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Eric Nacsa

Assistant Professor of Chemistry


Professional Appointments and Affiliations

Assistant Professor of Chemistry


426 Chemistry Building
University Park, PA 16802
(814) 863-1339


Postdoctoral Fellow, Princeton University

PhD, Columbia University, 2015

BSc, Harvey Mudd College, 2010

Honors and Awards

NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2017–2019

Arun Guthikonda Memorial Graduate Fellowship, Columbia University, 2013

ACS Division of Polymer Chemistry Award, 2010

Harvey S. Mudd Merit Scholarship, Harvey Mudd College, 2006–2010


Our group is primarily interested in addressing important challenges in synthetic organic chemistry. In particular, we will seek new, general strategies to prepare complex, biologically active compounds or substructures from the simplest possible feedstocks. This work involves designing new reactions, catalysts, and reagents, and is driven by mechanistic hypotheses and investigations. Furthermore, we seek to harness new reactivity principles in organic chemistry to develop enabling tools for chemical biology, identify scalable approaches to renewable organic feedstocks, and prepare organic polymers with improved functionality.


Han, J.; Haines, C. A.; Piane, J. J.; Filien, L. L.; *Nacsa, E. D. “An Electrochemical Design for Catalytic Dehydration: Direct, Room-Temperature Esterification without Acid or Base Additives.” J.  Am. Chem. Soc. 2023, 145, 15680–15687.

Nacsa, E. D.; *MacMillan, D. W. C. “Spin-Center Shift-Enabled Direct Enantioselective α-Benzylation of Aldehydes with Alcohols.” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018140, 3322–3330.

Nacsa, E. D.; *Lambert, T. H. “Cross-Coupling of Sulfonic Acid derivatives via Aryl-Radical Transfer (ART) Using TTMSS or Photoredox.” Org. Chem. Front. 20185, 64–69.

Nacsa, E. D.; *Lambert, T. H. “Higher-Order Cyclopropenimine Superbases. Direct Neutral Brønsted Base Catalyzed Michael Reactions with α-Aryl Esters.” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2015137, 10246–10253.

An, J.; *Denton, R. M.; *Lambert, T. H.; Nacsa, E. D. “The Development of Catalytic Nucleophilic Substitution Reactions: Challenges, Progress and Future Directions.” Org. Biomol. Chem. 201412, 2993–3003.

Nacsa, E. D.; *Lambert, T. H. “Cyclopropenone Catalyzed Inversion of Alcohols with Mesylate Ion.” Org. Lett. 201315, 38–41.