Current Research

Our research group focuses on the development and mechanistic study of transition metal-catalyzed reactions for the formation of new carbon-carbon and carbon-heteroatom bonds. We are particularly interested in using the unique reactivity of late transition metals to engineer reactions for new and selective bond construction.

A critical challenge for synthetic chemists is control of the regio-, diastereo-, and enantioselectivity of organic transformations. Our group is currently developing a general strategy for controlling these elements through the use of an exchangeable directing group (represented as the boxed “Ligand” in the scheme below). Though we aim to develop methods that are broadly applicable, a specific preliminary goal is the design of directing groups that allow for unusual modes of reactivity in the metal-catalyzed functionalization of olefins. To us, the ideal directing group is one that binds reversibly to organic substrates, so that it can be employed in catalytic quantities and obviate the additional steps needed for its incorporation or removal. Both exciting and challenging, the key is to identify ligand constructs that undergo rapid exchange with both the starting material and product functional groups (FG), yet at the same time promote high efficiency and longevity for a given catalyst.