Dr. Megan Brennan's interests include the development of organic chemistry lab courses that give students hands-on opportunities to explore chemistry while reinforcing and building upon concepts learned in lecture classes. She aims for her labs to bring chemistry to life, and to afford students a chance to have fun and experience a taste of scientific discovery.

While studying chemistry at Lafayette College (B.S. 2002), Dr. Brennan worked on the preparation of triazaphenanthrenes and the Oxa–Pictet–Spengler reaction of 1-(3-furyl)alkan-2-ols. She completed her doctoral work at Stanford (Ph.D. 2008), conducting her thesis research in palladium asymmetric allylic alkylation under the advisement of Professor Barry Trost. During her postdoctoral research with Professor Scott Miller at Yale University, she investigated the use of peptides containing a thiazole side chain for use in acyl anion chemistry. She joined the teaching staff at University of California, Berkeley in 2010 before coming returning to Stanford in 2011 to spearhead the development of a new summer organic chemistry sequence, a comprehensive course designed for pre-meds, offering an entire year of organic chemistry in nine weeks.

Dr. Brennan also acts as the liaison to the chemistry majors, to promote events with faculty in both the academic and social aspect: providing an environment that allows students to be comfortable and able to learn, while helping them take advantage of every opportunity that Stanford offers.

Dr. Brennan's current research is in the development classroom experiments that bring cutting edge industrial and academic research into the undergraduate laboratory experience.

Academic Appointments

Administrative Appointments

  • Lecturer, University of California, Berkeley (2010 - 2011)

Honors & Awards

  • Linus Pauling Teaching Award, Stanford University (2007)
  • Novartis Graduate Fellowship in Organic Chemistry, Stanford University (2005)
  • Charles A. Dana Scholar Recipient, Lafayette College (2002)
  • Pi Mu Epsilon, Lafayette College (2002)
  • William Forris Hart '27 Chemistry Prize, Lafayette College (2002)
  • American Chemical Society Division of Polymer Chemistry Award, American Chemical Society (2001)
  • American Chemical Society Prize -Lehigh Valley Chapter Phi Lamda Upsilon, American Chemical Society, Lehigh Valley Chapter (2001)
  • Chemical Rubber Company Freshman Achievement Award, Lafayette College (2000)
  • Cornell Family Scholarship Fund Recipient, Lafayette College (2000)
  • Eugene P. Chase Phi Beta Kappa Prize, Lafayette College (2000)
  • Excel Scholar, Lafayette College (1999-2002)
  • Marquis Scholar, Lafayette College (1999-2002)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Director, Chemistry Summer Program Stanford (2011 - Present)
  • Member, Undergraduate Studies & Curriculum Commitee (2011 - Present)
  • Advisory Board Member, Women in STEM (2015 - 2015)
  • Faculty College Team Member, Stanford University (2013 - 2014)

Professional Education

  • BS, Lafayette College, Heterocyclic chemistry (2002)
  • PhD, Stanford University, Palladium asymmetric catalysis (2008)
  • Postdoc, Yale University, Organocatlalysis (2010)

All Publications

  • Organocatalytic Ring-Opening Polymerization of Trimethylene Carbonate To Yield a Biodegradable Polycarbonate JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL EDUCATION Chan, J. M., Zhang, X., Brennan, M. K., Sardon, H., Engler, A. C., Fox, C. H., Frank, C. W., Waymouth, R. M., Hedrick, J. L. 2015; 92 (4): 708-713

    View details for DOI 10.1021/ed500595k

    View details for Web of Science ID 000353368000023

  • Asymmetric Syntheses of Oxindole and Indole Spirocyclic Alkaloid Natural Products SYNTHESIS-STUTTGART Trost, B. M., Brennan, M. K. 2009: 3003-3025
  • Palladium-catalyzed regio- and enantioselective allylic alkylation of Bis allylic carbonates derived from Morita-Baylis-Hillman adducts ORGANIC LETTERS Trost, B. M., Brennan, M. K. 2007; 9 (20): 3961-3964


    Morita-Baylis-Hillman diene adducts are used as substrates in the palladium-catalyzed asymmetric allylic alkylation reaction with oxygen and carbon nucleophiles in good regio- and enantioselectivity.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/o1701585b

    View details for Web of Science ID 000249697800026

    View details for PubMedID 17803313

  • Palladium asymmetric allylic alkylation of prochiral nucleophiles: Horsfiline ORGANIC LETTERS Trost, B. M., Brennan, M. K. 2006; 8 (10): 2027-2030


    [reaction; see text] The asymmetric synthesis of the oxindole alkaloid horsfiline is described. A palladium-catalyzed asymmetric allylic alkylation (AAA) is used to set the spiro(pyrrolidine-oxindole) stereogenic center.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/ol060298j

    View details for Web of Science ID 000237420200017

    View details for PubMedID 16671773

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2565574

  • Preparation of triazaphenanthrenes ORGANIC PREPARATIONS AND PROCEDURES INTERNATIONAL Nutaitis, C. F., Brennan, M. 2004; 36 (4): 367-370
  • The oxa-Pictet-Spengler reaction of 1-(3-furyl)alkan-2-ols SYNTHESIS-STUTTGART Miles, W. H., Heinsohn, S. K., Brennan, M. K., Swarr, D. T., Eidam, P. M., Gelato, K. A. 2002: 1541-1545