Research

New Strategies for Catalysis

Our research program focuses on the development of new synthetic methodologies utilizing homogeneous catalysts. We also seek to study reaction mechanisms involved in catalysis, which will allow us to design new catalysts, optimize their structures, and apply their functions to key challenges in organic chemistry. The study of superior catalysts will also facilitate the development of new sustainable strategies in target molecule synthesis.

1. Design of Homogeneous Catalysts

Switchable catalysts offer the possibility to selectively and adaptively activate organic molecules in a regio- and stereocontrolled manner. We guide our rational design of new catalyst scaffolds with computational and analytical studies, enabling us to develop structures with defined 3D architectures that can be manipulated by simple external stimuli. The resultant catalysts will then be utilized to rapidly diversify molecules for biological testing, including for the identification of new antiviral agents.

2. Optimization of Catalyst Structures

The optimization and prediction of catalytic activity in homogeneous catalysis remains challenging due to the many variables that need to be controlled, all of which influence each other. These subtle, and yet complex, effects are exacerbated in examples where multiple different organometallic catalysts react within the same mixture. We apply tools from physical organic chemistry and data science to develop new strategies for catalyst optimization and to uncover the mechanisms of complicated catalytic reaction sequences.

3. Applying Catalysts to Key Bond Formations

Molecular catalysts provide cost-effective and sustainable routes to synthesize target organic molecules. Our approach to studying reaction mechanisms will allow us to design new catalyst systems for forging key carbon–carbon and carbon–heteroatom bonds. Target reactions span the upscaling of feedstock chemicals to the late-stage asymmetric functionalization of complex molecules, using bifunctional catalysts and/or activation through photo- and electrocatalytic strategies.

Interested? Join our team!