Apr 27, 2018
Professor Dean Tantillo
Professor Dean Tantillo (PhD ’00, Houk) edits new book, Applied Theoretical Organic Chemistry, which features several UCLA connected chemists. 
Now a professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of California, Davis, Dr. DeanTantillo received his Ph.D. in chemistry at UCLA in 2000 under the direction of Professor Kendall Houk and Professor Craig Merlic. Tantillo was awarded the prestigious UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award for Teaching Assistants the year he graduated. “Dean was a great teacher and graduate student here” said Houk. 
After receiving his Ph.D.,Tantillo went on to Cornell University as a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, with Professor Roald Hoffmann. He joined the faculty of the UC Davis Department of Chemistry in 2003.
From the publisher's press release for the book: "What practical advice would students and practitioners need when conducting studies in applied theoretical organic chemistry? How can computational chemistry empower the assignment of complex structures, the characterization of organic reaction mechanisms, the rationalization of selectivity and the design of new reactions and catalysts? What are the approaches and tools that can be used by those interested in using computational chemistry to predict and rationalize the structures and reactivity of organic molecules?
Applied Theoretical Organic Chemistry, edited by Dean Tantillo, brings together leaders in the field to provide concrete answers to these questions. It discusses general approaches to the computational modelling of organic reactions, as well as some caveats and concerns that the student or practitioner should be aware of. It also includes a brief history of applied theoretical organic chemistry, as well as more specific information on the use of modern tools for treating solvation, conformational searching, NMR prediction, orbital effects, acidity/basicity, intermolecular interactions, isotope effects, reaction coordinates and non-statistical dynamic effects. The applications of these tools to organometallic, photochemical and stereoselective organic reactions are also highlighted. This book also gives practical advice on how to use the above techniques.
As computational chemistry becomes an increasingly powerful tool in the world of organic chemistry, it becomes ever more important that students and practitioners understand the benefits and limitations of applying computational methods to organic molecules and their reactions. This book aims to educate these students and practitioners in the use of these methods, thus contributing to the development of the field.
This is a book that will hopefully find use by theoreticians wanting to help and inspire experimentalists and experimentalists whose research may be enhanced by theoretical models.
Dean Tantillo applies the tools of theoretical chemistry to problems in mechanistic bioorganic chemistry, chemical biology, organic and organometallic reactions of synthetic relevance, and natural products biosynthesis and structure elucidation. He is also working to help make Applied Theoretical Chemistry research accessible to blind and visually impaired students."
Many of the chemists featured in the book have connections to UCLA, including:
  • Stephanie R. Hare (graduate student in Tantillo group) – visited the Houk group to learn about molecular dynamics
  • Professor Edyta M. Greer (Baruch College) – spouse of Professor Alec Greer (City University of New York, Brooklyn College) who was a postdoc at UCLA with Professor Chris Foote
  • Professor Paul Ha-Yeon Cheong (Oregon State) - former Houk graduate student and postdoc 
  • Professor Robert S. Paton (Colorado State) – former Houk postdoc, married to another of former Houk postdoc, Dr. Seonah Kim, now a senior scientist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
  • Professor Judy I-Chia Wu (University of Houston) – will speak at UCLA on Nov. 2, 2018
  • Professor Steven E Wheeler (University of Georgia) – former Houk NIH postdoc
  • Professor Keiji Morokuma (Kyoto University) – was a Houk collaborator until he died in 2017
  • Dr. Charles Doubleday (Columbia) - a frequent collaborator, Houk and Doubleday have published 9 papers together
  • Professor Fang Liu (Nanjing University) – former Houk graduate student and postdoc
  • Professor Yun-Fang Yang (Zhejiang University of Technology) – former Houk postdoc
  • Professor Xin Hong (Zhejiang University) – former Houk graduate student and postdoc
  • Professor Daniel J. O'Leary (Pomona College) – former UCLA graduate student with Professor Frank Anet
  • Professor Jeehiun K. Lee (Rutgers) – former Houk NIH postdoc
  • Professor Peng Liu (University of Pittsburgh) – former Houk graduate student and postdoc
  • Professor Elizabeth H. Krenske (University of Queensland in Australia) – was a Fulbright Fellow and postdoc in Houk group