Wei Liu

Wei Liu

Assistant Professor

Rieveschl Hall


A&S Chemistry - 0172

Professional Summary

Wei completed his undergraduate studies at Peking University under the supervision of Prof. Gu Yuan. In 2008, he moved to Princeton University for the doctoral studies under the supervision of Prof. John T. Groves, focusing on metalloporphyrin-catalyzed C-H halogenation reactions. Wei then joined the Chang lab at Berkeley as a postdoctoral researcher. Before moving to the Department of Chemistry at University of Cincinnati in August 2020 as an assistant professor, he spent three years at Miami’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.


PhD: Princeton University NJ, 2014 (Chemistry)

BS: Peking University Beijing, 2008 (Chemistry)

Research and Practice Interests

Organic Synthesis
The first research area in our lab is to develop new methods to synthesize medicinally relevant molecules that are otherwise inaccessible. We are specifically interested in fluoroalkylation reactions. The incorporation of fluorine and fluorine containing groups onto organic molecules is highly useful in modern drugs and agrochemicals, as many as 35 %of agrochemicals and 20 %of pharmaceuticals on the market contain at least one fluorine atom. Our research in this area focuses on the development of novel selective catalytic fluorination processes.
Key references: J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 11398-11403
Another research area in the Liu laboratory focuses on the design, synthesis, and reactivity studies of high-valent metal complexes, in particular copper(III) complexes. High-valent copper(III) species have been implicated as the key reactive intermediates in many copper-catalyzed cross-coupling reactions. However, the transient nature of copper(III) has hindered detailed understanding of their roles in catalysis. We rationally synthesize model copper(III) complexes to directly study their reactivity towards catalytically-relevant C-C and C-heteroatom bond-forming reactions.
Key references: J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 3153-3159
Electrocatalytic conversion of organic molecules and earth-abundant materials into value-added chemicals has emerged as a promising solution for incremental energy demand. Our group is applying the fundamental concept in homogenous catalysts and heterogenous catalysis to the development of novel catalysts and methods for electro-organic synthesis and energy catalysis.
Key references: Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2018, 39, 12675-12679

Positions and Work Experience

2017 -2020 Assistant Professor, Miami University, OH

2020 - Assistant Professor, University of Cincinnati,

Research Support

Investigators:Liu, Wei 07-01-2022 -06-30-2027 American Chemical Society - National Chapter Novel Fluoroalkylation Methods for the Synthesis of Next Generation of Pesticides Role:PI 0.00

Grant: #R35GM146765 Investigators:Liu, Wei 07-01-2022 -04-30-2027 National Institute of General Medical Sciences New Strategies for Copper-Catalyzed Cross-coupling of Alkyl Electrophiles. (R35) Role:PI 395761.00

Grant: #CHE-2237757 Investigators:Liu, Wei 04-01-2023 -03-31-2028 National Science Foundation CAREER: Organometallic Chemistry of Catalytically Relevant Copper(III) Complexes Role:PI 308472.00


Peer Reviewed Publications

Zeng, Xiaojun; Yan, Wenhao; Zacate, Samson B.; Cai, Aijie; Wang, Yufei; Yang, Dongqi; Yang, Kundi; Liu, Wei (2020. ) Copper-Catalyzed Deaminative Difluoromethylation.Angewandte Chemie International Edition, , 59 (38 ) ,16398 More Information

Zeng, Xiaojun; Yan, Wenhao; Zacate, Samson B.; Chao, Tzu-Hsuan; Sun, Xiaodong; Cao, Zhi; Bradford, Kate G. E.; Paeth, Matthew; Tyndall, Sam B.; Yang, Kundi; Kuo, Tung-Chun; Cheng, Mu-Jeng; Liu, Wei (2019. ) Copper-Catalyzed Decarboxylative Difluoromethylation .Journal of the American Chemical Society, , 59 (38 ) ,16398-16403

Zeng, X. J.; Yang, W. H.; Paeth, M.; Zacate, S. B.; Hong, P. H.; Wang, Y. F.; Yang, D. Q.; Yang, K. D.; Yan, T.; Song, C.; Cao, Z.; Cheng, M. J.; Liu, W. (2019. ) Copper-Catalyzed, Chloroamide-Directed Benzylic C-H Difluoromethylation .Journal of the American Chemical Society, , 141 (50 ) ,19941-19949

Paeth, Matthew; Tyndall, Sam B.; Chen, Liang-Yu; Hong, Jia-Cheng; Carson, William P.; Liu, Xingwu; Sun, Xiaodong; Liu, Jinjia; Yang, Kundi; Hale, Elizabeth M.; Tierney, David L.; Liu, Bin; Cao, Zhi; Cheng, Mu-Jeng; Goddard, William A.; Liu, Wei (2019. ) Csp3-Csp3 Bond-Forming Reductive Elimination from Well-Defined Copper(III) Complexes .Journal of the American Chemical Society, , 57 (39 ) ,12675-12679

Cao, Z.; Zacate, S. B.; Sun, X. D.; Liu, J. J.; Hale, E. M.; Carson, W. P.; Tyndall, S. B.; Xu, J.; Liu, X. W.; Liu, X. C.; Song, C.; Luo, J. H.; Cheng, M. J.; Wen, X. D.; Liu, W. (2018. ) Tuning Gold Nanoparticles with Chelating Ligands for Highly Efficient Electrocatalytic CO2 Reduction .Angewandte Chemie-International Edition, , 57 (39 ) ,12675-12679

Cai, Aijie; Yan, Wenhao.; Wang, Chao., Liu, Wei., (2021. ) Copper-Catalyzed Difluoromethylation of Alkyl Halides Enabled by Aryl Radical Activation of Carbon–Halogen Bonds .Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. , , 60 ,27070

Cai. Aijie, Yan, Wenhao, Liu, Wei*, (2021. ) Aryl radical-activation of C–O bonds: Copper-Catalyzed Deoxygenative Difluoromethylation of Alcohols .J. Am. Chem. Soc., , 143 (26 ) ,9952

Cai, A., Yan, W., Zeng, X., Zacate, B. S., Chao, T-H., Krause, A. J., Cheng, M-J., Liu, W. (2021. ) Copper-Catalyzed Carbo-Difluoromethylation of Alkenes via Radical Relay .Nature Communications, , 12 ,3272

Chen, S,; S, Niu; Liu, W. (2022. ) para-Hydrogen-Induced Polarization Enabled by Visible Light Activation .ACS Cent. Sci., , 8 (12 ) ,1573

Zeng, X.; Wang, C.; Yan, W.; Rong, J.; Song, Y.; Xiao, Z.; Cai, A.; Liang, S. H.; Liu, W. (2022. ) Aryl Radical Enabled, Copper-Catalyzed Sonogashira-Type Cross-Coupling of Alkynes with Alkyl Iodides .ACS Catal., , 13 (4 ) ,2761

W Yan, S Carter, CT Hsieh, JA Krause, MJ Cheng, S Zhang, W Liu (2023. ) Copper–Carbon Homolysis Competes with Reductive Elimination in Well-Defined Copper (III) Complexes.J. Am. Chem. Soc., , 145 (48 ) ,26152 More Information

L Yin, W Liu (2023. ) Stable oganocopper (III) complexes generated via oxidative addition. Science Bulletin, , S2095-9273 (23 ) ,00876

X Zhao, W Liu (2023. ) Recent Advances in Transition-Metal-Catalyzed Sonogashira Cross-Coupling Reactions of Alkyl Electrophiles.Synthesis, , More Information


Invited Presentations

Wei Liu (2022. ) Copper-Catalyzed Difluoromethylation .Winter Fluorine Conference, Florida. Level:National

Wei Liu (11-2021. ) New Direction in Cu-Catalyzed Bond-Forming Reactions .OSU. Level:University

Wei Liu (01-2021. ) Copper-Catalyzed Difluoromethylation .UCSB (WebEX). Level:University

Wei Liu (2022. ) Princeton University. Level:Department

Wei Liu (2022. ) Purdue University. Level:Department

Wei Liu (2023. ) Winter Fluorine Conference, Level:National

Wei Liu (2022. ) Lehigh University. Level:Department

Wei Liu (2023. ) UCLA . Level:Department

Wei Liu (2023. ) UCSB. Level:Department

Wei Liu (2023. ) Novartis (Cambridge, MA) . Level:Local

Honors and Awards


Student Advising

Wenhao Yan (Doctoral ) Supervisor Status:In Progress

Aijie Cai (Postdoctoral ) Supervisor Status:In Progress

Chao Wang (Doctoral ) Advisor


(Graduate Admission Committee ) Committee Member Type:Departmental Service Level:Department

(Graduate Admission Committee ) Committee Member Type:Departmental Service Level:Department

Graduate Recruiting Committee Committee Member Type:Departmental Service Level:Department

(Graduate Recruiting Weekend Organization ) Committee Chair Type:Departmental Service Level:Department

Courses Taught

-CHEM-2040 ORGANIC CHEMISTRY I Level:Undergraduate

Contact Information

Rieveschl Hall 430
318 College Dr.
Cincinnati  Ohio, 45221
Phone: 513-556-5865