Thomas Colacot

Diligently pursuing unexpected results while trying to solve a problem and taking an approach of “one leading to another” has resulted in successful and interesting new technologies and new products.


In May 2018, I joined Millipore Sigma (business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany) as Director - Global Technology Innovation, R & D Fellow within the Chemistry business of Life Science sector.  Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany's 350 years legacy of applied research for the "pursuit of progress of people everywhere" was one of the primary factors that led me to make this decision.  Prior to joining Millipore Sigma, I worked at Johnson Matthey for 22 years, where I established and lead a successful Global R&D team in Homogeneous Catalysis. 

Innovation and creativity are the two corner stones of an organization that drive progress.  By combining my academic curiosity with industry/customer needs, I had been able to create and commercialize products and technologies for real-world applications such as development of life saving new and generic drugs and OLED materials for electronic applications. Diligently pursuing unexpected results while trying to solve a problem and taking an approach of “one leading to another” has resulted in successful and interesting new technologies and new products for improving the quality of life.

One of the major advantages of working at our company is that I do have the opportunity to be engaged in diverse areas of research.  However, this can also pose some challenges in identifying and focusing on viable projects from the R&D space, that can potentially become commercial technologies for real world applications.  Obtaining additional resources for testing and implementing new ideas or concepts beyond the scope of the existing projects can also be challenging. 

I am excited about the opportunity to further advance the innovation-based culture at our company which differentiates us from our competitors. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany has already started supporting disruptive technologies such as lab grown meat, artificial intelligence for drug synthesis, etc. My R & D vision for Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany is that it should be recognized as the number one science and technology based global company for improving the quality of life in a sustainable world. To do so, it is my goal to encourage scientists to be curious and intuitive and to take calculated risks, without compromising the business and customer expectations. Leveraging the internal innovation as well as partnership with academia and customers are vital for our company to succeed. Curiosity driven culture to generate intellectual property with publishing in peer reviewed journals will provide us visibility in the scientific community and will help us to connect with the customers’ technical group.

Diligently pursuing unexpected results while trying to solve a problem and taking an approach of “one leading to another” has resulted in successful and interesting new technologies and new products for improving the quality of life.

Thomas Colacot

R & D Fellow, Director – Global Technology Innovation, Millipore Sigma


Joined Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany: 2018

Key research fields and topics:

  • Homogeneous Catalysis with emphasis on cross-coupling, CH activation,hydrogenation, organic synthesis, ligands, catalyst screening, scale up,  flow chemistry, materials, process chemistry and scale up.

Prizes and awards:

  • Outstanding Researcher, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany (Millipore Sigma), 2018
  • Catalysis Club of Philadelphia Award (2017) for the significant contributions to the advancement of catalysis, 2017
  • Indian Institute of Technology, Madras 2016 IITM Distinguished Alumnus Award for technological innovations, 2016
  • Chemical Research Society of India’s 2016 CRSI medal for outstanding contributions to Chemical Sciences in the areas of homogeneous catalysis and Organometallics, 2016
  • International Precious Metal Institute’s 2015 IPMI Henry Alfred Award and medal sponsored the BASF for outstanding theoretical and experimental contributions to the science and technology of precious metals, 2015
  • American Chemical Society’s 2015 ACS Industrial Chemistry Award, 2015
  • Indian American Kerala Cultural and Civic Center Award (New York) for outstanding contributions and accomplishments in Applied Sciences, 2014
  • RSC Applied Catalysis Award and Medal by the Royal Society of Chemistry, London, 2012
  • Tristate Kerala Forum Philadelphia academic excellence award, 2012
  • St. Berchman’s and Assumption College Alumni –Chicago Chapter Annual Award, 2012

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CV & Scientific activities


Selected Patents (32 patents granted, 8 published and 14 pending)

  • Thomas J. Colacot, Andrew DeAngelis and Ruichan Chow, Pi-allyl complexes with coordinating anions PCT/GB2015/050835 and GB1504771.5. 
  • Andrew DeAngelis and Thomas J. Colacot, Pi-allyl complexes with non-coordinating anions PCT/GB2015/050837; and GB1504784.8
  • Smilovic Ivana Gazic, Carin Seechurn Thomas J. Colacot, Process for the preparation of substituted ketones and their applications in the synthesis of pharmaceutically active compounds. WO2012159981 A3; PCT/EP2012/059236
  • Thomas J. Colacot, Carin C. C Johansson Seechurn, Sebastien L. Parisel, Complexes, their manufacture and use.    PCT Int. Appl.  (2011), WO  2011161451 A1 20111229 CAN 156:99422 AN 2011:1680603
  • Thomas J. Colacot, Process for preparation of tris(dibenzylideneacetone) dipalladium(chloroform).    PCT Int. Appl.  (2011), WO 2011101665 A1 20110825 CAN 155:331722 
  • Process for the preparation of palladium(I) tri-tert-butylphosphine bromide dimer: Thomas J. Colacot, Mark W. Hooper, Gabriela A. Grasa, PCT Int. Appl.  (2011), WO  2011012889 A1 20110203CAN 154:197961  AN 2011:146217
  • Preparation of a metal complex: Thomas J. Colacot, Gabriela A. Grasa, Hongbo Li, PCT Int. Appl.  (2010) WO  2010128316 A1 20101111 CAN 153:632775 AN 2010:1402633
  • Process for preparation of platinum-group metal β-diketonate and phosphine complexes: Ann K. Keep, Simon Collard, Mark W. Hooper, Thomas J. Colacot, PCT Int. Appl. (2007), WO 2007029031 A1 20070315


  • New Trends in Cross Coupling: Theory and Applications, Editor - Thomas J. Colacot, Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, UK, (Print ISBN: 978-1-84973-896-5, 2015).
  • Organometallics in Process Chemistry (Topics in Organometallic Chemistry Series), Editors. Thomas J. Colacot and Vilvanathan Sivakumar, Springer (ISBN: 978-3-030-27961-5, 2019). Foreword by Phil Baran, Scripps.
  • Organometallic Chemistry in Industry – A Practical Approach. Editors. Thomas J. Colacot and Carin Seechurn-Johanson, Wiley (ISBN: 978-1-84973-896-5, Pub date: 03/09/2020). Foreword by Robert Grubbs, Caltech.

Selected Publications (out of over 100):

  • Eric D. Slack, Peter, D. Tancini and Thomas Colacot,* Process Economics and Atom Economy for Industrial Cross Coupling Applications via LnPd(0) Based Catalysts, Topics In Organometallic Chemistry, volume 2, Springer 2019 (in press).
  • Vilvanathan Sivakumar, Rahul A Watile and Thomas J Colacot,* Organometallics in Process Chemistry – An Historical Snapshot, Topics In Organometallic Chemistry, volume 2, Springer 2019 (in press).
  • Ben Gardner,  Carin Seechurn and Thomas Colacot, Industrial Mile-Stones in Organometallic Chemistry, Organometallic Chemistry in Industry: A Practical Approach, Wiley-VCH, 2020 work completed (in press).
  • Carin C. C. Johansson Seechurn, Ivana Gazic´ Smilovic´, Thomas Colacot, Antonio Zanotti-Gerosa, Zdenko Cˇasar, Development of concise two-step catalytic approach towards lasofoxifene precursor nafoxidine,  Bio. Med. Chem. 2018, 26, 2691–2697.
  • Alexandre A. Mikhailine, Gabriela A. Grasa Mannino, and Thomas J. Colacot*, Catalyst-Directed Chemoselective Double Amination of Bromo-chloro(hetero)arenes: A Synthetic Route toward Advanced Amino-aniline Intermediates, Org. Lett., 2018, 20 (8), pp 2301–2305.
  • Carin C. C. Johansson Seechurn, Thomas Sperger, Theresa. G. Scrase, Franziska. Schoenebeck and Thomas. J. Colacot*, Understanding the Unusual Reduction Mechanism of Pd(II) to Pd(I): Uncovering Hidden Species and Implications in Catalytic Cross-Coupling Reactions, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2017, 139, 5194−5200 (DOI: 10.1021/jacs.7b01110). This work was featured in the April 5 th issue of Chem Engg. News. Ref:
  • William A. Carole and Thomas J. Colacot*, Understanding Palladium Acetate from a User Perspective, Chem. Eur. J, 2016, 22, 7686 (with journal cover graphics – this work was featured in Chem & Engg. News in page 20, May 2 nd, 2016. Ref:
  • Peter G. Gildner, Andrew DeAngelis, and Thomas J. Colacot*, Palladium-Catalyzed N-Arylation of Cyclopropylamines Org. Lett., 2016, 18 (6), 1442–1445 DOI: 10.1021/acs.orglett.6b0037
  • William A. Carole, Jonathan Bradley, Misbah Sarwar and Thomas J. Colacot*  Can Palladium Acetate Lose Its “Saltiness”? Catalytic Activities of the Impurities in Palladium Acetate, Org. Lett., 2015, 17 (21), 5472–5475. DOI: 10.1021/acs.orglett. 5b02835
  • Thomas. J. Colacot, Richard F. Heck (1931-2015), Angew Chem. Int. Ed. 2016, 54, 15611-15612.
  • Peter G. Gildner and Thomas J. Colacot* Reactions of the 21st Century: Two Decades of Innovative Catalyst Design for Palladium-Catalyzed Cross-Coupling, Invited special article to honor my ACS award in Industrial Chemistry with Twitter promotion and cover graphics in Organometallics, 2015, 34 (23), 5497–5508. DOI: 10.1021/acs.organomet.5b00567
  • Reactions Andrew J. DeAngelis , Peter G. Gildner , Ruishan Chow , and Thomas J. Colacot*  Generating Active “LPd(0)” via Neutral or Cationic pi-Allylpalladium Complexes Featuring Biaryl/Bipyrazolylphosphines: Synthetic, Mechanistic and Structure-Activity Studies in Challenging Cross-Coupling J. Org. Chem., 2015, 80 (13), pp 6794–6813,  DOI: 10.1021/acs.joc.5b01005
  • Sudheesh T. Sivanandan, Ashna Shaji, Ibrahim Ibnusaud, Carin C. C. Johansson Seechurn, and Thomas J. Colacot*, Palladium-Catalyzed α-Arylation Reactions in Total Synthesis, Eur. J. Org. Chem, 2015,38-49 (with cover graphic selected – one of the most downloaded articles).
  • Carin C. C. Johansson Seechurn, Vilvanathan Sivakumar, Deepak Satoskar and Thomas J. Colacot*, Iridium-Catalyzed C−H Borylation of Heterocycles Using an Overlooked 1,10-Phenanthroline Ligand: Reinventing the Catalytic Activity by Understanding the Solvent-Assisted Neutral to Cationic Switch. Organometallics, 2014, 33, 3514−3522.
  • Xiaotao Pu, Hongbo Li and Thomas J. Colacot* Heck Alkynylation (Copper-Free Sonogashira Coupling) of Aryl- and Heteroaryl- Chlorides Using, Pd Complexes of t-Bu2(p-NMe2C6H4)P:  Understanding the SAR and Copper Effects. J. Org. Chem, 2013, 78, 568.
  • Pamela G. Alsabeh, Rylan J. Lundgren, Robert McDonald, Carin CC Johansson Seechurn, Thomas J. Colacot, and Mark Stradiotto An examination of the palladium/Mor-DalPhos Catalyst System in the context of selective ammonia monoarylation at room temperature. Chem. Eur. J. 2013, 19, 2131-2141.
  • Hongbo Li, Carin C. C. Johansson Seechurn and Thomas J. Colacot,* The Development of Preformed Catalysts for Cross-Coupling reactions, Beyond the 2010 Nobel Prize, ACS Catal. 2012, 2, 1147−1164. 
  • Carin C. C. Johansson Seechurn and Thomas J. Colacot* & Matthew O. Kitchingc and Victor Snieckus, Palladium-Catalyzed Cross-Coupling: A Historical Contextual Perspective to the 2010 Nobel Prize: Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2012, 51, 5062 – 5085
  • Carin C. C. Johansson Seechurn, Sebastien L. Parisel and Thomas J. Colacot* Air-Stable Pd(R-allyl)LCl (L= Q-Phos, P(t-Bu)3, etc) Systems for C-C/N Couplings:  Insight into the Structure -Activity Relationship and Catalyst Activation Pathway. J. Org. Chem., 2011, 76(19), 7918-32
  • Hongbo Li, Gabriela A. Grasa, and Thomas J. Colacot,* A Highly Efficient, Practical, and General Route for the Synthesis of (R3P)2Pd(0): Structural Evidence on the Reduction Mechanism of Pd(II) to Pd(0), Org. Lett. , 2010, 12, 3332-3333
  • Lensey L. Hill, Jason L. Crowell, Strudwick L. Tutwiler, Nicholas L. Massie, Corey C. Hines, Scott T. Griffin, Robin D. Rogers, Keven H. Shaughnessy, Gabriela A. Grasa, Carin C. C. Johnsson Seechurn, Hongbo Li, Thomas J. Colacot*, Joe Chou, and Christopher J. Wotlermann, Synthesis and X-ray Structure Determination of Highly Active Pd(II), Pd(I), and Pd(0) Complexes of Di(tert-butyl)neopentylphosphine (DTBNpP) in the Arylation of Amines and Ketones, J. Org. Chem., 2010, 75, 6477-6488.
  • Carin C.C. Johansson, Thomas J. Colacot, Metal catalyzed alpha arylation of carbonyl and related molecules: novel trends in C-C bond formation by C-H bond functionalization, Angew Chem. Int. Ed. Eng. 2010, 49(4), 676-707.
  • Gabriela A. Grasa and Thomas J. Colacot*, A Highly Practical and General Route for α-Arylations of Ketones Using Bis-phosphinoferrocene-Based Palladium Catalysts, Org. Process Res. & Dev., 2008, 522-529. 
  • Thomas J. Colacot* and Sebastien Parisel in Ferrocenes, Ligands, Materials and Biomolecules, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.: West Sussex, England, 2008; 117-140.
  • Thomas J. Colacot*, William A. Carole, Bruce A. Neide, Ajay Harad, Tunable Palladium-FibreCats for Aryl Chloride Suzuki Coupling with Minimal Metal Leaching, Organometallics, 2008, 27, 5605-5611. 
  • Gabriela A. Grasa and Thomas J. Colacot*, α-Arylation of Ketones Using Highly Active, Air-Stable (DtBPF)PdX2 (X = Cl, Br) Catalysts, Org. Lett., 2007, 9, 5489-5492. 

Selected Plenary /Invited Oral Presentations (out of 400):

  • Thomas J. Colacot, Emerging Technologies in Chemical Sciences with Emphasis on Catalysis, The 2nd World Summit on Advances in Science, Engineering and Technology, Indiana summit, IUPUI, Indianapolis, October 3-5, 2019 (keynote address).
  • Thomas J. Colacot, Emerging Technologies in Cross Coupling and C-H Activation, Emerging Trends in Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology Indore, India July 12-15, 2019 (invited talk).
  • Thomas J. Colacot, Understanding the Preformed Catalyst Activation Mechanism in Organic Synthesis, Organic Reactions and Processes, Gordon Research Conference, Easton, MA, July 15 - 20, 2018 (invited talk).
  • Thomas J. Colacot, Understanding the Subtle Differences of Precatalyst Activation, Balticum Organicum Syntheticum, Tallin, Estonia, 2018, 1-4 July 2018 (plenary talk). 
  • Thomas J. Colacot, Structure Activity Relationship of Homogeneous Catalysts in Organic Synthesis, Homogeneous Catalysis for Applied Organic Synthesis (CTAL, ORG, INOR) 255 th American Chemical Society Meeting, New Orleans, Mar 18 - Mar 22, 2018 (invited talk). 
  • Thomas. J. Colacot, How the Structure of the Catalyst is Related to its Activity in Organic Synthesis? Conference on Chemistry for Human Development ICCHD-2018 (January 8-12), Heritage Institute of Technology, Kolkata, India.
  • Thomas. J. Colacot, Structure Activity Relationship of Organometallic Complexes in Catalysis, Emerging Frontiers in Chemical Sciences (EFCS-2017), September 23-25, 2017, Farook Collage, Calicut (invited talk).
  • Thomas. J. Colacot, Understanding the reduction mechanism of Pd(II) to LnPd(0) (n = 1 and 2): Catalysts for organic synthesis, Herbert C. Brown Award for Creative Research in Synthetic Methods: Symposium in honor of Bruce H. Lipshutz,  253 rd American Chemical Society Meeting, San Francisco, April 2-5 (invited talk), 2017.
  • Thomas J. Colacot, Generating LnPd(0) Catalysts for 21st Century Organic Synthesis: Understanding the Reduction Mechanism of Pd(II) to LnPd(0) (n = 1 and 2). International Symposium on New Trends in Applied Chemistry (NTAC -2017) February,9-11 2017. S. H. College, Thevara, Cochin, Kerala, India (Key Note Address).
  • Thomas J. Colacot, Evolution in parallel: Cross-Coupling development and smart phone design, International Conference on Nature Inspired Chemical Trends, Organic Synthesis, September 19-20, 2016, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad, India (Invited talk)
  • Thomas J. Colacot, Generation of coordinatively unsaturated LPd(0) catalysts for 21 st century organic synthesis, 252 ACS National Meeting, Philadelphia, 2016 (Invited talk)
  • Thomas J. Colacot, Systematic investigation of the development of Ir precatalysts for C-H borylation, International Symposium on C-H Activation (ISCHA), May 30-June 2, 2016, University of Montreal, Canada, (Plenary talk)
  • Thomas J. Colacot, Efficient Generation of LPd(0) for challenging C-C and C-N bond forming processes, OPRD meeting organized by Scientific Update, March 7-8, 2016 Pheonix, AZ (Invited talk)
  • Thomas J. Colacot,  Advanced Cross Coupling Catalysts for the 21 st Century: Generation of 12 Electron Based LPd(0). 18th National Symposium in Chemistry (NSC-18), Chemical Research Society of India, February 4-7, 2016,  Chandigrah, India (CRSI 2016 Medal lecture
  • Thomas J. Colacot, Pd Catalyzed Cross-Coupling Technology for 21st Century Materials. International Conference on the materials for the millennium (MATCON 2016), January 14-16 at the Cochin University of Science and Technology, Cochin, India. (Plenary and K.K.M. Yusuff endowment lecture)
  • Thomas J. Colacot, Cross-Coupling Beyond 2010 Nobel Prize, International Symposium on Synthesis and Catalysis, September 2-4, 2015, Evora, Portugal (Plenary talk)
  • Thomas J. Colacot, New Trends in Cross-Coupling Catalysis in Industry and Academia, a one-day symposium organized in honor of Thomas Colacot in honor of his ACS award in industrial chemistry at the 249th ACS national meeting in Denver, CO 2015 in Denver, CO (Plenary talk)
  • Thomas J. Colacot, Understanding Cu Free Sonogashira Coupling, 4th International Symposium on Organic Synthesis and Drug Discovery, Xuzhu, China, May 23-25, 2014 (Plenary talk)
  • Thomas J. Colacot, Ir and Pd Catalyzed Borylations: Understanding the Structure Activity Relationship of the Catalysts,  Boron in the Americas Conference (BORAM XIV), Rutgers University, Newark, June 15-19, 2014 (Invited talk)
  • Thomas J. Colacot, Greener processes for Sonogashira couplings 247th ACS National meeting,  March 16-20, 2014, Dallas, Texas (Invited 45 min talk)
  • Thomas J. Colacot, Novel Trends in C-C Bond Formation by C-H Bond Functionalization, Conference of Slovak and Czech Organic Chemists, Bratislava, Slovakia, 2012. (Plenary Talk)
  • Thomas Colacot, Pd Catalyzed Cross- Coupling beyond the 2012 Nobel Prize, 14 th French American Chemical Society meeting, Nanteasket Beach Resort, Hull, MA June 10-14, 2012. (Invited Talk)
  • Thomas J. Colacot, Third Asian Conference on Coordination Chemistry (ACCC 3).Habitat Centre, New Delhi, India. October 17-20, 2011 (Keynote Talk)
  • Thomas J. Colacot, Sonogashira Coupling of Heteroaryl halides: Observation of the Reverse Electronic Effect, 2011 Heterocyclic Compounds Gordon Research Conference, Newport, RI, United States, June 26 – July 1, 2011 (Invited talk).
  • Thomas J. Colacot, Highly Active, Air-Stable Supported and Unsupported Homogeneous Catalysts for Challenging Coupling Reactions in Pharmaceutical Process, Abstracts, 40th Middle Atlantic Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Queens, NY, United States, May 17-21, 2008 (Invited talk). 
  • Thomas J. Colacot, Tunable Palladium-Phosphine Based Catalysts and Their Structure Activity Relationship in Cross Coupling Reactions, Gordon Research Conference on Organic Reactions & Processes July 13-18, 2008 (Invited talk).
  • Thomas J. Colacot, Highly Active, Air-Stable Pd Catalysts for Challenging Cross-Coupling Reactions, International Symposium on Organic Synthesis and Drug Development 2008 Nanjing, China, Oct 14-17, 2008 (invited talk).
  • Thomas J. Colacot, Unprecedented Pd-Phosphine Based Organometallics: Latest Trends in  Cross-Coupling Reactions, Symposium on Modern Trends in Inorganic Chemistry, Institute of Technology Madras, India, December 6 – 8, 2007 (Invited talk).
  • Thomas J. Colacot, Tunable Supported and Unsupported Palladium-Phosphine Based Catalysts and Their Structure Activity Relationship in Cross-Coupling Reactions, CRC Cross-Coupling Symposium - CPE Lyon, Lyon, France, September 25, 2007 (Invited talk).
  • Thomas J. Colacot, Highly Active Supported and Unsupported Homogeneous Tunable Catalysts for Challenging Coupling Reactions, ISHHC XII: International Symposium on Relations between Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Catalysis, University of Berkeley, CA, July 16- 20, 2007. (Plenary Talk)
  • Thomas J. Colacot, The sixth International Symposium on Catalysis in Multiphase Reactors (CAMURE-6) and the fifth International Symposium on Multifunctional Reactors (ISMR-5)- National Chemical Laboratory, Pune, India - January 14-17, 2007 (Keynote talk)