Alex Speed

Associate Professor


Related Information

Mailing Address: 
Department of Chemistry
Dalhousie University
6243 Alumni Crescent
P.O. Box 15000
Halifax NS B3H 4R2

Research Topics:
  • Catalysis
  • Organic chemistry
  • Enantioselective Synthesis
  • Ligand Design
  • Main group chemistry
  • Transition metals



  • BSc, Dalhousie
  • PhD, Harvard
  • PDF, Boston College

Research Interests:

Research in the Speed group focuses on synthesis and catalysis mediated by complexes of main group elements. Focused transformations involve activation of small molecules, followed by the addition of the activated molecule to unsaturated functional groups. Our targeted transformations either increase the generality and efficiency of known transformations, or develop new chemistry to explore previously underexplored chemical structures. We are currently investigating enantioselective transformations, which have applications in the synthesis of biologically active molecules.

Selected Awards and Honours:      

  • Thieme Chemistry Journal Awardee for 2017
  • First Place Graduate Poster in Organic Division, 94th CSC Conference
  • Roche Excellence in Chemistry Award
  • NSERC PGS-D Fellowship
  • NSERC Julie Payette Graduate Fellowship
  • Dalhousie University Silver Medal 2006
  • Sepracor Award, Best Overall Oral Presentation at 2006 APICS Chemistry Conference
  • Dalhousie Chancellor’s Scholarship 2002-2006

Selected Publications:

  • Tien, Chieh-Hung; Adams, Matt R.; Ferguson, Michael J.; Johnson, Erin; Speed, A. W. H. “Hydroboration Catalyzed by 1,2,4,3-Triazaphospholenes.” Org. Lett., 2017, 19, 5565-5568.
  • Adams, Matt R.; Tien, Chieh-Hung; Huchenski, Blake S. N.; Ferguson, Michael J.; Speed, Alexander W. H. "Diazaphospholene Precatalysts for Imine and Conjugate Reductions." Angewandte Chemie International Edition. 2017, 56, 6268-6271.
  • Shen, Xiao.; Nguyen, Thach T.; Koh, Ming Joo; Xu, Dongmin; Speed, Alexander W. H.,Schrock, Richard R.; Hoveyda, Amir H. "Kinetically E-selective macrocyclic ring closing metathesis." Nature. 2017, 541, 380-385
  • Huchenski, Blake S. N.; Adams, Matt R.; McDonald, Robert; Ferguson, Michael J.; Speed, Alexander, W. H. "Synthesis and Catalytic Reactivity of Bis(amino)cyclopropenylidene Carbene–Borane Adducts." Organometallics. 2016, 35, 3101-3104.
  • Speed, Alexander W. H.; Mann, Tyler J.; O’Brien, Robert V. III; Schrock, Richard R.;Hoveyda, Amir H. “Catalytic Z-Selective Cross-Metathesis in Complex Molecule Synthesis: A Convergent Stereoselective Route to Disorazole C1.” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 16136 – 16139
  • Mann, Tyler J.; Speed, Alexander W. H.; Schrock, Richard R.; Hoveyda, Amir H. “Catalytic Z- Selective Cross-Metathesis with Secondary Silyl- and Benzyl-Protected Allylic Ethers: Mechanistic Aspects and Applications to Natural Product Synthesis.” Angewandte Chem. Int. Ed. 2013, 52, 8395 –  8400.
  • Marcoux, David; Bindschädler, Pascal; Speed, Alexander W. H.; Chiu, Anna;  Pero, Joseph, E.; Borg, George A.;  Evans, David A. “Effect of Counterion Structure on the Rates and Diastereoselectivities in a,b- Unsaturated Iminium-Ion Diels- Alder Reactions.” Org. Lett. 2011, 13, 3758 – 3761.
  • Evans, David A.; Welch, Dennie S.; Speed, Alexander W. H.; Moniz, George A.; Reichelt, Andreas.; Ho, Stephen.  “An Aldol-Based Synthesis of (+)-Peloruside A, A Potent Microtubule Stabilizing Agent.” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2009, 131, 3840 – 3841.
  • Pincock, J.A.; Speed, A.W.H. “Aromatic character and resonance stabilization energy of substituted cyclopentadienyl and indenyl cations.” Can. J. Chem., 2005, 83, 1287 – 1298.