Assistant Professor of Chemistry
E-Mail: [email protected] Address:
West Liberty University
208 University Drive
College Union Box 160
West Liberty, WV 26074
Dr. Nichols was born and raised in central Massachusetts. He holds a B.A. in Chemistry from Drew
University in Madison, New Jersey. As an undergraduate, he conducted research under the advisement
of Dr. Ryan Hinrichs on atmospheric chemistry pertaining to understanding the mechanism for the
reaction of organic lignan pyrolysis products with atmospheric pollutants, such as NO 2 .
Upon receiving his bachelor’s degree, Dr. Nichols continued his studies in atmospheric aerosol chemistry at the
University of Vermont, where he obtained his M.S. in analytical chemistry. From there, he moved on to
complete his Ph.D. in organic/organometallic chemistry under Dr. Brian Popp at West Virginia
University. His doctoral research focused on studying the effects of pendant Lewis acid containing
ligands on the second coordination sphere of late transition metal complexes of rhodium and iridium.
After the completion of his Ph.D. from WVU in 2018, Dr. Nichols accepted a position as an Assistant
Professor of Chemistry at West Liberty University, where he has been since the fall of 2018. He currently
resides in Washington, PA with his fiancé.
Research projects with Dr. Nichols includes anything related to organic/organometallic synthesis.
Research projects include the following:
Synthesis of Organoborohydride Compounds
The boracarboxylation of vinyl arenes is a copper-catalyzed route of installing two functional groups,
both a carboxylic acid and a boron moiety, in a single step. Through a collaborative effort with Professor
Brian Popp at WVU, the goal of the proposed research endeavor is to convert the obtained
boracarboxylation products into synthetically useful borohydride reagents. Borohydrides are tetrahedral
four-coordinate boron reagents commonly employed as reducing agents in organic chemistry. This
reactivity differs from that of three-coordinate borane moieties because three-coordinate boranes rely
heavily on the empty π-orbital on boron and function as Lewis acids or hydroboration reagents.
The current synthetic method to synthesize borohydrides from metal organotrifluoroborate salts utilize
metal hydrides that are harsh and difficult to handle under ambient conditions. As a result, the
development of a method that uses a milder reducing agent is necessary. Silanes will be utilized as this
source of hydride due to their propensity to not reduce carbonyl compounds easily, as well as generate
a stable Si-F bond as a byproduct.
The goal of this research is to study the reactivity of these compounds, compared to traditional borohydride
reagents, and eventually develop undergraduate organic laboratories that explore this reactivity.
Interests and Hobbies:
Dr. Nichols is an avid New England sports fan, who enjoys watching or listening to his hometown teams
wherever he can. He also enjoys spending time with his fiancé in Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas.
- CHEM 100 – Foundations of Chemistry
- CHEM 340 – Organic Chemistry I Lecture
- CHEM 341 – Organic Chemistry I Laboratory
- CHEM 342 – Organic Chemistry II Lecture
- CHEM 343 – Organic Chemistry II Laboratory
- CHEM 440 – Advanced Organic Chemistry Lecture
- CHEM 480 – Biochemistry I Lecture