Claire Castro

Claire Castro


Part-Time Faculty • Faculty Emeritus

(415) 422-6069 Harney Science Center 320


After receiving her bachelor's in botany from UC Berkeley in 1982, Claire Castro loafed around the East Bay working in used book and record stores and going to a lot of punk/alternative music shows. After several years of selling, stocking, reading a gazillion books and seeing the Dead Kennedys and Flipper one too many times, Claire realized she missed science-chemistry in particular. She ventured southward to UCLA and in 1993, received her PhD in organic synthesis under Professor Michael E. Jung. Her dissertation work on the synthesis of nucleoside analogs earned her the prestigious Saul Winstein Dissertation Year Award. After a short stint as a lecturer and post-doctoral scholar at UCLA, Claire returned to the Bay Area by joining the faculty at USF in 1994.

At USF, Claire teaches in the organic chemistry curriculum. Her enthusiasm and effectiveness in teaching resulted in her being the recipient of the 1999-2000 USF Distinguished Teaching Award.

Her research focuses on using computational tools to solve organic chemistry problems. She and her collaborator/husband were co-recipients of the 2006-2007 USF Distinguished Research Award for their recent contributions to fields of Möbius aromaticity and dynamic processes in annulenes. Their research program involves working with undergraduate students and is supported by the National Science Foundation and the ACS Petroleum Research Fund.

Castro Lab

PhD, University of California, Los Angeles
Selected Publications

[USF undergraduate students in bold]

Castro, C.; Karney, W. L.; "Heavy-Atom Tunneling in Organic Reactions," Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 202059, 8355-8366. (Minireview)

J. K. Arbitman, C. S. Michel, C. Castro,* W. L. Karney,* "Calculations Predict That Heavy-Atom Tunneling Dominates Möbius Bond Shifting in [12]- and [16]Annulene," Org. Lett. 2019, 21, 8587-8591.

C. S. MichelP. P. LampkinJ. Z. ShezafJ. F. Moll, C. Castro,* W. L. Karney,* "Tunneling By 16 Carbons: Planar Bond Shifting in [16]Annulene," J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019141, 5286-5293. 

S. Luo, A. J. Kuhn, I. Castano, C. Castro, and W. L. Karney,* "Hydrogen Shifts in Aryl Radicals and Diradicals: The Role of m-Benzynes," J. Org. Chem. 2018, 83, 314-322.

E. E. Irace, E. Brayfindley, G. A. Vinnacombe, C. Castro,* and W. L. Karney,* "Stone–Wales Rearrangements in Hydrocarbons: From Planar to Bowl-Shaped Substrates," J. Org. Chem. 2015, 80, 11718-11725.

M. B. Pastor, A. J. Kuhn, P. T. Nguyen, M. V. Santander, C. Castro,* W. L. Karney,* “Hydrogen Shifts and Benzene Ring Contractions in Phenylenes,” J. Phys. Org. Chem2013, 26, 750-754. (invited article for special issue on ISRIUM 2012).

M. V. Santander, M. B. Pastor, J. N. Nelson, C. Castro*, W. L. Karney,* "Hückel and Möbius Bond-Shifting Routes to Configuration Change in Dehydro[4n+2]annulenes," J. Org. Chem. 2013, 78, 2033-2039 (invited article for Howard Zimmerman Memorial Issue).

C. Castro,* W.L.Karney,* Mechanisms and Möbius Strips: Understanding Dynamic Processes in Annulenes" (mini review), Journal of Physical Organic Chemistry, 2012, 25, 611-730.

M. V. Santander, M. B. Pastor, J. N. Nelson, C. Castro, W. L. Karney, Hückel and Möbius Bond-Shifitng Routes to Configuration Change in Dehudro[4n+2]annulenes, J. Org. Chem., 2012 Article ASAP, DOI:10.1021/jo302072p

L. A. Januar, V. Huynh, T. S. Wood, C. Castro,* W. L. Karney,* "Dehydro- [12]annulenes: Structures, Energetics, and Dynamic Processes," J. Org. Chem., 2011, 76, 403.

T. Okoronkwo, P. Nguyen, C. Castro,* W. L. Karney,* "[14]Annulene: Cis/Trans Isomerization via Two-Twist and Nondegenerate Planar Bond Shifting and Möbius Conformational Minima," Org. Lett., 2010, 12, 972.

M. Braten, M. G. Gutierrez, C. Castro,* W. L, Karney,* "[12]Annulene Radical Anions Revisited: Evaluation of Structure Assignments Based on Computed Energetic and Electron Spin Resonance Data," J. Org Chem., 2008, 73, 8745-8754.

C. Castro,* W. L. Karney, E. Noey, K. P. C. Vollhardt,* "Competing Isomerizations of [12]Annulenes: Diels Alder Reaction vs. Electrocyclization," Org. Lett., 2008, 10, 1287.

M. B. Braten, C. Castro,* R. Herges,* F. Köhler, W. L. Karney,* "The [12]Annulene Global Minimum," J. Org. Chem., 2008, 73, 1532-1535.

J. F. Moll, R. P. Pemberton, M. G. Gutierrez, C. Castro,* W. L. Karney,* "Configuration Change in [14]Annulene Requires Möbius Antiaromatic Bond Shifting," J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2007, 129, 274-275.

R. P. Pemberton, C. M. McShane, C. Castro,* W. L. Karney,* "Dynamic Processes in [16]Annulene:  Möbius Bond-Shifting Routes to Configuration Change," J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2006, 128, 16692-16700.

C. Castro,* W. L. Karney,* C. M. McShane, and R. P. Pemberton, "[10]Annulene: Bond Shifting and Conformational Mechanisms for Automerization," J. Org. Chem., 2006, 71, 3001-3006.

C. Castro,* W. L. Karney,* M. A. Valencia, C. M. H. Vu, R. P. Pemberton, "Möbius Aromaticity in [12]Annulene: Cis-Trans Isomerization via Twist-Coupled Bond Shifting," J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2005, 127, 9704-9705.

C. Castro,* W. L. Karney,* C. M. H. Vu, S. E. Burkhardt, M. A. Valencia, "Computational Evaluation of the Evidence for Tri-trans-[12]Annulene," J. Org. Chem., 2005, 70, 3602-3609.

C. Castro,* Z. Chen, C. S. Wannere, H. Jiao, W. L. Karney,* M. Mauksch, R. Puchta, N. J. R. van Eikema Hommes, P. v. R. Schleyer,* "Investigation of a Putative Möbius Aromatic Hydrocarbon. The Effect of Benzannelation on Möbius [4n]Annulene Aromaticity," J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2005, 127, 2425-2432.

Awards & Distinctions

Saul Winstein Dissertation Year Award

1999-2000 USF Distinguished Teaching Award

2006-2007 USF Distinguished Research Award