Synthetic Organic Chemistry using Free Radicals,

Designed Materials,

and Molecular Sensors

Braslau Research Group

at UC Santa Cruz

Braslau Group News


The Braslau Lab at UC Santa Cruz is a synthetic organic chemistry group, developing new methodologies, often with free radical intermediates. In the realm of materials science, we prepare architecturally intersting polymers for applications in nanotechnology and biomedicine. Over the past 8 years, we have been focusing on developing non-migratory plasticizers to replace phthalates, a pervasive class of Endocrine Disrupting Compounds. A new project focuses on methodologies to Upcycle waste PVC.  Another specialization is the synthesis of novel nitroxides for a variety of uses, including nitroxide-mediated radical polymerization, as profluoresent sensors, and nitrones as spin traps.   We are involved in a number of collaborations with colleagues here at UCSC, and around the world.

The Braslau Laboratory

is in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

at the beautiful University of California, Santa Cruz

June 2021  Congratulations to undergraduate Ana Paula Kitos Vasconcelos, who is heading to the Ph.D. program at

                    the University of Washington in Seattle this fall!

Sept. 2020   Welcome to new graduate student Chayo Fuentes!

Sept. 2020  Congratulations to Dr. Longbo Li on completion of her Ph.D.!   Longbo is now a postdoc with Prof.

                    Gary Molander at the University of Pennsylvania.

March 2020   Congratulations to Jerin Tasnim on her Masters degree!

May 2019    Welcome to new post-bac researcher Chayo Fuentes!

Feb. 2019    Congratulations to Wiley and collaborators on their "VERY IMPORTANT PAPER" on "Synthesis, Structure,

                     and Fluorescence Behavior of Profluorescent 8-amino BODIPY Nitroxides" in the European Journal of

                     Organic Chemistry, 2019, 7, 1583-1587. doi: 10.1002/ejoc.201801758

Winter 2018  Welcome to new grad student Avery Baerlin!

                       Welcome to new undergrad Ana Paula Kitos Vasconcelos!

Nov. 2018    Journal of Polymer Science Part A: Polymer Chemistry features our work as the

                     Cover Art    (frogs are traditional, migratory phthalates, tadpoles are our new tethered

                     triazoles bearing a long-chained PEG ester).

Sept. 2018    Congratulations to Chad on our collaborative paper with Rudy Wojtecki

                      and Andy Tek at IBM Almaden  on

                      "Non-Migratory Internal Plasticization of Poly(Vinyl Chloride)

                      via Pendant Triazoles Bearing Alkyl or

                      Polyether Esters"  doi: 10.1002/pola.29205     

                      published in the Journal of Polymer Science Part A!

June 2018     Welcome to Summer Undergraduates researcher Jirapon Sae-Jew from Prince of Songkla University

                       in Thailand!

May 2018      Radio Interview with Rebecca on KZSC on plastics and reducing toxicity of PVC by replacing

                      endocrine-distrupting phthalates with our new internal plasticizers.

April 2018     The UCSC Magazine published a focus article on our work to replace toxic phthalates in PVC with     

                      "internal" (covalently linked) plasticizers:  "Preventing Plastic's Perils"

early 2017    Congratulations to Wiley on his collaborative publication with the Mascharak group

                     using Wiley's BODIPY-dye to track the delivery of silver to bacterial targets:

                     “Tracking silver delivery to bacteria using turn-on fluorescence

                      published in Chemical Communications!

Dec. 2016      Congratulations to Aruna and Longbo on their collaborative paper with Prof. Phil Costanzo at Cal Poly  

                       SLO on  Phthalate Plasticizers Covalently Linked to PVC via Copper-Free or Copper Catalyzed

                       Azide-Alkyne Cycloadditions published in Polymer!

Sept. 2016     Welcome to new grad student Patrick Skelly!

June 2016     Congratulations to Dr. Aruna Earla on completion of her Ph.D.!

Sept. 2015     Welcome to new grad students Jerin Tasnim and Longbo Li!

August 2015  Congratulations to Dr. "Joy" Chittreeya Tansakul on her wedding to Ken!

June 2015     Welcome to Summer Undergraduates researchers Kindness Nwakudu and Alicia Arias!

Jan. 2015      Congratulations to Joy and Natalie: their collaborative paper with the Singaram group on

                      Reduction of Weinreb Amides with Magnesium Borohydride reaagents published in Tetrahedron Letters!

Summer 2014 Congratulations to group alumnus Greg, and wife Hilary on the birth of their third child, Ben!

June 2014     Congratulations to Aruna, Jen and Chad: their collaborative paper with the Aldabbagh group on

                      Nitroxide-mediated Polymerization in Supercritical CO2 published in Polymer Chemistry!

June 2014     Congratulations to Aruna Earla on receiving the Departmental TA award for 2013-14!

June 2014     Congratulations to former undergrad Nic Matsumoto on completing his PhD with Heather Maynard

                      at UCLA

May 2014       NSF Grant Award!   SusChEM: Covalent Phthalate Mimics: an Alternative to Phthalate Plasticizers


May 2014      Prof. Rebecca Braslau receives Excellence in Teaching Award from UCSC!

Jan. 2014      Congratulations to Aruna: her paper on Covalently Linked Plasticer Triazole Mimics is out in     

                      Macromolecular Rapid Communications!

Oct. 2013      Group Kayak tour of Elkhorn Slough (see Group Photos!)

Aug. 2013     Welcome to visiting grad student Anselmo Del Prado Abellan from our collaborator

                       Dr. Carlos Elvira’s lab in Madrid!

May 2013       Congratulations to Prof. Marc Anderson (Ph.D. 2001) on obtaining tenure at San Francisco State


May 2013       Congratulations to 1st year grad students Elliot, Jen and Chad on finishing their

                       cumes (early)!!!

March 2013    Welcome to new grad students Elliot Smith and Chad Higa!

March 2013    Congratulations to undergraduate Jessica Golden on winning the Bunnett Award for her research!

Feb. 2013       Congratulations to group alumnus Jean, and husband Chris on the birth of their daughter, Sierra!

Jan. 2013       Urushiol Detection paper on cover of JOC:

Oct. 2012      Prof. Rebecca Braslau  on NPR “Morning Edition” discussing Urushiol Detection:

                      “Spray Lights Up the Chemical That Causes Poison Ivy Rash”

July 2012      Congratulations to Joy on her Ph.D.!

July 2012      Welcome to new grad student Jen Petraitis!

June 2012      Welcome to new undergrad Wiley Schultz-Simonton!

Jan. 2012      Welcome to new undergrad Jessica Golden!

Dec. 2011      Good-bye to postdoc Dr. Friederike Schäffner, as she completes her work here at UCSC, and returns to


Oct. 2011    Prof. Rebecca Braslau is off to the National University of Ireland Galway  to collaborate

                    with the group of Dr. Fawaz Aldabbagh on NMRP in super critical CO2

Aug. 2011    Congratulations to recently graduated undergrad John Buell on his new job at Plexxikon in Berkeley!

May 2011     Congratulations to Dr. Frank Rivera III on the completion of his Ph.D.!

May 2011     Congratulations to Elizabeth Flynn on the completion of her Masters!

May 2011     Congratulations to John Buell on the completion of his undergraduate thesis!

March 2011  Welcome to new group member Aruna Earla!

Jan. 2011     Congratulations to former Braslau Group undergrad Dr. Jeff Henise, on completion of his

                     Ph.D. at UCSF  with Jack Taunton!

Nov. 2010    Congratulations to former postdoc Jon and his wife Alison on the birth of their son Evan!


Nov. 2010    Aldrich makes TIPNO initiators commercially available: Ald # 700703,  # 700733 and # 711268

                    (TIPNO initiator, TIPNO nitroxide, TIPNO initiator benzyl chloride)

Oct. 2010    Congratulations to group alumnus Aaron, and wife Elena on the birth of their second child, James!

Oct. 2010   Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Heck, Negishi & Suzuki for Pd catalyzed cross coupling reactions!

Aug. 2010 Congratulations to group alumnus Greg, and wife Hilary on the birth of their second child, Oliver!

Aug. 2010   IUPAC collaborative grant funded on designed polymers with F. Aldabbaugh (Ireland) and

                   C. Elvira (Spain)!

July 2010   Congratulations to Dr. Friederike Schäffner on a DFG fellowship to do postdoctoral work in  the Braslau    

                   Labs!  And, congrats on her new baby boy Johannes!

May 2010    CRCC Grant funded for developing polymeric phthalates!

May 2010    COR Award to study trapping of Urushiol!

April 2010    Congratulations to group alumnus Anna, and husband Mark, on the birth of their second child, Leo!