Dr. Grotjahn received a B.A. in Chemistry from Reed College in Portland Oregon. After graduation, he worked at Syntex Research in Palo Alto before returning to academia as a Ph.D student. He received a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry with K. Peter C. Vollhardt at University of California, Berkley. There he discovered the ability of cobalt catalysts to add two alkynes to an aromatic ring (the 2,3-bond of indole). This work ultimately culminated (after several more co-workers’ efforts) in a formal total synthesis of strychnine.
Following completion of his Ph.D, Douglas became a NSF-NATO postdoctoral fellow with Karl-Heinz Dötz in Marlburg, Germany where he worked on chromium carbene complexes.
From 1990–1997 he was an assistant professor at Arizona State University, starting research in ketene and bio-organometallic chemistry. Since then, he has been at San Diego State University and became Professor in 2002, working on novel catalysis and organic synthesis, among other areas.
Dr. Grotjahn’s interests span organic and inorganic chemistry, catalysis and mechanisms, with emphasis on challenging problems: currently in green chemistry and clean energy.