Berit Olofsson

Berit Olofsson


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Works at Department of Organic Chemistry
Telephone 08-674 72 64
Visiting address Svante Arrhenius Väg 16 C, plan 6
Room A 653
Postal address Kemiska sektionen 106 91 Stockholm

About me

Berit Olofsson was born in Sundsvall, Sweden, in 1972. She studied Chemical Engineering at LuTH (Luleå) and LTH (Lund), and got her MSc in 1998 after a project work at Akzo Nobel Central Research in Arnhem, The Netherlands.

She performed her PhD studies 1998-2002 at Stockholm University (SU) and later at KTH (Stockholm) under the guidance of Prof. Peter Somfai. The PhD project dealt with asymmetric, divergent synthesis of vicinal amino alcohols via vinylepoxides and vinylaziridines.

She subsequently went to Bristol University, UK for a post doc with Prof. Varinder K. Aggarwal in 2003-2004. The project started out as a total synthesis of (-)-Epibatidine, and was later widened to include methodology studies on alfa-arylation of ketones. Returning to Sweden, she became assistant supervisor in the group of Prof. J.-E. Bäckvall at SU.

Berit started her independent career in 2006, when she got a position as Assistant Professor at SU. She became "Docent" in March 2008, and got a permanent position as Associate Professor (Lektor) in 2009. She was promoted to Professor in 2013, and spent 3 months in Stellenbosch, South Africa as a STIAS Fellow (2014 - 2015). She became the Deputy Dean of Chemistry in 2017, and is since 2019 the Dean of Chemistry.


More than 20 courses on basic, intermediate, advanced and graduate student level, both as lecturer and as course responsible/examiner. Has organized several novel courses for graduate students. Was the examiner of all degree projects at the department for several years.


Currently course responsible & examiner for Advanced organic synthesis (KO7003) and Organic chemistry II (KO3005).




- Development of Efficient Synthetic Methodology for Hypervalent Iodine Reagents
- Development of Metal-Free Application Areas for Hypervalent Iodine Reagents
- Application of Developed Methodology in Total Synthesis of Natural Products

Some of our most cited publications:

Frithjof C. Küpper,* Martin C. Feiters, Berit Olofsson, Tatsuo Kaiho, Shozo Yanagida, Michael B. Zimmermann, Lucy J. Carpenter, George W. Luther III, Zunli Lu, Mats Jonsson and Lars Kloo    
Commemorating two centuries of iodine research: An interdisciplinary overview of current research
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.  201150, 11598-11620. Link  (>200 citations)

Nazli Jalalian, Eloisa E. Ishikawa, Luiz F. Silva Jr. and Berit Olofsson*
Room Temperature, Metal-Free Synthesis of Diaryl Ethers with Use of Diaryliodonium Salts 
Org. Lett. 
2011, 13, 1552-1555. Link     (>140 citations)

Eleanor A. Merritt and Berit Olofsson*
Diaryliodonium salts – from Obscurity to Fame
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 200948, 9052-9070. Link  (>650 citations)

Marcin Bielawski, David Aili and Berit Olofsson*
Regiospecific One-Pot Synthesis of Diaryliodonium Tetrafluoroborates from Arylboronic Acids and Aryl Iodides
J. Org. Chem. 200873, 4602-4607. Link   (>190 citations)

Marcin Bielawski, Mingzhao Zhu and Berit Olofsson*
Efficient and General One-Pot Synthesis of Diaryliodonium Triflates: Scope and Limitations
Adv. Synth. Catal. 2007349, 2610-2618. Link  (>260 citations)



A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2018. Nibadita Purkait (et al.). Angewandte Chemie International Edition 57 (35), 11427-11431

    A transition metal-free N-arylation of primary and secondary amines with diaryliodonium salts is presented. Both acyclic and cyclic amines are well tolerated, providing a large set of N-alkyl anilines. The methodology is unprecedented among metal-free methods in terms of amine scope, the ability to transfer both electron-withdrawing and electron-donating aryl groups, and efficient use of resources, as excess substrate or reagents are not required.

  • 2018. Piret Villo, Gabriella Kervefors, Berit Olofsson. Chemical Communications 54 (64), 8810-8813

    Reactions of secondary thioamides with diaryliodonium salts under basic, transition metal-free conditions resulted in chemoselective S-arylation to provide aryl thioimidates in good to excellent yields. Equimolar amounts of thioamide, base and diaryliodonium salt were sufficient to obtain a diverse selection of products within short reaction times. Reactions with thiolactams delivered N-arylated thioamides in good yield at room temperature.

  • 2017. Elin Stridfeldt (et al.). Chemistry - A European Journal 23 (53), 13249-13258

    A mechanistic study of arylations of aliphatic alcohols and hydroxide with diaryliodonium salts, to give alkyl aryl ethers and diaryl ethers, has been performed using experimental techniques and DFT calculations. Aryne intermediates have been trapped, and additives to avoid by-product formation originating from arynes have been found. An alcohol oxidation pathway was observed in parallel to arylation; this is suggested to proceed by an intramolecular mechanism. Product formation pathways via ligand coupling and arynes have been compared, and 4-coordinated transition states were found to be favored in reactions with alcohols. Furthermore, a novel, direct nucleophilic substitution pathway has been identified in reactions with electron-deficient diaryliodonium salts.

  • 2016. Gergely L. Tolnai, Ulf J. Nilsson, Berit Olofsson. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 55 (37), 11226-11230

    Novel methodology for O-functionalization of carbohydrate derivatives has been established using bench-stable and easily prepared iodonium(III) reagents. Both electron-withdrawing and electron-donating aryl groups were introduced under ambient conditions and without precautions to exclude air or moisture. Furthermore, the approach was extended both to full arylation of cyclodextrin, and to trifluoroethylation of carbohydrate derivatives. This is the first general approach to introduce traditionally non-electrophilic groups into any of the OH groups around the sugar backbone. The methodology will be useful both in synthetic organic chemistry and biochemistry, as important functional groups can be incorporated under simple and robust reaction conditions in a fast and efficient manner.

  • 2016. Marcus Reitti, Piret Villo, Berit Olofsson. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 55 (31), 8928-8932

    A transition-metal-free, mild, and highly regioselective synthesis of nitroarenes from arenes has been developed. The products are obtained in a sequential one-pot reaction by nitration of iodine(III) reagents with two carbon ligands, which are formed in situ from iodine(I). This novel concept has been extended to formation of aryl azides, and constitutes an important step towards catalytic reactions with these hypervalent iodine reagents. An efficient nitration of isolated diaryl-iodonium salts has also been developed, and the mechanism is proposed to proceed by a [2,2] ligand coupling pathway.

  • 2016. Elin Stridfeldt (et al.). Chemistry - A European Journal 22 (45), 16066-16070

    A novel type of hypervalent iodine(III) reagents, vinylbenziodoxolones (VBX), has been synthesized in a one-pot reaction from 2-iodobenzoic acid. VBX is bench stable, has been thoroughly characterized and the cyclic structure is supported by X-ray analysis. The reactivity of VBX was investigated in vinylation of nitrocyclohexane, and delivered vinylated products with opposite regioselectivity compared to acyclic vinyl(aryl) iodonium salts. The reagents could become a powerful tool in vinylation reactions under both metal-free and metal-catalyzed conditions.

  • 2016. Erik Lindstedt, Elin Stridfeldt, Berit Olofsson. Organic Letters 18 (17), 4234-4237

    An efficient and transition-metal-free method is presented to access tertiary alkyl aryl ethers by arylation of tertiary alcohols with ortho-substituted diaryliodonium salts. The scope covers cyclic and acyclic aliphatic, benzylic, allylic, and propargylic tertiary alcohols as well as primary and secondary fluorinated alcohols. The methodology gives access to alkyl aryl ethers of previously unprecedented steric congestion. Furthermore, the versatility of the developed procedure was demonstrated by arylation of the pro-drug mestranol.

  • 2009. Eleanor A. Merritt, Berit Olofsson. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 48 (48), 9052-9070

    The recent groundbreaking developments in the application of diaryliodonium salts in cross-coupling reactions has brought this class of previously underdeveloped reagents to the forefront of organic chemistry. With the advent of novel, facile, and efficient synthetic routes to these compounds, many more applications can be foreseen. Herein we provide an overview of the historical and recent advances in the synthesis and applications of diaryliodonium salts.

Show all publications by Berit Olofsson at Stockholm University

Last updated: April 23, 2019

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