Portrait of Shuming Chen
  • Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry


  • BA, Grinnell College, 2011
  • PhD, Yale University, 2016

Modern computational chemistry has enabled chemists to obtain atomic-level insights, especially reactive intermediates, and transition state structures that are difficult to study by other means. Our lab seeks to generate fundamental mechanistic understanding, and use it to design new chemical reagents with improved efficacy and selectivity. 

Gao, L.; Su, C.; Du, X.; Wang, R.; Chen, S.; Zhou, Y.; Liu, C.; Tian, R.; Xie, K.; Chen, S.; Guo, Q.; Guo, L.; Hano, Y.; Shimazaki, M.; Minami, A.; Oikawa, H.; Huang, N.; Houk, K. N.; Huang, L.; Dai, J.; Lei, X. ‘‘FAD-Dependent Enzyme-Catalysed Intermolecular [4+2] Cycloaddition in Natural Product Biosynthesis.’’ Nat. Chem. In Press.

Zhou, Z.*; Chen, S.*; Hong, Y.; Winterling, E.; Tan, Y.; Hemming, M.; Harms, K.; Houk, K. N.; Meggers, E. ‘‘Non-C2-Symmetric Chiral-at-Ruthenium Catalyst for Highly Efficient Enantioselective Intramolecular C(sp3)–H Amidation.’’ J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 19048. 

Chen, S.; Chan, A. Y.; Walker, M. M.; Ellman, J. A.; Houk, K. N. ‘‘π–Facial Selectivities in Hydride Reductions of Hindered Endocyclic Iminium Ions.’’ J. Org. Chem. 2019, 84, 273.

Chen, S.; Yu, P.; Houk, K. N. ‘‘Ambimodal Dipolar/Diels–Alder Cycloaddition Transition States Involving Proton Transfers.’’ J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, 140, 18124.

Chen, S.; Zheng, Y.; Cui, T.; Meggers, E.; Houk, K. N. ‘‘Arylketone π–Conjugation Controls Enantioselectivity in Asymmetric Alkynylations Catalyzed by Centrochiral Ruthenium Complexes.’’ J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, 140, 5146.

Chen, S.; Bacauanu, V.; Knecht, T.; Mercado, B. Q.; Bergman, R. G.; Ellman, J. A. ‘‘New Regio- and Stereoselective Cascades via Unstabilized Azomethine Ylide Cycloadditions for the Synthesis of Highly Substituted Tropane and Indolizidine Frameworks.’’ J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016, 138, 12664

Duttwyler, S.; Chen, S.; Takase, M. K.; Wiberg, K. B.; Bergman, R. G.; Ellman, J. A. ‘‘Proton Acidity Controls Selectivity in Nonaromatic Nitrogen Heterocycle Synthesis.’’ Science 2013, 339, 678