Chemistry Faculty College of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley
Research in my group is primarily aimed toward the development of catalysts and catalytic reactions and methods for organic synthesis. Ultimately, we are interested in using these methods to address problems in the synthesis of complex molecules possessing interesting structural, biological and physical properties. As such, our research program spans the areas of organic synthesis, catalysis, and organometallic chemistry. Two mechanistically distinct applications of complexes with metal-ligand multiple bonds are illustrative of our approach. First, we envision a new approach to catalysis utilizing transition metal-ligand pi-bonds to activate sigma-bonds towards addition reactions. We are also examining metal-ligand and ancillary ligand combinations with the ultimate goal of developing enantioselective versions of these reactions. The concept of employing complexes containing metal-ligand multiple bonds as bifunctional catalysts for sigma-bond activation represents a dramatic shift from the traditional applications of metal-oxo complexes as catalysts for atom transfer (epoxidations, aziridinations and dihydroxylation) and for functional group oxidations. Second, we are developing metal-dioxo complexes as catalysts for three-component cycloadditions in which the oxo ligand is one of the partners. We are applying these cycloaddition reactions to the synthesis of natural products such as kallolide A (anti-inflammatory and cytotoxic properties).
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