Professor Creary received his B.S. in 1968 from Seton Hall University, South Orange, N.J. His Ph.D. is from The Ohio State University in 1973. After a year as a postdoctoral with J.F. Bunnett at the University of California, Santa Cruz, he joined the faculty at Notre Dame in 1974. Professor Creary has been a recipient of an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship.
Professor Creary's research interests are a blend of synthetic and mechanistic organic chemistry. Studies in his laboratory are directed toward the study of novel reaction mechanisms and reactive intermediates. Reactions that proceed via carbocations, carbenes, free radicals, radical anions and radical cations are current areas of interest.
In the carbocation area, studies are directed toward so-called "electron deficient cations", [R2CE]+. Studies have shown that a variety of such carbocations that are substituted with electron-withdrawing groups E (such as carbonyl, phosphoryl, and sulfonyl) can be generated and, in certain instances, are more stable than expected on the basis of the electron-withdrawing properties of the group E.
Substitution mechanisms of halodiazirines are also of interest. It has been found via 15N labeling studies, that under appropriate conditions, either C-azidodiazirines, or N-azidodiazirines, can be formed as transient intermediates when halodiazirines react with azide ion. Substitution reactions can proceed via Sn2' or SRN1 mechanisms. The possible involvement of the isomeric and formally antiaromatic diazirinyl anions is under investigation.
Carbene chemistry, and the effect of neighboring silicon on carbenic centers, is also an area of current interest. We have generated a number of silicon containing carbenes, and these carbenes rearrange to give products that are indicative of a special interaction between silicon and the carbenic center. Silicon-activated hydrogen migration to carbenic centers is one of the facile processes that silyl carbenes undergo.
A novel β-thiolactam forming reaction has been discovered in our laboratory starting with readily available aryl esters. Subsequent ozonolysis allows preparation of a variety of b-lactam systems. The mechanism, scope, and obvious synthetic utility of this reaction are currently under investigation, as are carbocationic intermediates derived from such systems.