Associate Professor – Precision Macromolecules for Biomimetic Molecular Recognition and Catalysis
Research and/or Creative Works
The research in my group aims to create sequence-defined macrocycles, nanocages, and dendrimers with protein-mimetic cavities for (i) biomedical and environmental sensing and (ii) as artificial enzymes for selective precision polymer synthesis and functionalization. To meet this fundamental challenge, we are combining multiscale computer modeling with methods of controlled covalent and non-covalent synthesis. As a first example of artificial enzymes, we have recently reported a large and robust molecular tetrahedron, which can size-selectively functionalize polymer chains in Chem (Cell Press). Graduate and undergraduate students in my group gain valuable interdisciplinary experience in organic synthesis, supramolecular chemistry, materials characterization, and computer modeling.
S. C. Rajappan, D. R. McCarthy, J. P. Campbell, J. B. Ferrell, M. Sharafi, O. Ambrozaite, J. Li, S. T. Schneebeli. “Selective Monofunctionalization Enabled by Reaction History‐Dependent Communication in Catalytic Rotaxanes” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2020, Just Accepted Manuscript, DOI: 10.1002/anie.202006305.
M. Sharafi, K. T. McKay, M. Ivancic, D. R. McCarthy, N. Dudkina, K. E. Murphy, S. C. Rajappan, J. P. Campbell, Y. Shen, A. R. Badireddy, J. Li, S. T. Schneebeli. “Size-Selective Catalytic Polymer Acylation with a Molecular Tetrahedron” Chem (Cell Press) 2020, 6, 1469-1494.
- J. P. Campbell, S. C. Rajappan, T. J. Jaynes, M. Sharafi, Y. Ma, J. Li, S. T. Schneebeli. “Enantioselective Electrophilic Aromatic Nitration — A Chiral Auxiliary Approach” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2019, 58, 1035-1040, Inside-back Cover.
- M. Sharafi, J. P. Campbell, S. C. Rajappan, N. Dudkina, D. L. Gray, T. J. Woods, J. Li, S. T. Schneebeli. “Crystal-Packing-Driven Enrichment of Atropoisomers” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2017, 56, 7097–7081. Highlighted in UVM CAS News.
K. E. Murphy, J. L. Bocanegra, X. Liu, H.-Y. K. Chau, P. C. Lee, J. Li, S. T. Schneebeli. “Precise Through Space Control of an Abiotic Electrophilic Aromatic Substitution Reaction” Nature Commun. 2017, 8, 14840.
C. Liao, X. Zhao, J. Liu, S. T. Schneebeli, J. C. Shelley, J. Li. “Capturing the Multiscale Dynamics of Membrane Protein Complexes with All-Atom, Mixed-Resolution, and Coarse-Grained Models” Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 2017, 19, 9181–9188.
M. Sharafi, Z. J. Weinert, I. M. Cohen, C. Liao, M. Ivancic, J. Li, S. T. Schneebeli. “Controlled Self-Assembly Inside C-Shaped Polyaromatic Strips” Synlett 2016, 27, 2145–2149. Special Issue on the “Synthesis of Non-planar Polyaromatic Compounds”.
M. V. Sheridan, K. Lam, M. Sharafi, S. T. Schneebeli, W. E. Geiger. “Anodic Methods for Covalent Attachment of Ethynylferrocenes to Electrode Surfaces: Comparison of Ethynyl Activation Processes” Langmuir 2016, 32, 1645–1657.
X. Liu, Z. J. Weinert, M. Sharafi, C. Liao, J. Li, S. T. Schneebeli. “Regulating Molecular Recognition with C-Shaped Strips Attained by Chirality-Assisted Synthesis” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2015, 54, 12772–12776. VIP, Inside Cover, Highlighted in Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., Popular Mechanics, and io9.
C. Liao, M. E. Selvan, J. Zhao, J. Slimovitch, S. T. Schneebeli, M. Shelley, J. Shelley, J. Li. “Melittin Aggregation in Aqueous Solutions: Insight from Molecular Dynamics Simulations” J. Phys. Chem. B 2015, 119, 10390–10398.
Awards and Recognition
Thieme Chemistry Journal Award, 2020
NSF CAREER Award, 2019
U.S. Army Research Office Young Investigator Award, 2018
International Institute for Nanotechnology (IIN) Postdoctoral Fellowship, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, 2011–2013
2011 Hammett Award in Chemistry for Excellence in Studies and Research toward the PhD, Columbia University, awarded to the top Graduate Student
Arun Guthikonda Memorial Fellowship in Organic Chemistry, Columbia University, awarded to the top Fourth Year Graduate Student, 2010–2011
Upjohn Fellowship for Academic Excellence, Columbia University, 2007–2008
Young Researcher Participant, 18th Meeting of Nobel Prize Winners in Chemistry, Lindau, Germany, 2006
Scholarships from the Alfred Werner Legate at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, awarded for Academic Excellence, 2005 and 2006
Member of the Swiss National Team at the 34th International Chemistry Olympiad, Groningen, the Netherlands for High School Researchers, 2002
Areas of Expertise and/or Research
Organic synthesis, supramolecular chemistry, polymer chemistry, and theoretical/computational chemistry
- B.A., University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland, 2006
- Ph.D., Columbia University, New York, NY, 2011
- International Institute for Nanotechnology (IIN) Postdoctoral Fellow, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, 2011–2014
- (802) 656-0252
Innovation Hall E346
Chem 241 — Advanced Organic Chemistry I (Fall 2014, 15, and 16)
Chem 251 — Physical Organic Chemistry (Spring 2015 and 16)
Chem 214 — Polymer Chemistry (Spring 2017)
Chem 141 — Organic Chemistry I (Fall 2017)