Melen Research Group      Cardiff University
Advancing Main Group Chemistry
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About Dr Rebecca Melen
I attended Magdalene College Cambridge where I studied Natural Sciences, majoring in Chemistry. I then continued at Cambridge, completing my PhD in 2012 in Main Group Chemistry under the guidance of Dr Dominic Wright. My research focused on catalytic and stoichiometric dehydrocoupling reactions using main group compounds. I then moved to Canada to work with Prof. Doug Stephan at the University of Toronto where I explored the use of Lewis acids such as B(C6F5)3 to catalyse organic transformations and explored the reaction chemistry of main group azides such as R2BN3. In 2013, I was awarded an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship to study in Heidelberg with Prof. Dr Lutz Gade. That same year I was also highlighted in Scientific American as one of 30 scientists under 30 to watch out for. In 2014, I moved to Cardiff where I am currently a Senior Lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry with interests in diverse aspects of main group reactivity including main group catalysis. When not at work (rarely) I enjoy being outdoors and spending time with my horse.


Awards
2018    Thieme Chemistry Journals Award winner   
2016    Clara Immerwahr Award
2014    European Young Researcher Award
2013    RSC Dalton Young Researcher Award

​Positions on Committees and Editorships 
-SCI Young Members Panel
-RSC Dalton Committee 
-Treasurer South East Wales Local Section of the RSC
-Treasurer of the RSC Main group interest group 
- Associate Editor for the EIBC (Wiley).  
Invited Lectures and Contributions to Scientific Meetings

​90. Melen, R. L., "Modern Alchemy: Turning Boron into Gold", Invited lecture, Euroboron Conference, 24th – 27th July 2019, Montpellier, France.

89. Melen, R. L., "Modern Alchemy: Turning Boron into Gold", Invited lecture, Main Group Symposium, 102nd Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition, June 2018, Quebec City, Canada.

88. Melen, R. L., "Small Molecule Activation and Catalysis Using p-block Lewis acids: A Transition Metal Alternative?", Invited lecture, 24th May 2019, University of Toulouse, France.

87. Melen, R. L., "Small Molecule Activation and Catalysis Using p-block Lewis acids: A Transition Metal Alternative?", Invited lecture, 29th March 2019, University of Sheffield, UK.

86. Melen, R. L., “Organocatalysis: Does Boron Count?”, Advances in Organocatalysis, 25th February 2019, SCI HQ, Belgrave Square, London. 

85. Melen, R. L., "Modern Alchemy: Turning Boron into Gold", Heterocyclic and Synthesis Group January Meeting and AGM, Invited lecture, 11th January 2019, Institute of Cancer Research, Chelsea, London, UK.

84. Melen, R. L., “Frustrated Lewis Pair C-C Bond Formation”, International Conference On Phosphorus, Boron and Silicon (PBSi), December 10th – 12th 2018, Barcelona, Spain. 

83. Melen, R. L., "Small Molecule Activation and Catalysis Using p-block Lewis acids: A Transition Metal Alternative?", Invited lecture, 6th December 2018, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands.

82. Melen, R. L., "Small Molecule Activation and Catalysis Using p-block Lewis acids: A Transition Metal Alternative?", CHAINS Conference, Invited lecture, 5th December 2018, Eindhoven, Netherlands.

81. Melen, R. L., “The Softer Side of Boron: Taming Hard Lewis Acids for Soft-Centred Chemistry”, GSK Emerging Academics Symposium, 25th October 2018, Stevenage, UK.

80. Melen, R. L., "Modern Alchemy: Turning Boron into Gold", RSC-India Symposium, Invited lecture, 26th September 2018, Manchester, UK.

79. Melen, R. L., "Hydroboration Catalysis Using Main Group Lewis Acids", Meeting of Inorganic Chemists Recently Appointed (MICRA), September 10th – 12th 2018, Cardiff, UK. 

78. Melen, R. L., "Main Group Hydroboration: A Transition Metal Alternative?", ICCC2018: Post-Conference, August 7th – 8th 2018, Oita, Japan. 

77. Melen, R. L., "Small Molecule Activation and Catalysis Using Lewis Acidic Boranes: A Transition Metal Alternative?", ICCC2018: Post-Conference in Fukuoka, August 5th – 7th 2018, Fukuoka, Japan. 

76. Melen, R. L., “Small Molecule Activation and Catalysis Using Lewis Acidic Boranes”, Invited lecture, 43rd International Conference on Coordination Chemistry, July 30th – August 4th 2018, Sendai, Japan.

75. Melen, R. L., “The Softer Side of Boron: Taming Hard Lewis Acids for Soft-Centred Chemistry”, 26th July 2018, Nagoya University, Japan

74. Melen, R. L., “The Softer Side of Boron: Taming Hard Lewis Acids for Soft-Centred Chemistry”, Invited lecture, Organometallics Gordon Research Conference, 8th-13th June 2018, Newport, RI, USA.

73. Melen, R. L., “Modern Alchemy: Turning Boron into Gold”, Invited lecture, 5th July 2018, Laval University, Canada.

72. Melen, R. L., “The Softer Side of Boron: Taming Hard Lewis Acids for Soft-Centred Chemistry”, Invited lecture, BORAM XVI, June 26th – 30th 2018, Boston College, Boston, USA
.
71. Melen, R. L., “The Fifth Element: Modern Advances in Borylation Chemistry and Boron Catalysis”, Invited lecture, Early Career Investigators Symposium, 101st Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition, June 2018, Edmonton, Canada.

70. Melen, R. L., "Modern Alchemy: Turning Boron into Gold", 23rd May 2018, University of Calgary, Canada.

69. Melen, R. L., “The Fifth Element: Modern Advances in Borylation Chemistry and Boron Catalysis”, Invited lecture, April 30th – May 1st 2018, 3rd Japan/UK joint symposium in coordination chemistry, University of St. Andrews, UK.

68. Melen, R. L., “The Softer Side of Boron: Taming Hard Lewis Acids for Soft-Centred Chemistry”, Invited lecture, 20th April 2018, Imperial College London, UK.

67. Melen, R. L., “Catalysis Without Metals”, March April 15th – March 17th 2018, Humboldt Colloquium, University of Oxford, UK.

66. Melen, R. L., “The Fifth Element: Modern Advances in Borylation Chemistry and Boron Catalysis”, Invited lecture, 23rd January 2018, University of Birmingham, UK.

65. Melen, R. L., “BCF and Beyond: Modern Advances in Borylation Chemistry and Boron Catalysis”, Invited lecture, 12th January 2018, Queen Mary University of London, UK.

64. Melen, R. L., “BCF and Beyond: Modern Advances in Borylation Chemistry and Boron Catalysis”, Invited lecture, 29th November 2017, University College London, UK.

63. Melen, R. L., High Achievers Dinner, Keynote speaker, Trent College, UK.

62. Melen, R. L., “Main Group Catalysis”, Dalton Younger Members Event, September 2017, Invited Plenary lecture, Bath, UK.

61. Melen, R. L., “BCF and Beyond: Modern Advances in Borylation Chemistry and Boron Catalysis”, Invited lecture, 15th August 2017, University of Bern, Switzerland.

60. Melen, R. L., “Catalytic Cyclization Reactions Using Lewis Acidic Boranes”, Main Group Transformations and Catalysis Symposium,100th Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition, June 2017, Invited lecture, Toronto, Canada.

59. Melen, R. L., “BCF and Beyond: Modern Advances in Borylation Chemistry”, Boron in Modern Organic Synthesis and Catalysis Symposium, 100th Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition, June 2017, Invited lecture, Toronto, Canada.

58. Melen, R. L., “BCF and Beyond: Modern advances in borylation reactions”, Invited lecture, 12th April 2017, University of East Anglia, UK.

57. Melen, R. L., “Tris(pentafluorophenyl)borane and Beyond: Modern advances in borylation reactions”, Invited lecture, 21st March 2017, RWTH Aachen University, Germany.

56. Melen, R. L., “Modern advances in borylation reactions”, invited lecture, 21st February 2017, Bath University, UK.

55. Melen, R. L., “Modern advances in borylation reactions”, invited lecture, McCamley Lecture, 1st February 2017, University of York, UK.

54. Melen, R. L., “BCF and Beyond: Modern advances in borylation reactions”, Invited lecture, 24th January 2017, York University, Toronto, Canada.

53. Melen, R. L., “A decade of Frustrated Lewis Pairs”, SCI Review lecture, invited lecture, 1st December 2016, London.

52. Melen, R. L., “Boron Lewis acids in Synthesis and Catalysis”, University of Oxford, UK, Invited lecture, 11th October 2016.

51. Melen, R. L. and Bowen, J., “Staff Perceptions of the Research Teaching Nexus: and Exploratory Study”, Cardiff University, Postgraduate Certificate in University Teaching and Learning Symposium, 21st September 2016.

50. Melen, R. L., “Boron Lewis acids in Synthesis and Catalysis”, TU Berlin, Germany, Invited lecture, 25th August 2016.

49. Melen, R. L., “Boron Lewis acids in Synthesis and Catalysis”, Bielefeld, Germany, Invited lecture, 21st July 2016.

48. Melen, R. L., “Boron Lewis acids in Synthesis and Catalysis”, Boron in the Americas (BORAM), 25th-28th June 2016, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada.

47. Melen, R. L., “Boron Lewis acids in Synthesis and Catalysis”, Symposium, University of Toronto, Canada.

46. Melen, R. L., “Reactivity of Perfluoroaryl Boranes with Bonds: Cyclization, Carboboration and Rearrangement”, 99th Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition, Advances in Main Group Chemistry Symposium, 5th-9th June 2015, Halifax, Canada.

45. Melen, R. L., “Novel Pathways to Organoboron Compounds using Boron Lewis Acids”, 99th Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition, General Organic Symposium, 5th-9th June 2015, Halifax, Canada.

44. Melen, R. L., “Cyclisation, Carboboration and Rearrangement Reactions using Lewis Acidic Boranes and Borocations”, invited lecture, 8th March 2016, Humboldt University Berlin.

43. Melen, R. L., "Synthesis and Catalysis using Main Group Elements", Clara Immerwahr Award lecture, 12th February 2016, Berlin, Germany.

42. Melen, R. L., "Activation of π-Bonds using Lewis Acidic Boranes", invited lecture, 3rd February 2016, University of Leicester, UK.

41. Melen, R. L., "Reactivity of perfluoroaryl boranes with π-bonds: Cyclisation, Carboboration and Rearrangement", invited lecture, 3rd February 2016, Queen's University Belfast, UK.

40. Melen, R. L., “Reactivity of perfluoroaryl boranes with π‐bonds: Carboboration and Rearrangement”, 13th January 2016, University of Southampton, RSC Organic Division South-West Regional Meeting. 

39. Melen, R. L., “Novel routes to boron allylation reagents derived from propargyl esters”, The International Chemical Congress of Pacific Basin Societies, Lewis Acid/Base Pair Chemistry in Molecular Transformations, Catalysis and Energy Storage symposium, 15th-20th December 2015, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.

38. Melen, R. L., “Activation of alkynes with B(C6F5)3: Intramolecular cyclization reactions and rearrangements”, The International Chemical Congress of Pacific Basin Societies, Lewis Acid/Base Pair Chemistry in Molecular Transformations, Catalysis and Energy Storage symposium, 15th-20th December 2015, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.

37. Melen, R. L., "On the Reactivity of B(C6F5)3 with π-bonds: Cyclisation, Carboboration and Rearrangement Reactions", invited lecture, 25th November 2015, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

36. Melen, R. L., "On the Reactivity of B(C6F5)3 with π-bonds: Cyclisation, Carboboration and Rearrangement Reactions", invited lecture, 24th November 2015, Heidelberg, Germany.

35. Melen, R. L., "On the Reactivity of B(C6F5)3 with π-bonds: Cyclisation, Carboboration and Rearrangement Reactions", invited lecture, 23rd November 2015, KIT, Karlsruhe, Germany.

34. Melen, R. L., "Expanding the Boundaries in Main Group Chemistry: Synthesis and Catalysis using Lewis Acidic Boranes", Gregynog Synthesis Meeting, 9th-11th September 2015, Wales, UK.

33. Melen, R. L., " Activation of π-Bonds Towards Cyclization Reactions using Lewis Acidic Boranes", IRIS 14 meeting, 26th-31st July 2015, Regensburg, Germany.

32. Melen, R. L., "Recent Developments in the Activation of π-bonds by Lewis Acidic Boranes", Invited lecture, 26th June 2015, Brock University, St Catharines, Canada.

31. Melen, R. L., "Recent Developments in the Activation of π-bonds by Lewis Acidic Boranes", Invited lecture, 25th June 2015, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.

30. Melen, R. L., "Recent Developments in the Activation of π-bonds by Lewis Acidic Boranes", Invited lecture, 19th June 2015, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

29. Melen, R. L., "Activation of Alkynes by Boranes: Novel Routes to Boron Allylation Reagents",  98th Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition, 13th-17th June 2015, Ottawa, Canada.

28. Melen, R. L., "Recent Developments in the Activation of π-bonds by Lewis Acidic Boranes", 98th Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition, 13th-17th June 2015, Ottawa, Canada.

27. Melen, R. L., "Main Group Catalysis", EPSRC Dial-a-Molecule and Beyond the Molecule: Directed Assembly Grand Challenge Network Event, 19th-20th May, Leeds, UK.

26. Melen, R. L., "Activation of π-Bonds using Lewis Acidic Boranes", Cardiff Chemistry Conference, 11th-12th May 2015, Cardiff University, UK.

25. Melen, R. L., "Activation of π-Bonds Towards Cyclisation Reactions using Lewis Acidic Boranes", Southern Dalton Meeting, 20th-21st April 2015, University of Sussex, UK.

24. Melen, R. L., “Cyclisation Reactions Using B(C6F5)3: Catalytic Synthesis of Oxazoles”, Dial-a-Molecule Meeting: Catalytic Sustainability in the Future, 13th February 2015, Manchester, UK (flash presentation). 

23. Melen, R. L., “Activation of Alkynes with B(C6F5)3: Intramolecular cyclisation reactions and rearrangements”, MICRA conference, 10th-12th September 2014, Huddersfield, UK. 

22. Melen, R. L., “Insights into the Reactivity of Boron Azides: Cycloaddition Reactions and Staudinger Oxidations”, IMEBORON conference, 24th-28th August 2014, Prague, Czech Republic. 

21. Melen, R. L., “Activation of Alkynes with B(C6F5)3: Applications in Organic Synthesis”, IMEBORON conference, 24th-28th August 2014, Prague, Czech Republic. 

20. Melen, R. L., “Intramolecular cyclisation reactions and rearrangements using B(C6F5)3”, University of Tübingen (Germany), 23rd June 2014.

19. Melen, R. L., “Synthesis and Catalysis using Abundant Main Group Metals”, Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF), 21st-26th June 2014, Award Lecture.

18. Melen, R. L., “Applications of Pentafluorophenyl Boron Reagents in Synthesis”, University of Guelph (Canada), June 2014. 

​17. Melen, R. L., “Applications of Pentafluorophenyl Boron Reagents in Synthesis”, University of Windsor (Canada), June 2014, (invited lecture).

​16. Melen, R. L., “Activation of Alkynes with B(C6F5)3: Intramolecular cyclisation reactions and rearrangements” Canadian Chemical Society meeting (CSC), Vancouver (Canada), 1st-5th June 2014, invited lecture (Main Group Symposium). 

15. Melen, R. L., “Catalysis in the Main Group”, University of St. Andrews (UK), 16th May 2014.

14. Melen, R. L., “Synthesis and Catalysis Using Main Group Elements”, University of Cardiff (UK), 6th May 2014.

​13. Melen, R. L., “Activation of Alkynes with B(C6F5)3: Intramolecular cyclisation reactions and rearrangements”, University of Durham (UK), 24th April 2014, Dalton Young Researcher Award Lecture.

12. Melen, R. L., “Activation of Alkynes with B(C6F5)3: Intramolecular cyclisation reactions and rearrangements”, University of Strathclyde (UK), 23rd April 2014, Dalton Young Researcher Award Lecture.

11. Melen, R. L., “Activation of Alkynes with B(C6F5)3: Intramolecular cyclisation reactions and rearrangements”, University of Bristol (UK), 21st April 2014, Dalton Young Researcher Award Lecture.

10. Melen, R. L., “Activation of Alkynes with B(C6F5)3: Intramolecular cyclisation reactions and rearrangements”, Dalton Division Joint Interest Groups Meeting, University of Warwick (UK), 15th-17th April 2014, Dalton Young Researcher Award Lecture, invited speaker.

9. Melen, R. L., Gade, L. H., “Enantioselective Catalysis with Chiral Pincer Complexes of the Alkaline Earth Metals”, Network Meeting of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Berlin, April 2014).

​8. Melen, R. L., “Applications of Pentafluorophenyl Boron Reagents in Synthesis”, University of Heidelberg (Germany), 12th February 2014.

7. Melen, R. L., “Breaking the Wall of Limited Resources”, Falling Walls Conference, Berlin (Germany), 8th November 2013, A.T. Kearney Scholarship.

​6. Melen, R. L., “Insights into the Reactivity of Boron Azides: Cycloaddition Reactions and Staudinger Oxidations”, Annual Meeting of the RSC Main Group Chemistry Interest Group, Oxford, UK (September 27th 2013).

5. Melen, R. L., “Activation of Alkynes with B(C6F5)3: Applications in Organic Synthesis”, University of Cambridge (UK), 29th August 2013, Dalton Young Researcher Award Lecture.

4. Melen, R. L., “Activation of Alkynes with B(C6F5)3: Applications in Organic Synthesis”, University of Manchester (UK), 22nd August 2013 (invited lecture). 

3. Melen, R. L., 2013 GCI Future Leaders in Green Chemistry Interactive Workshop and Challenge (May 9th-10th 2013), Toronto, Canada.

2. Melen, R. L., “Main Group-Catalysed Dehydrocoupling of Amine Boranes”, BP Symposium (Oral presentation, University of Cambridge, UK, 2010)

1. Melen, R. L., “Coupling of Primary Phosphines using Main Group Reagents” Inorganic Seminar: Certificate of Post-Graduate Study (University of Cambridge, UK, 2008).