Austin Scharf

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Dr. Austin Scharf received his B.S. in chemistry from the University of Richmond, where his research focused on the synthesis of marine natural products and bioactive compounds.  Subsequently, he spent two years as an organic/medicinal chemist at Pfizer in La Jolla, California, synthesizing novel drug candidates for the treatment of HIV and various cancers.  After two years in industry, he came to miss the engaging atmosphere of academia, and decided to return to graduate school.  He received his Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Harvard University in 2013, where his research centered around the synthesis and characterization of first-row transition metal complexes with dipyrrin ligands, which have striking similarities to the heme cofactors found in biological systems.  

After graduate school, Scharf spent four years teaching at Harvard, where he taught classes in organic and inorganic chemistry, research methods, and scientific pedagogy.  In 2017, he joined the faculty of Oxford College.  He lives in Atlanta with his husband Kevin, their son Cameron, and dog Dax, and enjoys hiking, yoga, cooking, and gardening.


Education

BS| University of Richmond| 2006

PhD| Harvard University| 2013

Courses Taught

Chemistry 150 (and Lab)

Chemistry 202 (and Lab)

Chemistry 203 (and Lab)

Discovery Seminar: Drugs in Chemistry & Culture

Publications

Scharf, A.; Zheng, S-L.; Betley, T. "Luminescence from open-shell first-row transition metal dipyrrin complexes." Dalton Trans., 202150, 6418-6422.

Iovan, D.; Wrobel, A.; McClelland, A.; Scharf, A.; Edouard, G.; Betley, T. "Reactivity of a stable copper-dioxygen complex."  Chem. Commun. 2017, 53, 10306.

Scharf, A.; Betley, T. "Electronic perturbations of iron dipyrromethene complexes via ligand beta-halogenation and meso-fluoroarylation." Inorg. Chem.  2011, 50(14), 6837.

Gupton, J.; Banner, E.; Scharf, A. et al. "The application of vinylogous iminium salt derivatives to an efficient synthesis of the pyrrole containing alkaloids Rigidin and Rigidin E." Tetrahedron, 2006, 62, 8243.

Gupton, J.; Miller, R.; Scharf, A. et al. "The application of vinylogous iminium salt derivatives to an efficient relay synthesis of the pyrrole containing alkaloids Polycitone A and B." Tetrahedron, 2005, 61, 1845. 

Presentations

Gunter, M.; Thodupunoori, S.; Scharf, A.  “Progress toward synthesis of paramagnetic luminophores based on manganese(II) dipyrrins.”  71st Southeastern Regional Meeting of   the American Chemical Society; Savannah, GA; Oct. 2019.

Cochran, V.; Dao, A.; Gullet, L.; Hoballah, J.; Castro Narro, E.; Reeves, M.-G.; Saganty, R.; Siddall, A.; Zinsli, Z.; Scharf, A.; Spoering, R.; Ranatunge, R. "Design and synthesis of a series of novel heterarylbenzenesulfonamides as Carbonic Anhydrase II inhibitors." 250th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society; Boston, MA; August 2015.

"Carroll, T.; Minors, T.; Lin, E.; Mayfield, S.; Ramesh, A.; Doyle, P.; Chen, W.; Bellegard Bastos, G.; Zinsli, Z.; Scharf, A.; Spoering, R.; Ranatunge, R. "Design and synthesis of a novel NS3 protease inhibitor of the Dengue virus." 250th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society; Boston, MA; August 2015.

Scharf, A. & Betley, T. "The effect of peripheral ligand variation: Paramagnetic metal dipyrrinato complexes as luminophores." 243rd National Meeting of the American Chemical Society; San Diego, CA; March 2012.

Research Interests

Dr. Scharf's research at Oxford centers around the synthesis and characterization of luminescent (light-emitting) compounds containing transition metals; these compounds have the potential for use in 2D- and 3D-imaging in vivo, where their luminescence and unique magnetic properties enable them to be detected by multiple methods.  His research students learn inert-atmosphere synthetic techniques (Schlenk line and glovebox), characterization methods including NMR, IR, EPR, and fluorescence spectroscopies, and general principles of organometallic catalysis.

In addition, Dr. Scharf collaborates with other Oxford Chemistry faculty to understand how students develop mastery of challenging chemical concepts.