Professor Saunders' research has been in the general area of physical organic chemistry, with emphasis on elimination reactions and kinetic isotope effects. His current interest is the application of ab initio and valence bond calculations to the study of proton transfers and elimination reactions.
- Wu, W., Shaik, S. and Saunders, W. H. "VBSCF Calculations on the Bimolecular (E2) Elimination Reaction. The Nature of the Transition State," J. Org. Chem. 2010, 75, 3722-3728.
- Wu, W., Shaik, S. and Saunders, W. H. "Valence bond calculations on the transition state for the E2 reaction of fluoride ion with ethyl fluoride - Implications for the More O'Ferrall-Jencks diagram," Can. J. Chem. 2006, 84, 925.
- Wu, W., Shaik, S., Saunders, W. H., Jr. "Valence Bond Calculations on the Transition State for the E2 Reaction of Fluoride Ion with Ethyl Fluoride – Implications for the More O’Ferrall – Jencks Diagram," Can. J. Chem. 2005, 83, 1649.
- Wu, W., Shaik, S., Saunders, W. H., Jr. "A Comparative Study of Proton Transfer Reactions Between Simple Atoms or Groups by VB Methods," J. Phys. Chem. A 2002, 106, 11616.
- Saunders, W. H., Jr. "Heavy Atom Isotope Effects in Elimination Reactions. An Ab Initio Study," Crdatica Chimica Acta 2001, 74, 575-591.
- Harris, N.; Wei, W.; Saunders, W. H., Jr.; Shaik, S. "Nonperfect Synchronization in the Lowest Energy Path of Identity Proton Transfer Reactions Leading to Delocalized Anions. A VBSCF Study," J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2000, 122, 6754.
- Saunders, W.H., Jr. "Effects of the Leaving Group and of Ion Pairing on the Stereochemistry of Elimination Reactions," J. Org. Chem. 2000, 65, 681.