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Robert G. Iafe, Ph.D.
Robert G. Iafe, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Office: Science 1 Rm 108
Phone: (760) 750-8283
Hours: M(2PM), W(3PM), Th(2PM)

Dr. Iafe joined the Chemistry & Biochemistry department at CSUSM in the fall of 2014, after his tenure as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the W.M. Keck Science Department at the Claremont Colleges.  At CSUSM, Dr. Iafe teaches classes in organic chemistry (CHEM 200, CHEM 201, Chem 201L, Chem 202, Chem 202L).

ACS Student Chapter @ CSUSM ACSatCSUSMACSatCSUSM Advisor, 2015 

Committee for Undergraduate Research (CUGR), Member, 2015

CSUPERB Faculty Consensus Group, Member, 2016

FaCTR Fellow, 2017

View Robert Iafe's profile on LinkedInView Robert Iafe's profile on ORCiDView Robert Iafe's profile on ResearcherID


Teaching/Postdoctoral Scholar, 2011-2013, W.M. Keck Science Department at the Claremont Colleges, Claremont, CA

Ph.D., Organic Chemistry, 2011, University of California, Los Angeles, CA

M.S., Computational Chemistry, 2008, University of California, Los Angeles, CA

B.S., Chemistry, 2004, Cum Laude, Honors, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA


Group News

  • June 29, 2016. James Oakley presented a poster at the 2017 National Organic Symposium at UC Davis.
  • June 12, 2017. Congratulations to James Oakley for receiving a $500 travel grant to the 2017 National Organic Symposium. 
  • June 2017. Congratulations to Iliana Levesque for receiving the 2017 Viasat Summer Scholars Award.
  • May 23, 2017. Dr. Iafe was featured on CSUSM News Center.
  • May 10, 2017. Congratulations to Cristofer Thompson for winning the CSUSM Dept. of Chemistry & Biochemistry Outstanding Student in Undergraduate Research Award.
  • May 10, 2017. Cristofer Thompson presented his Chem 499 poster at the CSUSM Chemistry & Biochemistry Student Research Showcase.
  • May 3, 2017. High school student Parker Loux gave his oral Presentation of Learning for the Internship Program at Del Lago Academy.
  • May 2, 2017. Congratulations to Omar Apolinar for getting the 2017 Spring Presidents' Commission Scholars Award.
  • April 28, 2017. James Oakley gave an oral presentation at the 2017 CSU Symposium on Student Research, Creative Activites, & Innovation at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
  • April 3, 2017. Lina Ahlberg, James Oakley, and Cris Thompson presented posters at the 253rd American Chemical Society National Meeting in San Francisco.
  • February 24, 2017. Congratulations to James Oakley for being chosen as a FINALIST at the 2017 Symposium on Student Research, Creative Acitivites, & Innovation.
  • February 2017. Congratulations to Gloria Diaz for getting accepted to the chemistry PhD program at the University of Michigan!!
  • January 23, 2017. Gloria Diaz was highlighted in the Science & Technology Spotlight Series blog at sdfoundation.org.
  • January 5-7, 2017. Cristofer Thompson, Lina Ahlberg, Tyler Stanley, James Oakley, and Sam Acosta presented posters at the 29th Annual CSU Biotechnology Symposium in Santa Clara.
  • November 29, 2016. Lina Ahlberg and James Oakley presented posters at the CSUSM CUGR Student Poster Showcase.
  • October 2016. Congratulations to Gloria Diaz on being chosen to attend the M|CORE (Michigan-Chemistry Opportunities for Research & Education) Graduate Program Preview Weekend!
  • August 10, 2016. Sam Acosta, James Oakley, and Cristofer Thompson presented at the 2016 Summer Scholars Research Poster Showcase.
  • June 2016. Congratulations to Cristofer Thompson for receiving the 2016 Genentech Summer Scholars Award. 
  • June 2016. Congratulations to Sam Acosta and James Oakley for receiving the 2016 Viasat Summer Scholars Award.
  • May 13, 2016. Congratulations to Gloria Diaz for winning the CSUSM Chemistry and Biochemistry Outstanding Faculty Student Collaboration Award.
  • May 11, 2016. Elie Ghasb, Jessica Maynard, Jackie Robinos, Melisa Dean, Gloria Diaz, Lina Ahlberg, and Brittney Klasic presented posters at the CSUSM Chemistry & Biochemistry Student Research Showcase. 
  • May 11, 2016. Congratulations to Lina Ahlberg for winning the Mari A. Smith Outstanding Student in Physical Chemistry Award.
  • May 11, 2016. Congratulations to Jessica Maynard for winning the ACS Outstanding Student in Organic Chemistry Award.
  • April 29, 2016. Gloria Diaz gave an oral presentation at the 2016 CSU Symposium on Student Research, Creative Activites, & Innovation at CSU Bakersfield.
  • April 23, 2016. Lina Ahlberg and Gloria Diaz presented a poster at the Southern California Undergraduate Research Conference (SCURC) at CSU Long Beach.
  • April 6, 2016. Gloria Diaz presented a poster at the 75th San Diego ACS Anniversary Symposium at SDSU.
  • March 13, 2016. Gloria Diaz and Brittney Klasic presented posters at the 251st American Chemical Society National Meeting in San Diego.
  • February 26, 2016. Congratulations to Gloria Diaz for being chosen as a FINALIST at the 2016 Symposium on Student Research, Creative Activites, & Innovation.
  • January 8, 2016. Gloria Diaz and Brittney Klasic presented posters at the 28th Annual CSU Biotechnology Symposium in Anaheim (January 7–9, 2016).

Peer Reviewed Articles (* denotes undergraduate student)

  1. Karabiyikoglu, S.; Iafe, R. G.; Merlic, C. A. "Ring-Closing Metathesis with Vicinal Dibromoalkenes as Protected Alkynes: A Synthetic Approach to Macrocyclic Enynes." Org. Lett. 2015, 7, 5248–5251. [link]
  2. *Vinson, A. R. S.; *Davis, V. K.; *Arunasalam, A.; *Jesse, K. A.; *Hamilton, R. E.; *Shattuck, M. A.; *Hu, A. C.; Iafe, R. G.; Wenzel, A. G. "Gold-Catalyzed, SN1-Type Reaction of Alcohols to Ethers and Cbz-Protected Amines." Synlett 201526, 765–770. [link]
  3. Iafe, R. G.; *Kuo, J. L.; Hochstatter, D. G.; *Saga, T.; *Turner, J. W.; Merlic, C. A. "Increasing the Efficiency of the Transannular Diels-Alder Strategy via Palladium(II)-Catalyzed Macrocyclizations." Org. Lett. 201315, 582–585. [link]
  4. Iafe, R. G.; Chan, D. G.; *Kuo, J. L.; Boon, B. A.; *Faizi, D. J.; Saga, T.; *Turner, J. W.; Merlic, C. A. "Cyclization Strategies to Polyenes Using Pd(II)-Catalyzed Couplings of Pinacol Vinylboronates." Org. Lett. 201214, 4282–4285. [link]
  5. Gutierrez, O.; Iafe, R. G.; Houk, K. N. "Origin of Stereoselectivity in the Imidazolidinone-Catalyzed Reductions of Cyclic α,β-Unsaturated Ketones." Org. Lett. 200911, 4298–4301. [link]
  6. Ess, D. H.; Wheeler, S. E.; Iafe, R. G.; Xu, L.; Celebi-Olcum, N.; Houk, K. N. "Bifurcations on Potential Energy Surfaces of Organic Reactions." Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 200847, 7592–7601. [link]
  7. Iafe, R. G.; Houk, K. N. "Intramolecular Hetero-Diels-Alder Reactions of Imine and Iminium Dienophiles: Quantum Mechanical Exploration of Mechanisms and Stereoselectivities." J. Org. Chem. 200873, 2679–2686. [link]
  8. Iafe, R. G.; Houk, K. N. "Stereoselectivity Control by Torsional Steering in an Intramolecular Diels-Alder Reaction of Vinyl Oxocarbenium Ions." Org. Lett. 20068, 3469–3472. [link]

Conference/National Meeting Presentations (* denotes undergraduate student)

  1. *Oakley, J. V.; *Stanley, T.; Iafe, R. G. (2017, April) Gold(I)-Catalyzed Friedel–Crafts-like Arylation of Benzylic Alcohols to Afford 1,1-Diarylmethanes. Poster presented at the 253rd ACS National Meeting & Exposition, San Francisco, CA.
  2. *Ahlberg, L.; *Thompson, C.; *Diaz, G.; *Klasic, B.; Iafe, R. G. (2017, April) Chiral Bisphosphorylimides as Organocatalysts for Friedel–Crafts Reactions. Poster presented at the 253rd ACS National Meeting & Exposition, San Francisco, CA.
  3. *Oakley, J. V.; *Stanley, T.; Iafe, R. G. (2017, January) Gold(I)-Catalyzed Friedel–Crafts-like Arylation of Benzylic Alcohols to Afford 1,1-Diarylmethanes. Poster presented at the 29th CSU Annual Biotechnology Symposium, Santa Clara, CA.
  4. *Ahlberg, L.; *Thompson, C.; *Dean, M.; *Diaz, G.; *Ghasb, E.; *Klasic, B.; *Maynard, J.; *Robinos, J.; Abrous, L.; Iafe, R. G. (2017, January) Chiral Bisphosphorylimides as Organocatalysts for Friedel–Crafts Reactions. Poster presented at the 29th CSU Annual Biotechnology Symposium, Santa Clara, CA.
  5. *Acosta, S.; *Ghasb, E.; Iafe, R. G. (2017, January) The Microwave Assisted, Gold(I)-Catalyzed Ritter Reaction. Poster presented at the 29th CSU Annual Biotechnology Symposium, Santa Clara, CA.
  6. *Ahlberg, L.; *Dean, M.; *Diaz, G.; *Ghasb, E.; *Klasic, B.; *Maynard, J.; *Robinos, J.; Abrous, L.; Iafe, R. G. (2016, April) Bisphosphorylimides as Organocatalysts for Asymmetric Friedel-Crafts Reactions. Poster presented at the 75th San Diego ACS Anniversary Symposium, San Diego, CA.
  7. *Ahlberg, L.; *Dean, M.; *Diaz, G.; *Ghasb, E.; *Klasic, B.; *Maynard, J.; *Robinos, J.; Abrous, L.; Iafe, R. G. (2016, March) Bisphosphorylimides as Organocatalysts for Asymmetric Friedel-Crafts Reactions. Poster presented at the 251st ACS National Meeting & Exposition, San Diego, CA.
  8. *Ahlberg, L.; *Dean, M.; *Diaz, G.; *Ghasb, E.; *Klasic, B.; *Maynard, J.; *Robinos, J.; Abrous, L.; Iafe, R. G. (2016, January) Bisphosphorylimides as Organocatalysts for Asymmetric Friedel-Crafts Reactions. Poster presented at the 28th CSU Annual Biotechnology Symposium, Anaheim, CA.
  9. *Tran, N.; *Mesa, K.; *Wall, J.; Iafe, R. G.; Wenzel, A. G. (2014, March). Chiral Thiophosphoramides as Ligands for Gold(I) Catalysis. Poster presented at the 247th ACS National Meeting & Exposition, Dallas, TX.
  10. *Davis, V. K.; *Arunasalam, A.; *Vinson, A.; Iafe, R. G.; Wenzel, A. G. (2014, March). Gold(I)-Catalyzed, SN1 Etherification of Alcohols. Poster presented at the 247th ACS National Meeting & Exposition, Dallas, TX.
  11. *Panzer, Z. R.; Iafe, R. G.; Wenzel, A. G. (2014, March). Diastereoselective, Bronsted Acid-Catalyzed, Aza-Friedel Crafts-like Reaction Between Aryl Compounds and Imines. Poster presented at the 247th ACS National Meeting & Exposition, Dallas, TX.
  12. *Panzer, Z. R.; Iafe, R. G.; Wenzel, A. G. (2013, April). Betti Bases for Application in Green Organocatalysis. Poster presented at the 245th ACS National Meeting & Exposition, New Orleans, LA.
  13. *Kuo, J. L.; Iafe, R. G.; Merlic, C. A. (2012, March). Palladium(II) Catalyzed Intramolecular Insertions for Polycyclic Ring Synthesis. Poster presented at the 243rd ACS National Meeting & Exposition, San Diego, CA.
  14. Iafe, R. G.; Merlic, C. A. (2011, March). Strategies for Palladium(II) Catalyzed Cyclization Reactions. Poster presented at the 241st ACS National Meeting & Exposition, Anaheim, CA.
  15. Iafe, R. G.; Houk, K. N. (2007, March). Density Functional Theory Study of C-H Activation of Arenes and Alkanes with Cp*RhPMe3. Poster presented at the 233rd ACS National Meeting, Chicago, IL.

Grants

  1. 2017: CSUPERB PCS. $8,000. 
  2. 2015. OGSR GPSM. $3,000.
  3. 2015. CSUPERB NI. $15,000.

CHEM 200: Bridge to Organic Chemistry

CHEM 201: Organic Chemistry I

CHEM 201L: Organic Chemistry I Lab

CHEM 202: Organic Chemsitry II

CHEM 202L: Organic Chemistry II Lab

CHEM 499Senior Laboratory Thesis and Seminar


Assistant Professor, 2014-Present, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, California State University San Marcos

Visiting Assistant Professor, 2011-2014, W.M. Keck Science Department at the Claremont Colleges

Lecturer, 2011, UCLA Extension

Professional societies:

  • American Chemical Society, member
  • Royal Society of Chemistry, member
  • Sigma Xi, full member
  • Alpha Sigma Nu, member

Relevant awards

  • 2017, Cougars Affordable Learning Materials Program, Spring 2017 Award (w/ JT & EG), California State University San Marcos, CA
  • 2016, CSM Award for Outstanding Faculty Student Collaboration, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, California State University San Marcos, CA
  • 2011, Hanson-Dow Teaching Assistant Award, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Los Angeles, CA
  • 2010, Amgen Scholars Program Lab Mentor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Los Angeles, CA
  • 2010, Cram-Winstein Travel Fellowship, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Los Angeles, CA
  • 2007, Winstein Organic/Inorganic Graduate Student Travel Award, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, CA
  • 2004, Regents Stipend, University of California, Los Angeles, CA

Super STEM Saturday, CSUSM, March 11, 2017.
Better Than Magic Show
"Better Than Magic" Chemistry Show
ChemExpo 2016: "Forensics: Solving Mysteries with Chemistry" Miramar College, October 22, 2016. ACS Club @ CSUSM
STEM in your Backyard, Main Street, Vista, CA, October 9, 2016, ACS Club @ CSUSM
Super STEM Saturday, CSUSM, March 12, 2016. 
STEM in your Backyard, Main Street, Vista, CA, March 6, 2016, ACS Club @ CSUSM
STEM in your Backyard
STEM in Your Backyard Group
ChemExpo 2015: "Chemistry Colors Our World: Exploring the Chemistry of Pigments, Dyes, and Light!" Miramar College, October 24, 2015. ACS Club @ CSUSM
Discover CSUSM, CSUSM, April 11, 2015, ACS Club @ CSUSM
Super STEM Saturday, CSUSM, March 14, 2015
Better Than Magic Show

Front row: Katie Reuter, Lina Ahlberg, Gloria Diaz, Jasmine Javier. Back row: Prof. Iafe, Elie Ghaseb, Matt Kromer, Prof. Schmidt

ChemExpo 2014: "The Sweet Side of Chemistry: Candy!" Miramar College, October 25, 2014. ACS Club @ CSUSM

Iafe Lab Member (2016-2017)

Sam Acosta Natalie Adamson
Sam Acosta – Summer Scholar Natalie Adamson
Omar Apolinar Amanda Bookout
Omar Apolinar – Presidents' Commission Scholar Amanda Bookout
Stephanie Cain Iliana Levesque
Stephanie Cain Iliana Levesque – Summer Scholar
Sharai Mendez James Oakley
Sharai Mendez James Oakley – Summer Scholar
Tyler Stanley Jasimine Terrell
Tyler Stanley Jasimine Terrell

Group 2016

Group Summer 2016

CSUSM Alumni:

  • Gloria Diaz [Summer Scholar], 2016. Chemistry graduate student - University of Michigan.
  • Elie Ghasb, 2016. Applying to medical school.
  • Brittney Klasic [Summer Scholar], 2016. Applying to pharmacy school.
  • Jessica Maynard [Summer Scholar], 2016. Analytical chemist – Contract Research Organization.
  • Cris Thompson [Summer Scholar], 2017. QA Analyst – Sparsha Pharma USA Inc.

Student research funding opportunities: