. H. ; Schafer, L. L. ; Leznoff, D. B. Diamido-Ether Actinide Complexes As Catalysts For The Intramolecular Hydroamination Of Aminoalkenes. Organometallics 2012, 31, 6732 - 6740.


Payne, P. R. ; Bexrud, J. A. ; Leitch, D. C. ; Schafer, L. L. Asymmetric Hydroamination Catalyzed By In Situ Generated Chiral Amidate And Ureate Complexes Of Zirconium — Probing The Role Of The Tether In Ligand Design. Canadian Journal of Chemistry 2011, 89, 1222 - 1229.
Lauterwasser, F. ; Hayes, P. G. ; Piers, W. E. ; Schafer, L. L. ; Braese, S. Cheminform Abstract: Highly Active And Diastereoselective N,o- And N,n-Yttrium Complexes For Intramolecular Hydroamination. ChemInform 2011, 42, no - no.
M. Antunes, A. ; Munhá, R. F. ; Alves, L. G. ; Schafer, L. L. ; Martins, A. M. Intramolecular Hydroamination Catalysis Using Trans-N,n'-Dibenzylcyclam Zirconium Complexes. Journal of Organometallic Chemistry 2011, 696, 2 - 6.
Schafer, L. L. ; Lauzon, J. Michel P. Encyclopedia Of Reagents For Organic Synthesistetrakis(Dimethylamido)Zirconium(Iv); John Wiley & Sons, Ltd: Chichester, UK, 2011.
Ayinla, R. O. ; Gibson, T. ; Schafer, L. L. Amidate Ligand Design Effects In Zirconium-Catalyzed Enantioselective Hydroamination Of Aminoalkenes. Journal of Organometallic Chemistry 2011, 696, 50 - 60.


Leitch, D. C. ; Turner, C. S. ; Schafer, L. L. Isolation Of Catalytic Intermediates In Hydroamination Reactions: Insertion Of Internal Alkynes Into A Zirconium-Amido Bond. Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English) 2010, 49, 6382 - 6.
Thomson, R. K. ; Schafer, L. L. Synthesis, Structure, And Insertion Reactivity Of Zirconium And Hafnium Amidate Benzyl Complexes. Organometallics 2010, 29, 3546 - 3555.


Leitch, D. C. ; Beard, J. D. ; Thomson, R. K. ; Wright, V. A. ; Patrick, B. O. ; Schafer, L. L. N,o-Chelates Of Group 4 Metals: Contrasting The Use Of Amidates And Ureates In The Synthesis Of Metal Dichlorides. European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry 2009, 2691-2701.
Bexrud, J. A. ; Eisenberger, P. ; Leitch, D. C. ; Payne, P. R. ; Schafer, L. L. Selective C-H Activation Alpha To Primary Amines. Bridging Metallaaziridines For Catalytic, Intramolecular Alpha-Alkylation. Journal of the American Chemical Society 2009, 131, 2116-+.
Leitch, D. C. ; Payne, P. R. ; Dunbar, C. R. ; Schafer, L. L. Broadening The Scope Of Group 4 Hydroamination Catalysis Using A Tethered Ureate Ligand. Journal of the American Chemical Society 2009, 131, 18246-+.
Eisenberger, P. ; Ayinla, R. O. ; Lauzon, J. M. P. ; Schafer, L. L. Tantalum-Amidate Complexes For The Hydroaminoalkylation Of Secondary Amines: Enhanced Substrate Scope And Enantioselective Chiral Amine Synthesis. Angewandte Chemie-International Edition 2009, 48, 8361-8365.


Stanlake, L. J. E. ; Beard, J. D. ; Schafer, L. L. Rare-Earth Amidate Complexes. Easily Accessed Initiators For Epsilon-Caprolactone Ring-Opening Polymerization. Inorganic Chemistry 2008, 47, 8062-8068.


Wood, M. C. ; Leitch, D. C. ; Yeung, C. S. ; Kozak, J. A. ; Schafer, L. L. Chiral Neutral Zirconium Amidate Complexes For The Asymmetric Hydroamination Of Alkenes. Angewandte Chemie-International Edition 2007, 46, 354-358.


Ayinla, R. O. ; Schafer, L. L. Bis(Amidate) Titanium Precatalyst For The Intermolecular Hydroamination Of Allenes. Inorganica Chimica Acta 2006, 359, 3097-3102.
Thomson, R. K. ; Bexrud, J. A. ; Schafer, L. L. A Pentagonal Pyramidal Zirconium Imido Complex For Catalytic Hydroamination Of Unactivated Alkenes. Organometallics 2006, 25, 4069-4071.


Thomson, R. K. ; Zahariev, F. E. ; Zhang, Z. ; Patrick, B. O. ; Wang, Y. A. ; Schafer, L. L. Structure, Bonding, And Reactivity Of Ti And Zr Amidate Complexes: Dft And X-Ray Crystallographic Studies. Inorganic Chemistry 2005, 44, 8680-8689.
Bexrud, J. A. ; Beard, J. D. ; Leitch, D. C. ; Schafer, L. L. Intramolecular Hydroamination Of Unactived Olefins With Ti(Nme2)(4) As A Precatalyst. Organic Letters 2005, 7, 1959-1962.
Thomson, R. K. ; Patrick, B. O. ; Schafer, L. L. Synthesis, Characterization, And Reactivity Of The First Hafnium Alkyl Complex Stabilized By Amidate Ligands. Canadian Journal of Chemistry-Revue Canadienne De Chimie 2005, 83, 1037-1042.


Lauterwasser, F. ; Hayes, P. G. ; Brase, S. ; Piers, W. E. ; Schafer, L. L. Scandium-Catalyzed Intramolecular Hydroamination. Development Of A Highly Active Cationic Catalyst. Organometallics 2004, 23, 2234-2237.


Li, C. Y. ; Thomson, R. K. ; Gillon, B. ; Patrick, B. O. ; Schafer, L. L. Amidate Complexes Of Titanium And Zirconium: A New Class Of Tunable Precatalysts For The Hydroamination Of Alkynes. Chemical Communications 2003, 2462-2463.