John A. Porco, PhD

Professor, Chemistry

John Porco
590 Commonwealth Ave


John Porco investigates chemical syntheses of complex molecules and synthesis of complex chemical libraries of novel structural types. John joined the Department of Chemistry at Boston University in 1999 after a successful career in industry and was rapidly promoted to Professor of Chemistry in September 2004.

Research in the Porco Group is focused in two major areas: the development of new synthetic methodologies for efficient chemical synthesis of complex molecules and synthesis of complex chemical libraries, the latter conducted at the Boston University Center for Molecular Discovery. Synthetic methodologies developed in the Porco Laboratory include copper (I)-mediated formation of enamides, oxa-electrocyclization/dimerization of dienals enroute to complex epoxyquinoids; enantioselective oxidative dearomatization using chiral copper complexes and molecular oxygen; photocycloaddition using oxidopyryliums enroute to the rocaglamides and related natural products, and catalytic ester-amide exchange using group (IV) metal alkoxide-activator complexes.

-Dearomatization Strategies in Complex Synthesis aim to utilize aromatic scaffolds as starting materials as precursors to complex natural products.

-Faculty Profile Scientific Image Porco 1Biomimetic Synthesis Approaches involve development of methodologies to test plausible biosyntheses of complex natural products and derivatives.

-New Reaction Discovery is done in conjunction with the BU-CMD and aims to discover transformations leading to novel chemotypes.

Techniques & Resources:

-Organic Synthesis techniques are used and include modern methods for synthesis, purification, and analysis of organic molecules
-Boston University Center for Molecular Discovery (BU-CMD) is an NIH-funded Center at Boston University which focuses on development of new methodologies for the synthesis of complex chemical libraries.

Other Positions

  • Professor, Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics, Boston University School of Medicine


  • Harvard University, PhD
  • College of the Holy Cross, DEng
  • Yale University, MS
  • College of the Holy Cross, BA


  • Published on 12/28/2018

    Liu S, Hausmann S, Carlson SM, Fuentes ME, Francis JW, Pillai R, Lofgren SM, Hulea L, Tandoc K, Lu J, Li A, Nguyen ND, Caporicci M, Kim MP, Maitra A, Wang H, Wistuba II, Porco JA, Bassik MC, Elias JE, Song J, Topisirovic I, Van Rechem C, Mazur PK, Gozani O. METTL13 Methylation of eEF1A Increases Translational Output to Promote Tumorigenesis. Cell. 2018 Dec 28. PMID: 30612740.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 12/27/2018

    Zhang W, Liu S, Maiga RI, Pelletier J, Brown LE, Wang TT, Porco JA. Chemical Synthesis Enables Structural Reengineering of Aglaroxin C Leading to Inhibition Bias for HCV Infection. J Am Chem Soc. 2018 Dec 27. PMID: 30590924.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 12/19/2018

    Smith MJ, Reichl KD, Escobar RA, Heavey T, Coker DF, Schaus SE, Porco JA. Asymmetric Synthesis of Griffipavixanthone Employing a Chiral Phosphoric Acid-Catalyzed Cycloaddition. J Am Chem Soc. 2018 Dec 19. PMID: 30566336.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 11/20/2018

    Chennamadhavuni S, Panek JS, Porco JA, Brown LE. Diastereodivergent synthesis of chiral tetrahydropyrrolodiazepinediones via a one-pot intramolecular aza-Michael/lactamization sequence. J Org Chem. 2018 Nov 20. PMID: 30458107.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/1/2018

    Yang X, Jounaidi Y, Dai JB, Marte-Oquendo F, Halpin ES, Brown LE, Trilles R, Xu W, Daigle R, Yu B, Schaus SE, Porco JA, Forman SA. High-throughput Screening in Larval Zebrafish Identifies Novel Potent Sedative-hypnotics. Anesthesiology. 2018 09; 129(3):459-476. PMID: 29894316.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 8/8/2018

    Qin XJ, Feng MY, Liu H, Ni W, Rauwolf T, Porco JA, Yan H, He L, Liu HY. Eucalyptusdimers A-C, Dimeric Phloroglucinol-Phellandrene Meroterpenoids from Eucalyptus robusta. Org Lett. 2018 08 17; 20(16):5066-5070. PMID: 30088934.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 4/25/2018

    Wu X, Iwata T, Scharf A, Qin T, Reichl KD, Porco JA. Asymmetric Synthesis of Gonytolide A: Strategic Use of an Aryl Halide Blocking Group for Oxidative Coupling. J Am Chem Soc. 2018 05 09; 140(18):5969-5975. PMID: 29658717.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 2/20/2018

    Langlais D, Cencic R, Moradin N, Kennedy JM, Ayi K, Brown LE, Crandall I, Tarry MJ, Schmeing M, Kain KC, Porco JA, Pelletier J, Gros P. Rocaglates as dual-targeting agents for experimental cerebral malaria. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 03 06; 115(10):E2366-E2375. PMID: 29463745.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/29/2018

    Qi C, Wang W, Reichl KD, McNeely J, Porco JA. Total Synthesis of Aurofusarin: Studies on the Atropisomeric Stability of Bis-Naphthoquinones. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2018 Feb 19; 57(8):2101-2104. PMID: 29318760.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 10/13/2017

    Wang W, Clay A, Krishnan R, Lajkiewicz NJ, Brown LE, Sivaguru J, Porco JA. Total Syntheses of the Isomeric Aglain Natural Products Foveoglin A and Perviridisin B: Selective Excited-State Intramolecular Proton-Transfer Photocycloaddition. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2017 Nov 13; 56(46):14479-14482. PMID: 28950418.

    Read at: PubMed

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