Frank Gupton, Ph.D.

Floyd D. Gottwald Chair
and Professor,
Department of Chemical and
Life Science Engineering
(804) 828-4799
Eng West Hall 438


  • B.S., chemistry, University of Richmond
  • M.S., biochemistry, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Ph.D., chemistry, Virginia Commonwealth University


  • 1994-2007: Boehringer Ingelheim Chemicals, Inc. – executive director, process development
  • 1976-86: Celanese Corp. – senior project leader, research and development
  • 1987-93: Hoechst-Celanese Corp. – project manager, commercial development

Research Interests

The Gupton research group is focused on the development and application of new technologies that will streamline organic synthesis through process intensification.   The goal of process intensification is to increase the overall efficiency and selectivity of chemical reactions by using novel chemistry and/ or running reactions under more extreme process conditions (temperature and pressure).   We are interested in applying these principals towards the development of new catalyst systems that can be used in concert with continuous chemical processing (flow reactor technology) to streamline the synthesis of pharmaceutical active ingredients (API’s).

We have developed a series of palladium catalyst systems that can be used in cross-coupling reactions for batch and continuous operations and we are currently using these catalysts in the preparation of several API target molecules.   These catalysts are composed of metal nanoparticles supported on novel carbon-based platforms such as graphene or carbon nanotubes. Our group has direct access to a wide variety of surface characterization methodologies to characterize these materials which have provided fundamental insights into their unusual catalytic activity.

We are also actively involved in the evaluation and integration of continuous analytical methodologies with continuous chemical processing in order to provide real time feedback and optimization of our processes.

Selected Publications

1. Palladium nanoparticles supported on carbon nanotubes from solventless preparations:
versatile catalysts for ligand-​free Suzuki cross coupling reactions, Siamaki, Ali R.; Lin, Yi;
Woodberry, Kendra; Connell, John W.; Gupton, B. Frank, Journal of Materials Chemistry A:
Materials for Energy and Sustainability (2013), 1(41), 12909-12918.

2. Improved Synthesis of Mono- and Disubstituted 2-​Halonicotinonitriles from
Alkylidene Malononitriles, Longstreet, Ashley R.; Campbell, Brian S.; Gupton, B. Frank;
McQuade, D. Tyler, Organic Letters (2013), 15(20), 5298-5301.

3. Investigating the continuous synthesis of a nicotinonitrile precursor to nevirapine;
Longstreet Ashley R; Opalka Suzanne M; Campbell Brian S; McQuade D Tyler; Gupton B
Frank, Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry (2013), 9, 2570-2578.

4. Controlled synthesis of silica capsules: taming the reactivity of SiCl4 using flow and
chemistry, Miller, L. Zane; Steinbacher, Jeremy L.; Houjeiry, Tania I.; Longstreet, Ashley R.;
Woodberry, Kendra L.; Gupton, B. Frank; Chen, Banghao; Clark, Ron; McQuade, D. Tyler,
Journal of Flow Chemistry (2012), 2, 92-102.

5. Pd-​Partially Reduced Graphene Oxide Catalysts (Pd​/PRGO)​: Laser Synthesis of Pd
Nanoparticles Supported on PRGO Nanosheets for Carbon-​Carbon Cross Coupling
Reactions, Moussa, Sherif; Siamaki, Ali R.; Gupton, B. Frank; El-Shall, M. Samy, ACS
Catalysis (2012), 2(1), 145-154.

7. Microwave-​assisted synthesis of palladium nanoparticles supported on graphene: A
highly active and recyclable catalyst for carbon-​carbon cross-​coupling reactions; Siamaki,
Ali R.; Khder, Abd El Rahman S.; Abdelsayed, Victor; El-Shall, M. Samy; Gupton, B.
Frank, Journal of Catalysis (2011), 279(1), 1-11.