Ojala Group Researchers

Undergraduate researchers get hands-on experience.

The Ojala Group

X-ray Crystallography; Understanding of the Structures of Biomedically Relevant Molecules (e.g. carbohydrates and their derivatives, small peptides, and potential antiviral agents); Studies of the Solid-state Structures of Benzylideneanilines, Benzylideneazines, and Selected Fluorinated Compounds; Solid-state Study of Strict Isosteres (chemically different molecules having virtually identical space-filling requirements).

Our designation for pairs of chemically different molecules with the same numbers and kinds of atoms (isomeric molecules) in which two major parts of the molecule are joined by a bridge of atoms, the exchange of atoms between positions in the bridge relating one isomer to the other. Our goal is to co-crystallize pairs of these isomers to create new solid materials. We are therefore examining these compounds by single-crystal X-ray diffraction to find isostructural pairs (having the same solid-state molecular packing arrangement), which are most likely to co-crystallize readily. Few examples of isostructural pairs have been reported in the literature, but our work has now uncovered many potentially co-crystallizable pairs. Crystal structures of selected compounds are determined through the assistance of the X-ray Crystallographic Laboratory (XCL) of the Department of Chemistry of the University of Minnesota.   Data sets collected at the XCL are transmitted to the Structure Determination Laboratory of the University of St. Thomas Chemistry Department, where undergraduate research students have the opportunity to solve and refine the crystal structures by means of the SHELXTL software package.   Students in the Structure Determination Laboratory are also granted access to the Cambridge Crystallographic Database in support of their research projects.  

If you are interested in joining the research group, contact Dr. Ojala at whojala@stthomas.edu


Recent Publications

  1. Beard, L. E.; Ojala, C. R.; Kassekert, K. J.; Ojala, W. H.  “Molecular Packing Preferences in ‘Bridge-flipped’ Isomeric Aryl-2-pyridylhydrazones and 2-Pyridinecarboxaldehyde Arylhydrazones,” CrystEngComm 2016, 18, 7036-7048.

  2. Ojala, W. H.  “Peggy Etter and Polymorphism:  Highlights of an Enduring Scientific Legacy,” Cryst. Growth Des. 2016, 16, 1144-1148. 

  3. Ojala, W. H.; Balidemaj, B.; Johnson, J. A.; Larson, S. N.; Ojala, C. R. “Molecular Symmetry and Fluorine-Containing Supramolecular Synthons as Structure-Differentiating Agents in Some ‘Bridge-Flipped’ Isomeric bis-Benzylideneanilines,” CrystEngComm, 2014, 16, 7226-7235.

  4. William H. Ojala, Trina M. Arola, Ann M. Brigino, Jeremy D. Leavell, and Charles R. Ojala (2012) Competing Intermolecular Interactions in Some ‘Bridge-Flipped’ Isomeric Phenylhydrazones,; Acta Crystallographica, Section C:  Crystal Structure Communications 68,o270-o278.

Recent Presentations

  1. Ojala, W. H.; Lystad, K. M.; Smieja, J. M.; Fermanich, J. M.; Ojala, C. R. “Nitrile-Halogen Interactions in Some Bridge-Flipped Isomeric Benzylideneanilines,” 23rd Congress and General Assembly of the International Union of Crystallography, Montreal, Canada, August 5-12, 2014.
  2. Ojala, W. H. and Herlitzke, B. J. “Solid-state intermolecular interactions in 3-chlorobenzaldoxime and 3-fluorobenzaldoxime: Hydrogen bonding vs. halogen bonding” Abstracts of Papers, 247th ACS National Meeting, Dallas, TX March 2014.

Current and Past Funding

Dr. Ojala and his students gratefully acknowledge the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund for financial support of their work.