John H. Nelson

Professor Emeritus

Contact Information


  • Postdoctoral (1968-70), Tulane University (H. B. Jonassen)
  • Ph.D. (1968), University of Utah (R. O. Ragsdale)
  • B.S. (1964), University of Utah

Research Interests

Our research interests include the synthesis, physical properties, structure, reactions and catalytic properties of coordination and organometallic compounds. Four avenues of research are pursued: (1) Structure, dynamics, and bonding in Pd(II) and Pt(II) complexes. The interrelationships of geometric isomerizations, ligand substitutions and homogeneous catalysis are studied. (2) Reactions of coordinated ligands, particularly phosphines and arsines. A greater understanding of the factors which influence chemoselectivity, stereoselectivity, regioselectivity, and diastereoselectivity is sought. (3) Solid state NMR spectroscopy. Benchmark data are used to assess the utility of CP/MAS NMR spectroscopy for structural determination of amorphous solids. (4) Asymmetric homogeneous catalysis. Synthesis and resolution of new conformationally rigid chiral bidentate and tridentate ligands and investigation of asymmetric hydrogenation, hydroformylation and cross coupling of Grignard reagents with aryl and vinyl halides by transition metal complexes of these ligands.
John Nelson

John Nelson


  • Duraczynska, D.; Nelson, J.H.  Phosphaallyl complexes of Ru(II) derived from dicyclohexylvinylphosphine (DCVP).  Dalton Trans. 2005, 92-103.
  • Wilson, D.C.; Nelson, J.H.  Reactions of ruthenium(II) tris(pyrazolyl)borate and tris(pyrazolyl)methane complexes with diphenylvinylphosphine and 3,4-dimethyl-1-phenylphosphole.  J. Organomet. Chem. 2003, 682, 272-289.
  • Nelson, J.H.; Ghebreyessus, K.Y.  (η6-Arene)ruthenium(II) complexes with hemilabile η3-dicyclohexylvinylphosphine (DCVP) and η3-diphenylvinylphosphine (DPVP) phosphaallyl ligands:  Formation of an unexpected trinuclear complex.  Synth. React. Inorg. Met.-Org. Chem. 2003, 33, 1329-1349.
  • Ghebreyessus, K.Y.; Nelson, J.H.  Reactions of [(η6-Me6C6)Ru(Ph2PCH:CH2)Cl2] with 1-ethynylcycloalkanols leading to methoxy-alkenyl carbenes via vinylvinylidene and/or allenylidene intermediates.  Inorg. Chem. Commun. 2003, 6, 1044-1047.
  • Kelly, A.E.; MacGregor, S.A.; Willis, A.C.; Nelson, J.H.; Wenger, E.  Insertion reactions of unsymmetrical ester-activated alkynes with o-benzylamine palladacycles:  A regioselectivity study.  Inorg. Chim. Acta 2003, 352, 79-97.
  • Hansen, H.D.; Nelson, J.H.  Synthesis, solid state structure, and variable-temperature NMR spectroscopy of the primary vinylidene complex [Cp(DPVP)2Ru=C=CH2]PF6, Cp=η5-C5Me5, DPVP=Ph2PCH=CH2.  Inorg. Chim. Acta 2003, 352, 4-8.
  • Ghebreyessus, K.Y.; Nelson, J.H.  Carbene and isocyanide ligation at ruthenium(II) with (η6-arene) and tethered phosphinopropylarene ligands.  Inorg. Chim. Acta 2003, 350, 12-24.
  • Ghebreyessus, K.Y.; Gül, N.; Nelson, J.H.  Enantioselective synthesis of p-chiral (η6-arene)ruthenium(II) complexes using enantiomerically pure orthometalated palladium(II) amine complexes.  Organometallics 2003, 22, 2977-2989.
  • Ghebreyessus, K.Y.; Nelson, J.H.  Conformationally rigid diphosphine arene-ruthenium(II) complexes as catalysts for transfer hydrogenation of ketones.  J. Organomet. Chem. 2003, 669, 48-56.
  • Duraczynska, D.; Nelson, J.H.  Diphenylvinylphosphine (DPVP) complexes containing the (η5-MeC5H4)Ru(II) moiety:  Synthesis, characterization and reactions.  Dalton Trans. 2003, 449-457.
  • Gül, N.; Nelson, J.H.; Willis, A.C.; Rae, A.D.  Comparative study of the reactions of two alkynes and an alkene with chiral cyclopalladated complexes derived from N,N-dimethyl-α-(2-naphthyl)ethylamine and N,N-dimethyl-α-methylbenzylamine:  Insertion or cycloaddition.  Organometallics 2002, 21, 2041-2048.
  • Nelson, J.H.; Ghebreyessus, K.Y.; Cook. V.C.; Edwards, A.J.; Wielandt, W.; Wild, S.B.; Willis, A.C.  Synthesis and characterization of [(η6-arene)RuCl2(R2AsCH:CH2)] and tethered arsinopropylarene-ruthenium(II) complexes.  Organometallics 2002, 21, 1727-1733.
  • Nelson, J.H.  Aspects of equivalence as illustrated by phosphine complexes of transition metals.  Concepts Magn. Reson. 2002, 14, 19-78.
  • Gugger, P.A.; Willis, A.C.; Wild, S.B.; Heath, G.A.; Webster, R.D.; Nelson, J.H.  Enantioselective synthesis of a conformationally rigid, sterically encumbered, 2-arsino-7-phosphanorbornene.  J. Organomet. Chem. 2002, 643-644, 136-153.
  • Hansen, H.D.; Nelson, J.H.  Configurational stability at ruthenium revisited.  Organometallics 2001, 20, 5257.
  • Redwine, K.D.; Wilson, W.L.; Moses, D.G.; Catalano, V.J.; Nelson, J.H.  Cooperative diastereoselectivity of palladium- and platinum-promoted intramolecular [4+2] Diels-Alder cycloaddition reactions of 3,4-dimethyl-1-phenylphosphole.  Inorg. Chem. 2000, 39, 3392-3402.
  • Gül, N.; Nelson, J.H.  Halide-bridged palladium(II) dimers of orthometallated (S)-(+)-N,N-dimethyl-α-methylbenzylamine and (S)-(+)-N,N-dimethyl[1-(2-naphthyl)ethylamine]:  Solution and solid-state structures and reactions with 3,4-dimethyl-1-phenylphosphole and allyldiphenylphosphine.  Organometallics 2000, 19, 91-104.
  • Ghebreyessus, K.; Nelson, J.H.  Base-promoted hydroalkylation reactions of 1,3,5-Me3C6H3, p-MeC6H4CHMe2, C6Me6, p-MeC6H4Me, and MeC6H5 ligands coordinated to ruthenium(II).  Organometallics 2000, 19, 3387-3392.
  • Redwine, K.D.; Nelson, J.H.  Scope and diastereoselectivity of intramolecular [4+2] Diels-Alder cycloaddition reactions of (η6-arene) Ru(DMPP)Cl2 complexes with dieneophilic ligands.  J. Organomet. Chem. 2000, 613, 177-199.
  • Redwine, K.D.; Nelson, J.H.  Thermal dimerization of 3,4-dimethyl-1-phenylphosphole (DMPP) within the coordination sphere of [(η6-arene)Ru(DMPP)2Cl]PF6 complexes.  Organometallics 2000, 19, 3054-3061.
  • Hansen, H.D.; Nelson, J.H.  Novel ruthenium(II) carbene complexes:  Products of the reactions of 1-alkynes with (η6-C6Me6)Cl2Ru(PR3).  Organometallics 2000, 19, 4740-4755.