Dr Jack Chen

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Senior Lecturer - Chemistry

Email: jack.chen@aut.ac.nz

ORCID: ORCID logo  https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4662-4076

Links to relevant web pages:



BSc(Hons), PhD (University of Auckland)


Jack was raised in Auckland, New Zealand and studied a Bachelor's in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Auckland. He obtained his PhD in 2010 under the supervision of Prof. Margaret Brimble FRS (University of Auckland). After postdoctoral studies with Prof. Varinder Aggarwal FRS (University of Bristol, 2011-2014) and Prof. Leonard Prins (Universita' degli Studi di Padova, 2014-2016), he commenced his independent career as a Lecturer in the School of Science at Auckland University of Technology (2016).

Teaching Areas:

Organic Chemistry, Molecular Design, General Chemistry

Research Areas:

*    Self-assembly and emergent properties
*    Dynamic, stimuli-responsive functional systems
*    Reaction kinetics and mechanism
*    Green catalysis and sustainable chemistry

Current Research Projects:

Dynamic self-assembled systems responsive to external stimuli

Our group is interested in the way molecules self-organise into functional architectures. We are currently utilising self-assembly to construct dynamic structures that possess emergent properties. This is possible by utilising cooperative effects - where multiple functional groups work together to exhibit properties that are not observed in the original building blocks. Such dynamic systems allow the introduction of stimuli-responsive moieties that allow these systems to respond to chemical fuels, light and other external stimuli. Such responsive systems offer exciting possibilities for the development of smart materials and dynamic chemical systems with the potential to exhibit 'intelligent' and adaptive properties.

SelfAssembled F2

Featured Work

Reversible Formation of a Light-responsive Catalyst by Utilizing Intermolecular Cooperative Effects

Dynamic self-assembly allows the reversible formation of catalysts by exploiting intermolecular cooperative effects. This is achieved by incorporating photoresponsive units within amphiphilic pre-catalysts, which allows catalytic activity to be switched between the 'on' and 'off' states by irradiation with different wavelengths of light.

(Angew. Chem. Int. Ed201958, 15254-15258) link


Substrate-Induced Self-Assembly of Cooperative Catalysts

A substrate is shown to induce the self-assembly of a cooperative catalyst, leading to its own destruction. Nature exploits the same strategy to obtain high-energy structures such as microtubules and to drive non-equilibrium phenomena.

(Angew. Chem. Int. Ed201857, 16469-16474) link

Substrate-induced catalyst 1


Chloe Z.-J. Ren, Pablo Solís Muñana, Gregory G. Warr, Jack L.-Y. Chen. Dynamic and Modular Formation of a Synergistic Transphosphorylation Catalyst.  ACS Catal. 2020,  Accepted article, DOI: 10.1021/acscatal.0c01321. link

Pablo Solís-Muñana Jack L.-Y. Chen. Combining catalysis and replication.  Nat. Chem. 2020, 12, 585-587. (News & Views) link

Chloe Z.-J. Ren, Pablo Solís Muñana, Julien Dupont, Silvia S. Zhou, Jack L.-Y. Chen*. Reversible Formation of a Light-responsive Catalyst by Utilizing Intermolecular Cooperative Effects. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 201958, 15254-15258. link

Pablo Solís Muñana†, Giulio Ragazzon†, Julien Dupont, Chloe Z.‐J. Ren, Leonard J. Prins*, Jack L.‐Y. Chen*. Substrate‐Induced Self‐Assembly of Cooperative Catalysts. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2018, 57, 16469-16474 (†denotes equal contribution) link

C. García-Ruiz, Jack L.-Y. Chen, C. Sandford, K. Feeney, P. Lorenzo, G. Berionni, H. Mayr, and V. K. Aggarwal. Stereospecific Allylic Functionalization: The Reactions of Allylboronate Complexes with Electrophiles. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139, 15324. link

Jack L.-Y. Chen, S. Maiti, I. Fortunati, C. Ferrante, L. J. Prins. Temporal Control over Transient Chemical Systems using Structurally Diverse Chemical Fuels. Chem. Eur. J. 201723, 11549 (Selected as a Hot Paper by the Editors ). link

F. della Sala, S. Neri, S. Maiti, Jack L.-Y. Chen, L. J. Prins. Transient Self-Assembly of Molecular Nanostructures Driven by Chemical Fuels. Curr. Opin. Biotechnol. 201746, 27-33. link

F. della Sala, Jack L.-Y. Chen, S. Ranallo, D. Badocco, P. Pastore, F. Ricci, L. J. Prins. Reversible Electrochemical Modulation of a Catalytic Nanosystem. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 201655, 10737-10740. link

C. Pezzato, Jack L.-Y. Chen, P. Galzerano, M. Salvi, L. J. Prins. Catalytic signal amplification for the discrimination of ATP and ADP using functionalised gold nanoparticles. Org. Biomol. Chem. 201614, 6811. link

Jack L.-Y. Chen, C. Pezzato, P. Scrimin, L. J. Prins, Chiral Nanozymes – Gold Nanoparticle-based Transphosphorylation Catalysts Capable of Enantiomeric Discrimination. Chem. Eur. J. 201622, 7028-7032 (Highlighted with frontispiece cover). link

A. Millan, J. R. Smith, Jack L.-Y. Chen, V. K. Aggarwal, Tandem Allylboration-Prins Reaction for the Rapid Construction of Substituted Tetrahydropyrans: Application to the Total Synthesis of (-)-Clavosolide A. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2016, 55, 2498-2502 (selected as a Hot Paper by the Editors). link

C. Pezzato, S. Maiti, Jack L.-Y. Chen, A. Cazzolaro, C. Gobbo, L. J. Prins, Monolayer protected gold nanoparticles with metal-ion binding sites: functional systems for chemosensing applications. Chem Commun. 2015, 51, 9922-9931. link

Jack L.-Y. Chen, V. K. Aggarwal. Highly Diastereoselective and Enantiospecific Allylation of Ketones and Imines using Borinic Esters: Contiguous Quaternary Stereogenic Centers. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2014, 53, 10992-10996 (designated VIP paper). link

H. M. Geng, L. A. Stubbing, Jack L.-Y. Chen, D. P. Furkert, M. A. Brimble. Synthesis of the Revised Structure of Acortatarin A. Eur. J. Org. Chem. 2014, 6227-6241. link

L. Chausset-Boissarie, K.Ghozati, E. LaBine, Jack L.-Y. Chen, V. K. Aggarwal, C. M. Crudden. Enantiospecific, Regioselective Cross-Coupling Reactions of Secondary Allylic Boronic Esters. Chem. Eur. J. 2013, 19, 17698-17701. link

Jack L.-Y. Chen, H. K. Scott, M. J. Hesse, C. L. Willis, V. K. Aggarwal. Highly Diastereo- and Enantioselective Allylboration of Aldehydes using α‑Substituted Allyl/Crotyl Pinacol Boronic Esters via in Situ Generated Borinic Esters. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013, 135, 5316-5319. link

T.-Y. Yuen, Y.-P. Ng, F. C. F. Ip, Jack L.-Y. Chen, D. J. Atkinson, J. Sperry, N. Y. Ip, M. A. Brimble. Telomerase Inhibition Studies of Novel Spiroketal-Containing Rubromycin Derivatives. Aust. J. Chem. 2013, 66, 530-533. link

H. M. Geng, Jack L.-Y. Chen, D. P. Furkert, S. Jiang, M. A. Brimble. A Convergent Synthesis of the 2-Formylpyrrole Spiroketal Natural Product Acortatarin A. Synlett 2012, 23, 855-858. link

D. F. Chorley, Jack L.-Y. Chen, D. P. Furkert, J. Sperry, M. A. Brimble. Total Synthesis of Danshenspiroketallactone. Synlett 2012, 23, 128. link

Jack. L.-Y. Chen, J. Sperry, N. Y. Ip. M. A. Brimble. Natural products targeting telomere maintenance. Med. Chem. Commun. 2011, 2, 229-245. link

Jack L.-Y. Chen, M. A. Brimble. Synthesis of the Bis-Spiroacetal Core of the Antimitotic Agent Spirastrellolide B. J. Org. Chem. 2011, 76, 9417-9428. link

Jack L.-Y. Chen, M. A. Brimble. Synthesis of the bis-spiroacetal C25-C40 moiety of the antimitotic agent spirastrellolide B using a bis-dithiane deprotection/spiroacetalisation sequence. Chem. Commun. 2010, 46, 3967-3969. link

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