Courtney C. Roberts (she/her) 

Prof. Courtney C. Roberts (she/her) obtained her B.S. in chemistry from Pepperdine University in Los Angeles, CA. She then pursued her graduate studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, becoming the first graduate student in the laboratory of Prof. Simon Meek. During graduate school, Courtney developed rhodium olefin hydrofunctionalization catalysts using a new class of ligands called carbodicarbenes. After completing her Ph.D. in 2016, Courtney became a postdoctoral research fellow in the laboratory of Prof. Melanie Sanford at the University of Michigan where she explored C–H functionalization reactions using high valent Ni. Courtney began her career as an Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota in the Fall of 2019. The Roberts group focuses on the development of d0 metal catalysts for alkyl–alkyl cross coupling as well as harnessing heterocyclic aryne intermediates for medicinally relevant building blocks and new methods in photoredox catalysis. While at UMN, she has been the recipient of the Amgen Young Investigator Award, the ACS Leadership Development Award, the NSF CAREER Award, the NIH Maximizing Investigators Research Award, the 3M-Alumni Professorship, and the McKnight Land-Grant Professorship.

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2016 – 2019 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Michigan (Advisor: Prof. Melanie S. Sanford)

2011 – 2016  Ph.D. in Chemistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Advisor: Prof. Simon J. Meek)

2007 – 2011  B.S. in Chemistry, Cum Laude, Pepperdine University (Advisor: Prof. Joe Fritsch)

Awards and Honors:


2023 NSF CAREER Award

2023 Amgen Young Investigator Award

2023 ACS DOC Young Investigator

2024 Thieme Chemistry Journal Award

2024-2029 3M-Alumni Professorship

2024-2027 McKnight Land Grant Professorship

Mentored Publications and Patents

1. *Roberts, C. C.; *Chong, E.; Ariafard, A.; Canty, A. J.; Sanford, M. S. “Nickel(II/IV) Manifold Enables Room Temperature C(sp3)–H Functionalization” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 19513-19520 *Co-first authors

2. Roberts, C. C.; Camasso, N. M.; Bowes, E. G.; Sanford, M. S. ”Impact of Oxidation State on Reactivity and Selectivity Differences between Nickel(III) and Nickel(IV) Alkyl Complexes Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2019, 58, 9104-9108.

3. Marcum, J. M.; Cervarich, T. N.; Manan, R. S.; Roberts, C. C.; Meek, S. J. “(CDC)-Rhodium-Catalyzed Hydroallylation of Vinylarenes and 1,3-Dienes with AllylTrifluoroborates” ACS Catalysis 2019, 9, 5881-5889.

4. *Marcum, J. M.; *Roberts, C. C.; Manan, R. S.; Cervarich, T. N.; Meek, S. J. “Chiral Pincer Carbodicarbene Ligands for Enantioselective Rhodium-Catalyzed Hydroarylation of Terminal and Internal 1,3-Dienes with Indoles” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139, 15580–15583. *Co-first authors

Highlighted in Synfacts

5. Goldfogel, M. J.; Roberts, C. C.; Manan, R. S.; Meek, S. J. Diastereoselective Synthesis of γ-Substituted 2-Butenolides via (CDC)-Rh-Catalyzed Intermolecular Hydroalkylation of Dienes with Silyloxyfurans” Org. Lett. 2017, 19, 90­-93. Highlighted in Synfacts

6. Roberts, C. C.; Matias, D. M.; Goldfogel, M. J.; Meek, S. J., “Lewis Acid Activation of Carbodicarbene Catalysts for Rh-Catalyzed Hydroarylation of Dienes” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2015, 137, 6488-6491.

7. *Goldfogel, M. J.; *Roberts, C. C.; Meek, S. J. “Intermolecular Hydroamination of 1,3-Dienes Catalyzed by Bis(phosphine)carbodicarbene–Rhodium Complexes” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 6227-6230. *Co-first authors

8. Roberts, C. C.; Joannou, M. V.; Goldfogel, M. J.; Meek, S. J., (Bis)Phosphine-Carbodicarbene Catalyst Complexes and Methods of Using the Same” International Patent Provisional Application No. PCT/IB2015/052721. Filing Date:  05-07-2014

9. Roberts, C. C.; Barnett, B. R.; Green, D. B.; Fritsch, J. M., “Synthesis and Structures of Tridentate Ketoiminate Zinc Complexes That Act as L-Lactide Ring-Opening Polymerization Catalysts” Organometallics 2012, 31, 4135-4141.

10. Barnett, B. R.; Evans, A. L.; Roberts, C. C.; Fritsch, J. M., “Batch Reactor Kinetic Studies on the Reductive Dechlorination of Chlorinated Ethylenes by Tetrakis-(4-sulfonatophenyl)porphyrin Cobalt” Chemosphere, 2011, 82, 592-596.

11. Roberts, C. C.; Fritsch, J. M., “Synthesis and Crystal Structures of Magnesium Complexes with NNO Schiff Base Ligands Bearing Quinolyl Pendant Donors” Polyhedron 2010, 29, 1271­-1278.