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Professor Matthew Gaunt

Portrait of mjg32

New Catalytic Strategies for Chemical Synthesis

Despite the changing face of chemistry, the importance of synthesis - the ability to generate molecules in a controlled fashion - has not diminished. However, the increasingly complex synthetic problems being posed by nature, medicine and materials demand new reactivity concepts and strategies in order to meet these challenges.


Our group is interested in the development of new catalytic strategies for chemical synthesis that engage novel reactivity concepts to enable the rapid generation of architecturally complex molecules and natural products. One of our key aims is to be able to construct natural products from simple building blocks in a single step, without the need for reactivity inducing functional groups and with the ability to control the stereochemistry.

In this way, we hope to be able to develop a chemo-catalytic equivalent to Nature's biosynthetic machinery that will enable us to build any molecule we want. Our approach to this is focussed on three main research programmes:

(A) metal catalyzed C-H bond functionalization,

(B) catalytic asymmetric synthesis using small molecule organic catalysts,

(C) cascade strategies for natural product synthesis.

In addition to this, many of the molecules that we are able to synthesise have interesting biological properties, and so we are also able to develop chemical biology applications from our synthetic chemistry projects.


Enantioselective Cu-Catalyzed Arylation of Secondary Phosphine Oxides with Diaryliodonium Salts toward the Synthesis of P-Chiral Phosphines.
R Beaud, RJ Phipps, MJ Gaunt
– Journal of the American Chemical Society
Continuous-Flow Synthesis and Derivatization of Aziridines through Palladium-Catalyzed C(sp 3 )−H Activation
J Zakrzewski, AP Smalley, MA Kabeshov, MJ Gaunt, AA Lapkin
– Angew Chem Int Ed Engl
The total synthesis of K-252c (staurosporinone) via a sequential C–H functionalisation strategy
JC Fox, RE Gilligan, AK Pitts, HR Bennett, MJ Gaunt
– Chem. Sci.
Rapid Generation of Complex Molecular Architectures by a Catalytic Enantioselective Dearomatization Strategy
AE Williamson, T Ngouansavanh, RDM Pace, AE Allen, JD Cuthbertson, MJ Gaunt
– Synlett
A steric tethering approach enables palladium-catalysed C–H activation of primary amino alcohols
J Calleja, D Pla, TW Gorman, V Domingo, B Haffemayer, MJ Gaunt
– Nature Chemistry
Ligand-Enabled Catalytic CH Arylation of Aliphatic Amines by a Four-Membered-Ring Cyclopalladation Pathway
C He, MJ Gaunt
– Angew Chem Int Ed Engl
Mechanistic Insights into the Palladium-Catalyzed Aziridination of Aliphatic Amines by C–H Activation
AP Smalley, MJ Gaunt
– Journal of the American Chemical Society
Callipeltosides A, B and C: Total Syntheses and Structural Confirmation
JR Frost, CM Pearson, TN Snaddon, RA Booth, RM Turner, J Gold, DM Shaw, MJ Gaunt, SV Ley
– Chemistry
Enantioselective and Regiodivergent Copper-Catalyzed Electrophilic Arylation of Allylic Amides with Diaryliodonium Salts
E Cahard, HPJ Male, M Tissot, MJ Gaunt
– Journal of the American Chemical Society
Copper-Catalyzed Oxy-Alkenylation of Homoallylic Alcohols to Generate Functional syn-1,3-Diol Derivatives
D Holt, MJ Gaunt
– Angewandte Chemie - International Edition
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Research Group

Research Interest Groups

Telephone number

01223 336318
01223 336364 (shared)

Email address