Anita Mattson

Anita Mattson
Anita Mattson
Assistant Professor
Divisional Affiliation: Organic
Office: 4040 Evans Laboratory
Phone: 614-247-7931


Anita Mattson received her B.S. from Northern Michigan University in 2002 where she studied polarity reversal catalysis in the context of radical reactions with Professor Frankie Ann McCormick.  As a graduate student at Northwestern University she joined the group of Professor Karl Scheidt and developed new thiazolium-based strategies for acyl anion addition reactions.  In 2007 she completed her Ph.D. and became an NIH postdoctoral fellow in Professor Michael Crimmins’ group at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she investigated a highly convergent approach toward hemibrevetoxin B.  Mattson joined the faculty of The Ohio State University in 2009 as an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry. 

Research Overview

Synthetic Methods, Organic Catalysis, Natural Product Synthesis

Research in the Mattson Group is centered on new method development and complex molecule synthesis.  One key focus of our research is the preparation of important synthetic building blocks using new transformations catalyzed by small organic molecules.  Of particular interest is the development of reactions catalyzed by organic molecules through non-covalent interactions.  

New Classes of Non-Covalent Catalysts.  Reactions catalyzed by small organic molecules through non-covalent interactions are emerging as useful strategies to construct important synthetic building blocks.  Our studies include the design and development of new classes of non-covalent catalysts.  Recently, we have introduced boronate ureas and silanediols as two new families of hydrogen bond donor catalysts.

Unique Reactivity Patterns of Hydrogen Bond Donors.  Recent progress in the area of non-covalent catalysis has demonstrated that hydrogen bond donors are excellent catalysts for a number of interesting transformations. To date, the development of processes catalyzed through hydrogen-bonding interactions has mainly focused on activating appropriate functional groups contained within electrophiles.  The success observed with this single type of transformation suggests a huge potential exists to develop new reaction manifolds in which hydrogen bond donors catalyze operations through entirely different mechanisms.  Our investigations will include developing unique reactivity patterns of hydrogen-bonding catalysts that will result in new and efficient methods to access valuable compounds with important medicinal applications.  

Synthesis and Study of Bioactive Targets. New discoveries in the area of chemical synthesis are critical for the advancement of medicine and improvement of human health. Investigations into the total syntheses of naturally occurring bioactive compounds have a number of advantages including: the discovery of new chemical reactions to enable more rapid and improved access to pharmaceutically-relevant compounds, identification of new drug candidates and the development of more potent and selective treatments.  We will focus on the total syntheses of naturally-occurring molecules that can be explored as potential therapeutic agents.



  • Auvil, T. J.; Schafer, A. G.; Mattson, A. E. “Design Strategies for Enhanced Hydrogen Bond Donor Catalysts” Eur. J. Org. Chem. 2014, accepted.
  • So, S. S.; Mattson, A. E. “Enantioselective N–H Insertion/Arylation Reactions of Nitrodiazoesters” Asian J. Org. Chem. 2014, accepted. 
  • Nickerson, D. M.; Angeles, V. V.; Mattson, A. E. “Urea Activation of Nitrimines: A Mild, Metal-Free Approach to Sterically Hindered Enamines” Org. Lett. 2013, 15, 5000-5003. 
  • Schafer, A. G.; Wieting, J. M.; Fisher, T. J.; Mattson, A. E. “Chiral Silanediols in Anion Binding Catalysis” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2013, 52, 11321-11324.
  • Auvil, T. J.; So, S. S.; Mattson, A. E. “Double Arylation of Nitrodiazoesters via a Transient N–H Insertion Organocascade” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2013, 52, 11317-11320.        
  • Hardman, A. M.; So, S. S.; Mattson, A. E. “Urea Catalyzed Construction of Oxazinanes” Org. Biomol. Chem., 2013, 11, 5793-5797. 
  • Nickerson, D. M.; Angeles, V. V.; Auvil, T. J.; So, S. S.; Mattson, A. E. “Internal Lewis Acid Assisted Ureas: Tunable Hydrogen Bond Donor Catalysts” Chem. Comm. 2013, 49, 4289-4291
  • So, S. S.; Mattson, A. E. “Urea Activation of a-Nitrodiazoesters: An Organocatalytic Approach to N­–H Insertion Reactions” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 147, 8798-8801.
  • Nickerson, D. M.; Mattson, A. E. “Transition Metal and Hydrogen Bond Donor Hybrids: Catalysts for the Activation of Alkylidene Malonates” Chem. Eur. J. 2012, 18, 8310-8314.
  • So, S. S.; Auvil, T. J.; Garza, V. G.; Mattson, A. E. “Boronate Urea Activation of Nitrocyclopropane Carboxylates” Org. Lett. 2012, 14, 444-447.
  •  Auvil, T. J.; Mattson, A. E. “Internal Lewis Acid Assisted Benzoic Acid Catalysis” Synthesis 2012, 44. 
  • Schafer, A. G.; Wieting, J. M.; Mattson, A. E. “Silanediols: A New Class of Hydrogen Bond Donor Catalysts” Org. Lett. 2011, 13, 5228-5232.
  • So, S. S.; Burkett, J. A.; Mattson, A. E. “Internal Lewis Acid Assisted Hydrogen Bond Donor Catalysis” Org. Lett. 2011, 13, 716-719