Leonard Richard MacGillivray

Leonard Richard MacGillivray

  • Professor, Department of Chemistry
  • Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Experimental Therapeutics, College of Pharmacy / Division of Pharmaceutics and Translational Therapeutics


E555 Chemistry Building
University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA 52242


(319) 335-3504

Research Narrative

Our research is in the field of supramolecular chemistry - an area that bridges chemistry, physics, and biology through exploiting noncovalent bonds - as related to organic solids. Our efforts involve the crystal engineering of:<br><br>i) Organic solid-state reactivity<br><br>The ability to make covalent bonds in the organic solid state impacts fields ranging from organic synthesis (e.g. new molecules) to green chemistry (e.g. solvent-free synthesis) to materials science (e.g. information storage). We use template molecules (e.g. resorcinol) to direct the formation of covalent bonds in solids. Both hydrogen-bond and coordination-driven self-assembly are used to position olefins in multi-component assemblies in solids for [2+2] photodimerizations.<br><br>ii) Organic semiconductor materials<br><br>Organic semiconductors molecules (e.g. pentacene) are leading candidates in the design of flexible electronics (e.g. electronic paper). We have shown how organic semiconductors can be forced to stack into face-to-face arrangements in solids. We introduced a class of semiconductor materials known as ‘semiconductor cocrystals’ where we showed that cocrystallizations of organic semiconductors afford π-stacking arrangements. We are collaborating with Prof. Alexei Tivanski (Dept. of Chem., UI) to study the electrical properties of the semiconductor solids.<br><br>iii) Pharmaceutical cocrystals<br><br>The bulk properties of an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) (i.e. drug molecule) can be altered using molecules that cocrystallize with an API to give a new solid form. We have described cocrystals involving caffeine and carboxylic acids based on competing hydrogen-bonded heteromolecular synthons. We have also described the first pharmaceutical nanococrystals and a unique role of tautomers in cocrystal design and formation. We are collaborating with Dr. Geoff Zhang of Abbvie (Chicago, IL) to develop targeted pharmaceutical cocrystal materials.