Lee Silverberg, Ph.D.

Professor, Chemistry
Division Coordinator, STEM
Classroom Building, 113
Preferred method of contact is email.

Dr. Lee J. Silverberg is a professor of chemistry at Penn State Schuylkill. He teaches general chemistry and organic chemistry. His research is in the area of heterocyclic organic chemistry and he has involved many students in the work, including integrating a research project into the CHEM 213 (Organic Chemistry Lab) course. He has previously served as co-coordinator of the Honors Program and is still a member of the honors faculty, and currently serves as the division coordinator of Penn State Schuylkill's STEM programs.

He attended college at George Washington University in Washington. D.C., earning a B.S. in Chemistry with a minor in Journalism. He also was a four-year member of the varsity rowing team, and he still is active in the sport. He next went to the University of Delaware for a Ph.D. program, majoring in Organic Chemistry. He worked with two research advisors while there. From 1987-89 he trained with Prof. Richard F. Heck, doing palladium-catalyzed reactions of alkynes with vinyl and aryl halides. Prof. Heck later won the 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Upon Prof. Heck’s retirement, he went to the lab of Prof. Douglass F. Taber, where he studied ruthenium-catalyzed enantioselective hydrogenation of β-keto esters and completed a synthesis of natural product (+)-brefeldin A. He also was a teaching assistant in lab courses for 10 semesters.

After graduation in 1991, he went to work for Bristol-Myers Squibb (Syracuse, N.Y.) in process research and development. He later worked for Johnson Matthey Pharmaceutical Materials and Merck (N.J.) in the same capacity. His primary responsibilities were research, development, and large-scale implementation of synthetic manufacturing routes to active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), and he successfully developed processes for many APIs, both organic and inorganic. In 2009, Dr. Silverberg reentered academia, teaching one semester at Camden County College in New Jersey before joining Penn State Schuylkill in fall 2009.

Dr. Silverberg lives in Allentown with his wife and two daughters. They enjoy outdoor activities and their pets.

Grants and Awards

  • 2021 Penn State Schuylkill Award for Excellence in Research or Creative Accomplishments
  • 2020 Gordon Research Conferences' Predominantly Undergraduate Institution (PUI) Award, $600
  • 2017 Penn State Schuylkill Award for Excellence in Teaching, Pennsylvania State University, Schuylkill Haven, PA.
  • 2017 American Chemical Society Division of Organic Chemistry, Travel Award, $600.
  • 2016 Penn State Schuylkill Award for Excellence in Research or Creative Accomplishments, Pennsylvania State University, Schuylkill Haven, PA.
  • 2013 American Chemical Society Division of Organic Chemistry, Travel Award, $600.
  • 1995 Excellence Award, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Syracuse, NY.
  • 1991 Elected to Phi Lambda Upsilon National Chemistry Honor Society.
  • 1986 Byrne Thurtell Burns Memorial Award, for the graduating chemistry major who showed the greatest proficiency in organic chemistry as demonstrated by a written examination, George Washington University, Washington, DC.
  • 1985 Chemical Society of Washington Award for the outstanding junior chemistry major at George Washington University, Washington, DC.

Synthetic organic chemistry

Heterocyclic compounds


The following are selected publications authored and/or co-authored by Dr. Lee Silverberg:

L. J. Silverberg, “Three-Part Approach to Remote/Residential Organic Chemistry Lab During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” J. Chem. Educ. 2021, 98, 3898-3903.

L. J. Silverberg, T. K. Mal, C. N. Pacheco, M. L. Povelones, M. F. Malfara, A. F. Lagalante, M. A. Olsen, H. P. Yennawar, H. F. Sobhi, K. R. Baney, R. L. Bozeman, C. S. Eroh, M. J. Fleming, T. L. Garcia, C. L. Gregory, J. E. Hahn, A. M. Hatter, L. Johns, T. L. Klinger, J. Li, A. J. Menig, G. C. Muench, M. E. Ramirez, J.  Reilly, N. Sacco, A. Sheidy, M. M. Stoner, E. N. Thompson, S. Yazdani, “T3P-Promoted Synthesis of a Series of 2-Aryl-3-phenyl-2,3-dihydro-4H-pyrido[3,2-e][1,3]thiazin-4-ones and Their Activity against the Kinetoplastid Parasite Trypanosoma brucei,” Molecules, 2021, 26, 6099.  Invited for a special issue on “Organic Synthesis in Drug Discovery.” Featured in The ISHC Bulletin Nov. 2021, #44, 5.

M. F. Malfara, L. J. Silverberg, J. DiMaio, A. F. Lagalante, M. A. Olsen, E. Madison, M. L. Povelones, “2,3-Diphenyl-2,3-dihydro-4H-1,3-thiaza-4-one  heterocycles  inhibit growth and block completion of cytokinesis in kinetoplastid parasites ,” Mol. Biochem. Parasitol. 2021, 245, 111396.

L. J. Silverberg, “What is an Organic Substance?” Found. Chem. 2021, 23, 329-336.

L. J. Silverberg, “The Pandemic Defeated My CURE: Replacement with a Student Project of a Literature Review of the Syntheses of Small Molecule Drugs,” J. Chem. Educ. 2020, 97, 3450-3454.

L. J. Silverberg, C. Pacheco, D. Sahu, P. Scholl, H. F. Sobhi, H. G. Bradley, O. A. Cardenas, K. M. Gonzalez, J. M. Islam, E G. Kimmel, W. Li, K. C. Perhonitch, J. T. Pothering, M. E. Potts, M. E. Ramirez, H. E. Reppert, K. N. Shaffer, “T3P-Promoted Synthesis of a Series of Novel 2-Aryl-3-phenyl-2,3,5,6-tetrahydro-4H-1,3-thiazin-4-ones,” Tetrahedron Lett. 2020, 61(18), Article 151836.  

L. J. Silverberg, C. Pacheco, D. Sahu, P. Scholl, H. F. Sobhi, J. T. Bachert, K. Bandholz, R. V. Bendinsky, H. G. Bradley, B. K. Colburn, D. J. Coyle, J. R. Dahl, M. Felty, R. F. Fox, K. M. Gonzalez, J. M. Islam, S. E. Koperna, Q. J. Moyer, D. J. Noble, M. E. Ramirez, Z. Yang, “T3P-promoted synthesis of a series of novel 3-aryl-2-phenyl-2,3-dihydro-4H-1,3-benzothiazin-4-ones,” J. Heterocycl. Chem. 2020, 57, 1797-1805. 

L. J. Silverberg, Q. J. Moyer, “Chemistry of 1,3-thiazin-4-ones and their derivatives, 1995 - mid 2018,” Arkivoc, 2019, (i), 139-227.

L. J. Silverberg, J. Tierney, and K. C. Cannon, “Embedded Research in a Lower-Division Organic Chemistry Lab Course,” in Best Practices for Supporting and Expanding Undergraduate Research in Chemistry, R. Jones, B. Gourley, Eds.; American Chemical Society Symposium Series eBooks, Washington, D. C., 2018, pp. 65-79.

H. P. Yennawar, H. G. Bradley, K. C. Perhonitch, H. E. Reppert, and L. J. Silverberg, “Spontaneous resolution and crystal structure of (2S)-2-(3-Nitrophenyl)-3-phenyl-2,3,5,6-tetrahydro-4H-1,3-thiazin-4-one; crystal structure of rac-2-(4-Nitrophenyl)-3-phenyl-2,3,5,6-tetrahydro-4H-1,3-thiazin-4-one,” Acta Cryst., Sect. E: Crystallogr. Commun. 2018, E74, 454-457. A highlighted article.

L. J. Silverberg, J. Tierney, C. Pacheco, A. Lagalante, J. T. Bachert, J. A. Bayliff, R. V. Bendinsky, A. S. Cali, L. Chen, A. D. Cooper, M. J. Minehan, C. R. Mroz, D. J. Noble, A. K. Weisbeck, Y. Xie, and Z. Yang, “Synthesis and spectroscopic properties of a series of novel 2-aryl-3-phenyl-2,3-dihydro-4H-1,3-benzothiazin-4-ones,” Arkivoc 2016, (vi), 122-143. Featured in “Undergraduate Research Highlights” in SPUR: Scholarship and Practice of Undergraduate Research Fall 2017, 1 (1), 74-75.

L. J. Silverberg, J. Tierney, and K. C. Cannon, “Research at Predominantly Two-Year Campuses of Penn State,” in The Power and Promise of Early Research, D. H. Murray, S. O. Obare, J. H. Hageman, Eds.; American Chemical Society Symposium Series eBooks, Washington, D. C., 2016, pp. 83-118.

L. J. Silverberg, D. J. Coyle, K. C. Cannon, R. T. Mathers, J. A. Richards, and J. Tierney, “Azeotropic Preparation of a C-Phenyl N-Aryl Imine: An Introductory Undergraduate Organic Chemistry Laboratory Experiment,” J. Chem. Educ. 2016, 93, 941-944.

L. J. Silverberg, C. N. Pacheco, A. Lagalante, K. C. Cannon, J. T. Bachert, Y. Xie, L. Baker, and J. A. Bayliff, “Synthesis and Spectroscopic Properties of 2,3-Diphenyl-1,3-thiaza-4-one Heterocycles,” Int. J. Chem. (Toronto, ON, Can.) 2015, 7 (2), 150-162.

L. J. Silverberg and L. M. Raff, “Are the Concepts of Dynamic Equilibrium and the Thermodynamic Criteria for Spontaneity, Nonspontaneity, and Equilibrium Compatible?” J. Chem. Educ. 2015, 92, 655-659.

L. J. Silverberg, J. Tierney, and M. J. Bodek, “Use of Doceri Software for iPad in Online Delivery of Chemistry Content,” J. Chem. Educ. 2014, 91, 1999-2001.

L. J. Silverberg, J. M. Rabb, J. M. Reno, and G. He, “Cyclopropyl aziridines: solvolytic reactions of the N-tosylaziridines of (+)-2-carene and (+)-3-carene,” Heterocycl. Commun. 2014, 20, 193-199.

L. J. Silverberg, “Use of Doceri Software for iPad in Polycom and Resident Instruction Chemistry Classes,” J. Chem. Educ. 2013, 90, 1087-9.

L. J. Silverberg, "Synthesis of Cannabinoids," U.S. Patent 7,186,850, 3/6/2007.

L. J. Silverberg, T. M. Resnick, and M. L. Casner, "Uncatalysed Addition Reactions," U.S. Patent 6,867,335, 3/15/2005.

L. J. Silverberg, S. Kelly, P. Vemishetti, D. H. Vipond, F. S. Gibson, B. Harrison, R. Spector, and J. L. Dillon “A Crystallization-Induced Stereoselective Glycosidation Reaction in the Synthesis of the Anticancer Drug Etoposide,” Org. Lett. 2000, 2, 3281-3. Correction: Org. Lett. 2000, 2, 3953. Featured in Chem. Eng. News 2000, 78, 41 (Oct. 9), p. 12.

L. J. Silverberg, J. L. Dillon, P. Vemishetti, P. D. Sleezer, R. P. Discordia, K. B. Hartung, and Q. Gao, “Efficient Synthesis of the Anticancer Drug Etoposide-4’-Phosphate; The Use of Benzylic Ether-Protecting Groups on the Carbohydrate Segment,” Org. Process Res. Dev. 2000, 4, 34-42.

L. J. Silverberg, J. L. Dillon, and P. Vemishetti, "A Simple, Rapid and Efficient Protocol for the Selective Phosphorylation of Phenols with Dibenzyl Phosphite," Tetrahedron Lett.1996, 37, 771-4.

D. F. Taber, L. J. Silverberg, and E. D. Robinson, "Cyclopentane Construction with Control of Side Chain Configuration: Enantioselective Synthesis of (+)-Brefeldin A," J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1991, 113, 6639-45.

D. F. Taber and L. J. Silverberg, "Enantioselective Reduction of beta-Keto Esters," Tetrahedron Lett.1991, 32, 4227-30.

L. J. Silverberg, G. Wu, A. L. Rheingold, and R. F. Heck, "Palladium-Catalyzed Reactions of Vinyl Bromides and Disubstituted Alkynes: A New Synthesis of Fulvenes," J. Organomet. Chem. 1991, 409, 411-20.

W. Tao, L. J. Silverberg, A. L. Rheingold, and R. F. Heck, "Alkyne Reactions with Arylpalladium Compounds," Organometallics 1989, 8, 2550-9.

Ph.D., Organic Chemistry - University of Delaware, Newark, DE

B.S., Chemistry (Minor in Journalism) - George Washington University, Washington, D.C.