• leber original
Dr. E. Paul and Frances H. Reiff Professor of Chemistry



Office: HAC414

Office: HAC 414

Spring 2021 Office Hours: TBD


B.S. Albright College, 1976
Ph.D. University of New Mexico, 1981


Our research group has been investigating substituent effects on and stereochemical outcomes of the [1,3] sigmatropic rearrangement of bicyclic and tricyclic vinylcyclobutanes. The value of these studies is to enhance our understanding of bond-breaking processes, to probe the fundamental nature of diradical intermediates, and to conduct experimental tests of theoretical and computational predictions.


2001 - Present
(Undergraduate student coauthor are in bold.)

Leber, P. A.; Nocket, A. J.; Hancock-Cerutti, W.; Bemis, C. Y.; Khine, W. K.; Mohrbacher III, J. A.; Baldwin, J. E.  Gas Phase Thermal Reactions of exo-8-Cyclopropylbicyclo[4.2.0]oct-2-ene (1-exo). Molecules 201419, 1527-1543.   

Leber, P. A.; Bell, R. M.; Christie, C. W.; Mohrbacher III, J. A. A Vinylcyclobutane Substrate Designed as a Cyclopropylcarbinyl Radical Probe. Org. Biomol. Chem. 201311, 2080-2083.

Leber, P. A.; Nocket, A. J.; Wipperman, M. F.; Zohrabian, S.; Bemis, C. Y.; Sidhu, M. K.  Experimental Evidence of a Cyclopropylcarbinyl Conjugative Electronic Effect. Org. Biomol. Chem. 2013, 11, 5994-5997.

Leber, P. A.; Mann III, G. R.; Hancock-Cerutti, W.; Wipperman, M. F.; Zohrabian, S.; Bell, R. M.; Baldwin, J. E. Thermal Isomerizations of cis,anti,cis-Tricyclo[ 2,8]tridec-10-ene. J. Org. Chem. 2012, 77, 3468-3474.

Yoder, C. H.; Leber, P. A.; Thomsen, M. W.  The Bridge to Organic Chemistry: Concepts and Nomenclature; John Wiley & Sons: New Jersey, 2010.

Schilling, A. L.; Leber, P. A.; Yoder, C. H.  Exploration of SO2 Scrubber: A First-Year Environmental Project. J. Chem. Educ., 2009, 86, 225-226.

Leber, P. A.; Williams, B. R.; Yoder, C. H.  The Change in Publication Rates at Undergraduate Institutions During the Last Two Decades. J. Chem. Educ., 2009, 86, 876-878.

Baldwin, J. E.; Leber, P. A. Molecular Rearrangements through Thermal [1,3] Carbon Shifts. Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry 2008, 6, 36-47.

Leber, P. A.; Bogdan, A. R.; Powers, D. C.; Baldwin, J. E. Thermal Isomerizations of cis,anti,cis-Tricyclo[,7]dodec-3-ene to trans- and cis,endo-Tricyclo[,7]dodec-9-ene: Diradical Conformations and Stereochemical Outcomes in [1,3] Carbon Shifts. Tetrahedron 2007, 63, 6331-6338 (50th Anniversary Special Issue).

Powers, D. C.; Leber, P. A.; Gallagher, S. S.; Higgs, A. T.; McCullough, L. A.; Baldwin, J. E. Thermal Chemistry of Bicyclo[4.2.0]oct-2-enes. J. Org. Chem. 2007, 72, 187-194.

Leber, P. A.; Lasota, C. C.; Strotman, N. A.; Yen, G. S. The Effect of a Methoxy Substituent on the Vinylcyclobutane Carbon Migration. J. Org. Chem. 2007, 72, 912-919.

Baldwin, J. E.; Leber, P. A.; Powers, D. C. Thermal Reactions of 7-d- and 8-d-Bicyclo[4.2.0]oct-2-enes. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2006, 128, 10020-10021.

Bogle, X. S.; Leber, P. A.; McCullough, L.. A.; Powers, D. C. Thermal Reactions of 8-Methylbicyclo[4.2.0]oct-2-enes: Competitive Diradical-mediated [1,3] Sigmatropic, Stereomutation, and Fragmentation Processes. J. Org. Chem. 2005, 70, 8913-8918.

Brigandi, L. M.; Leber, P. A.; Yoder, C. H. Synthesis and Analysis of Copper Hydroxy Double Salts. J. Chem. Educ. 2005, 82, 1662.

Baldwin, J. E.; Bogdan, A. R.; Powers, D. C.; Leber, P. A. cis,anti,cis-Tricyclo-[,7]undec-3-ene: A Template for [1,3] Migration via an Exclusive Symmetry-forbidden Suprafacial Retention Pathway. Org. Lett. 2005, 7, 5195-5197.

Powers, D. C.; Higgs, A. T. ; Obley, M. L. ; Leber, P. A.; K.R. Hess, C.H. Yoder. An Environmental Project for First Year Chemistry Students: Analysis of Natural Buffer Systems and the Impact of Acid Rain. J. Chem. Educ. 2005, 826, 274-277.

Baldwin, J. E.; Gallagher, S. S.;  Leber, P. A.; Raghavan, A.; Shulka, R. Deuterium Kinetic Isotope Effects and Mechanism of the Thermal Isomerization of Bicyclo[4.2.0]oct-7-ene to 1,3-Cyclooctadiene. J. Org. Chem. 2004, 69, 7212-7219

Leber, P. A. An Introductory Quantitative GC Experiment for the Organic Chemistry Laboratory. In Gas Chromatography: Lab Lessons; Robert M. Hillard; GOW-MAC Instrument Co.: Bethlehem, PA, 2004.

Baldwin, J. E.; Gallagher, S. S. ; Leber, P. A.; Raghavan, A. The Thermal Disrotatory Electrocyclic Isomerization of cis-Bicyclo[4.2.0]oct-7-ene to cis,cis-1,3-Cyclooctadiene. Org. Lett. 2004, 6, 1457-1460.

Schilling, A. L. ; Hess, K. R.;  Leber, P. A.; Yoder, C. H. A Simulation of the Interaction of Acid Rain with Soil Materials. J. Chem. Educ. 2004, 81, 246-247.

Harle, H. D. ; Ingram, J. A. ; Leber, P. A.; Hess, K. R.; Yoder, C. H. A Simple Method for Determination of Solubility in the First-Year Laboratory. J. Chem. Educ. 2003, 80, 560.

HarleH. D. ; Leber, P. A.; Hess, K. R.; Yoder, C. H. A Concept-Based Environmental Project for the First-Year Laboratory: Remediation of Barium-Contaminated Soil by In Situ Immobilization. J. Chem. Educ. 2003, 80, 561-562.

Leber, P. A.; Baldwin, J. E. Thermal[1,3] Carbon Sigmatropic Rearrangements of Vinylcyclobutanes.  Accounts of Chemical Research 2002, 35, 279-287.

Baldwin, J. E.; Leber, P. A.; Lee, T. W. Kinetic Derivations for Thermal Isomerizations of Monodeuterio Cyclic 1,3-Dienes Through 1,5-Hydrogen Shifts. J. Chem. Educ. 2001, 78, 1394-1399.

Baldwin, J. E.; Leber, P. A.; Lee, T. W. Kinetic and Activation Parameters for the Thermal 1,5-Hydrogen Shifts Interconverting the Four Monodeuterio-cis,cis-1,3-cyclooctadienes. J. Org. Chem. 2001, 43, 5269-5271.

Baldwin, J. E.; Leber, P. A. New Thermal Reactions of Deuterium-labeled Bicyclo[3.2.0]hept-2-enes: Bicyclic Skeletal Inversoin and Epimerization at C7. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2001, 123, 8396-8397.

Course Information

Dr. Phyllis Leber teaches the following courses:
    Chem 111/112 - General Chemistry I and II
    Chem 211/212 - Organic Chemistry I and II

In the News

Story 7/20/2015

Guiding Students From Classroom Learner to Research...

During more than three decades of teaching and conducting scientific research at Franklin & Marshall College, Phyllis Leber has demonstrated a tireless dedication to transforming her undergraduates...

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