Charles Kent Zercher

Office of the Dean
Phone: (603) 862-1781
Office: CEPS Dean's Office, Kingsbury Hall, Durham, NH 03824
Charles Kent Zercher

I am a Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of New Hampshire. I teach and conduct research in the area of organic chemistry, with primary interests in the development of synthetic methodology and the application these new synthetic tools to the preparation of molecules on biological.

Recent research activity has focused on the development of a series of reactions initiated by the reaction of β-dicarbonyl compounds with zinc carbenoids. Treatment of the resultant reactive intermediate with a variety of electrophiles leads to a diverse array of complex products. The chemistry has been key to the efficient synthesis of numerous natural products, include brefeldin A, papyracillic acids A, B, and C, CJ-12,954 and CJ-13,014, and patulolide A.


  • Ph.D., Chemistry, University of Notre Dame
  • M.S., Medicinal&Pharmaceutical Chem., State University of New York at Buffalo
  • B.A., Chemistry, Messiah College

Research Interests

  • Chemical Synthesis
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy
  • Synthetic Chemistry

Courses Taught

  • CHEM 696: Independent Study
  • CHEM 699: Thesis
  • CHEM 918: Special Topic
  • TECH 400: Introduction to CEPS Programs
  • TECH 696: Stdy/Six Sigma

Selected Publications

Bhogadhi, Y. (2014). Formation of γ-Keto Esters from β-Keto Esters: Methyl 5,5-dimethyl-4-oxohexanoate. Organic Syntheses, 91, 248-259. doi:10.15227/orgsyn.091.0248

Mazzone, J. R., & Zercher, C. K. (2012). Syntheses of Papyracillic Acids: Application of the Tandem Chain Extension-Acylation Reaction. JOURNAL OF ORGANIC CHEMISTRY, 77(20), 9171-9178. doi:10.1021/jo30176171

Townley, M. A., Pu, Q., Zercher, C. K., Neefus, C. D., & Tillinghast, E. K. (2012). Small Organic Solutes in Sticky Droplets from Orb Webs of the Spider Zygiella atrica (Araneae; Araneidae): β -Alaninamide Is a Novel and Abundant Component. Chemistry & Biodiversity, 9(10), 2159-2174. doi:10.1002/cbdv.201200077

Jacobine, A. M., Puchlopek, A. L. A., Zercher, C. K., Briggs, J. B., Jasinski, J. P., & Butcher, R. J. (2012). Tandem chain extension–Mannich reaction: an approach to β-proline derivatives. Tetrahedron, 68(38), 7799-7805. doi:10.1016/j.tet.2012.07.039

Aiken, K. S., Eger, W. A., Williams, C. M., Spencer, C. M., & Zercher, C. K. (2012). A Combined DFT and NMR Investigation of the Zinc Organometallic Intermediate Proposed in the Syn -Selective Tandem Chain Extension–Aldol Reaction of β-Keto Esters. The Journal of Organic Chemistry, 77(14), 5942-5955. doi:10.1021/jo3004925

Lai, S., Zercher, C. K., Jasinski, J. P., Reid, S. N., & Staples, R. J. (2001). Tandem Chain Extension−Aldol Reaction: Syn Selectivity with a Zinc Enolate. Organic Letters, 3(26), 4169-4171. doi:10.1021/ol016788n

Verbicky, C. A., & Zercher, C. K. (2000). Zinc-Mediated Chain Extension of β-Keto Phosphonates. The Journal of Organic Chemistry, 65(18), 5615-5622. doi:10.1021/jo000343f

Brogan, J. B., & Zercher, C. K. (1997). Zinc-Mediated Conversion of β-Keto Esters to γ-Keto Esters. The Journal of Organic Chemistry, 62(18), 6444-6446. doi:10.1021/jo970868g

Wender, P. A., Zercher, C. K., Beckham, S., & Haubold, E. M. (1993). A photochemically triggered DNA cleaving agent: synthesis, mechanistic and DNA cleavage studies on a new analog of the anti-tumor antibiotic dynemicin. The Journal of Organic Chemistry, 58(22), 5867-5869. doi:10.1021/jo00074a001

Wender, P. A., & Zercher, C. K. (1991). Studies on DNA-cleaving agents: synthesis of a functional dynemicin analogue. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 113(6), 2311-2313. doi:10.1021/ja00006a065

Most Cited Publications