Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue
Ampofo Darko

Ampofo K. Darko

Assistant Professor


Dr. Darko’s research interests center on developing the scope of reactions involving strained molecules.  Specifically, he is interested in the ability of strained molecules to accelerate reactions and influence their stereochemical outcomes.  His group investigates this concept in the areas of organometallic catalyst design, cycloaddition reactions, and organocatalysis.


Dr. Darko received his B.S. in chemistry from Guilford College in 2004 and his Ph.D. in 2010 from the University of Florida, where he studied tungsten-catalyzed oxidative carbonylation of functionalized amines under the direction of Prof. Lisa McElwee-White. He then performed postdoctoral research with Professor Joseph Fox at the University of Delaware studying trans-cyclooctenes and their bioorthogonal reactivity with tetrazines. Darko joined the faculty at the University of Tennessee in 2014.


B.S., Guilford College (2004)
Ph.D., University of Florida (2010)


Zavala, C.; Darko, A., “Effect of Tethered, Axially Coordinated Ligands (TACLs) on Dirhodium(II,II) Catalyzed Cyclopropanation: A Linear Free Energy Relationship Study.” Journal of Organic Chemistry. 2022, 87, 6910-6917

Abshire, A.; Moore, D.; Courtney, J.; Darko, A., “Heteroleptic dirhodium(II,II) paddlewheel complexes as carbene transfer catalysts.” Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry. 2021, 19, 8886-8905.

Fussell, E.; Darko, A., “Adducts of Rhodium(II) Acetate and Rhodium(II) Pivalate with 1,8-Diazabicyclo[5.4.0]undec-7-ene.” Crystals 2021, 11, 517.

Cressy, D.; Zavala, C.; Abshire, A; Sheffield, W.; Darko, A., “Tuning Rh(II)-catalysed Cyclopropanation with Tethered Thioether Ligands.” Dalton Trans. 2020, 49, 15779-15787.

Sheffield, W.; Abshire, A.; Darko, A., “Effect of Tethered, Axial Thioether Coordination on Rhodium(II)-Catalyzed Silyl-Hydrogen Insertion.” European Journal of Organic Chemistry. 2019, 6347-6351.

Anderson, B. G.; Cressy, D.; Patel, J. J.; Harris, C. F.; Yap, G. P. A.; Berry, J. F.; Darko, A., “Synthesis and Catalytic Properties of Dirhodium Paddlewheel Complexes with Tethered, Axially Coordinating Thioether Ligands.” Inorganic Chemistry. 2019, 58, 1728-1732.

Darko, A.; Boyd, S. J.; Fox, J. M., “Large Scale Flow Photochemical Synthesis of Functionalized trans-Cyclooctenes Using Sulfonated Silica Gel.” Synthesis. 2018, 50, 4875-4882.

Darko, A.; Wallace, S.; Dmitrenko, O.; Machovina, M. M.; Mehl, R. A.; Chin, J. W.; Fox, J. M., “Conformationally Strained trans-Cyclooctene with Improved Stability and Excellent Reactivity in Tetrazine Ligation.” Chemical Science. 2014, 5, 3770-3776.

Díaz, D. J.; Darko, A. K.; McElwee-White, L.*, “Catalytic Oxidative Carbonylation of Diamines to Cyclic Ureas,” in New Trends in Heterocyclic Chemistry. Gautam, D.C.; Gautam, N.; Gautam, V., Eds.  RBSA Publishers: Jaipur, 2012, 22-33.

Zhang, L; Darko, A. K.; Johns, J. I.; McElwee-White, L., “Catalytic Oxidative Carbonylation of Aryl Amines to Ureas Using W(CO)6/I2 as Catalyst.” European Journal of Organic Chemistry. 2011, 6261-6268.

Darko, A. K.; Curran, F. C.; Copin, C.; McElwee-White, L., “Carbonylation of Functionalized Diamine Diols to Cyclic Ureas: Application to Derivatives of DMP 450.” Tetrahedron.  2011, 67, 3976-3983.

Díaz, D. J.; Darko, A. K.; McElwee-White, L., “Transition Metal-Catalyzed Oxidative Carbonylation of Amines to Ureas.” European Journal of Organic Chemistry. 2007, 4453-4465.

Additional Information

Lab Address: Buehler Hall 602, 603, 604

Ampofo Darko

Contact Information