Wesleyan portrait of Brian Hale Northrop

Brian Hale Northrop

E. B. Nye Professor of Chemistry

Professor of Chemistry

Hall-Atwater Laboratories, 39

Chair, Chemistry

Professor, Integrative Sciences


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BA Middlebury College
PHD University of California, Los Angeles

Brian Hale Northrop

Brian Northrop's research focuses on the synthesis of new organic materials with potential uses across nanoscience including π-conjugated organic semiconductors, luminescent materials, molecular self-assembly, mechanically interlocked molecules, and functional polymers. To design, create, and analyze these new materials the lab uses molecular recognition, self-assembly, dynamic covalent chemistry, and “click” chemistry. By themselves (and especially in combination) these four areas of chemical research have enabled molecules and supramolecules of incredible complexity to be constructed from relatively simple starting materials. The breadth and modularity of these synthetic approaches makes them amenable to address questions and solve problems across multiple chemical, environmental, biological, and materials disciplines. Our current, primary interests include (i) π-conjugated organic materials with electronic and luminescent properties, and (ii) the study and use of pericyclic reactions in organic materials synthesis. We also have expertise in the dynamic assembly of covalent organic polygons, the development and understanding of selective and orthogonal thiol-ene reactions, and the efficient synthesis of dendrimers. We rely on a variety of tools – NMR and UV-Vis spectroscopies, gel permeation chromatography, differential scanning calorimetry, computational modeling, and others – to understand the formation, structure, and functional properties of the reaction protocols and new materials we develope in our lab. For more information please visit Brian's Faculty Website (link at left).

Brian was an undergraduate at Middlebury College in Middlebury, VT, where he worked in the lab of Prof. Jeff Byers. After graduation from Middlebury Brian moved to California to start graduate school at UCLA where he worked jointly in the research groups of Prof. Ken Houk and Prof. Fraser Stoddart. After receiving his PhD Brian moved to Salt Lake City to begin an NIH postdoctoral fellowship in lab of Prof. Peter Stang at the University of Utah. Brian began his independent career in the Department of Chemistry at Wesleyan University in the summer of 2009, was promoted to Associate Professor in 2015 and to Professor in 2021. His primary research interests are in organic, physical organic, and materials chemistry. Outside the lab Brian enjoys skiing and hiking in the mountains, racing triathlons, and spending time with his wife and their four kids.

Academic Affiliations

Office Hours

Course and semester dependent.


Fall 2024
CHEM 358 - 01
Structure and Mechanism