Our laboratory develops a series of direct asymmetric C–C and C–heteroatom bond forming reactions that are catalyzed by a “frustrated” acid/base (Scheme 1a). This reaction concept was conceived based on the ability of frustrated Lewis pairs (FLPs) to activate unreactive substrates such as CO2 by cooperative acid/base interactions (Scheme 1b).
Our research program is centered on the development of polyfunctional Lewis pair catalysis for practical synthetic transformations with applications in drug discovery and development, and alternative energy. We will utilize these Lewis pair catalysts to enable reactions of inert substrates that cannot be activated efficiently by catalysts with a single activation center. Specifically, our initial efforts are focused on systematic identification of catalysts that will allow: a) transition metal-free asymmetric hydrogenation of various unsaturated substrates, b) reduction of CO2 to methanol, c) transition metal-catalyzed oxidative coupling of CO2 and olefins, and d) late-stage regioselective functionalization of C–H bonds in biopotent molecules.
Merkert Center, Boston College, 2609 Beacon Street, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467-3860
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