Abigail Doyle received her A.B. and A.M. summa cum laude in Chemistry and Chemical Biology from Harvard University in 2002. She began her graduate studies at Stanford University working with Professor Justin Du Bois and in 2003, moved to Harvard University to continue her studies in the laboratory of Professor Eric Jacobsen. Her graduate research included the discovery of a transition metal-catalyzed enantioselective alkylation of tributyltin enolates with alkyl halides and the development of a thiourea catalyst for enantioselective nucleophilic additions to prochiral oxocarbenium ions. Abby began her independent career at Princeton University in 2008 and was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2013 and the A. Barton Hepburn Professor of Chemistry in 2015. In 2021, she and her research group moved to UCLA, where she is currently the Saul Winstein Chair in Organic Chemistry.
Our goal is to address unsolved problems in organic synthesis through the development of novel catalysts, catalytic reactions, and synthetic methods. We implement mechanistic and computer-assisted techniques to uncover general chemical principles, predict unseen reactivity, and discover new reactions. For example, the field of Ni-catalyzed cross coupling has undergone rapid growth in recent years owing to the low cost of Ni, its earth abundance, and its unique reactivity profile. Due to these advantages, the Doyle group has sought to develop novel C(sp3)–C bond-forming reactions using Ni catalysis. In the pursuit of these aims, we have conducted mechanistic studies to elucidate the roles of ligands in Ni catalysis and have developed novel ligands uniquely suited for Ni.
Another area of interest is in the area of fluorine chemistry. Fluorinated scaffolds are featured in an array of medicines, agrochemicals, and materials due to the unique chemical properties conferred by fluorine substitution. However, the limited availability of synthetic methods to generate carbon-fluorine (C–F) bonds poses a significant challenge to the discovery and production of fluorinated compounds. An ongoing program of research in the Doyle laboratory is focused on the development of catalytic strategies and novel reagents to address limitations in nucleophilic fluorination. In both of these research endeavors, we have explored the use of visible light photocatalysis to enable milder reaction conditions and unique bond activations, including cross electrophile coupling, C–H functionalization, and C–O bond activation.