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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.


Organocatalytic C–H Bond Arylation of Aldehydes to Bis-heteroaryl Ketones
QY Toh, A McNally, S Vera, N Erdmann, MJ Gaunt – Journal of the American Chemical Society (2013) 135, 3772
Oxidative Dearomatization and Organocatalytic Desymmetrization
AE Williamson, MJ Gaunt – Asymmetric Synthesis II: More Methods and Applications (2013) 383
Copper-catalyzed alkene arylation with diaryliodonium salts
RJ Phipps, L McMurray, S Ritter, HA Duong, MJ Gaunt – Journal of the American Chemical Society (2012) 134, 10773
New strategy fot the synthesis of highly substituted alkenes via copper-catalysed difunctionalization of alkynes
Enantioselective α-arylation of N-acyloxazolidinones with copper(II)-bisoxazoline catalysts and diaryliodonium salts.
A Bigot, AE Williamson, MJ Gaunt – Journal of the American Chemical Society (2011) 133, 13778
Recent developments in natural product synthesis using metal-catalysed C-H bond functionalisation
L McMurray, F O'Hara, MJ Gaunt – Chemical Society reviews (2011) 40, 1885
Palladium(II)-catalyzed c-h bond arylation of electron-deficient arenes at room temperature
MJ Tredwell, M Gulias, NG Bremeyer, CC Johansson, BS Collins, MJ Gaunt – Angew Chem Int Ed Engl (2011) 50, 1076
Amine directed Pd( ii )-catalyzed C–H bond functionalization under ambient conditions
B Haffemayer, M Gulias, MJ Gaunt – Chem. Sci. (2010) 2, 312
Catalytic enantioselective assembly of complex molecules containing embedded quaternary stereogenic centres from simple anisidine derivatives
R Leon, A Jawalekar, T Redert, MJ Gaunt – Chemical Science (2011) 2, 1487
Palladium(II)-Catalyzed C--H Bond Arylation of Electron-Deficient Arenes at Room Temperature.
MJ Tredwell, M Gulias, N Gaunt Bremeyer, CC Johansson, BS Collins, MJ Gaunt – Angew Chem Int Ed Engl (2010) 50, 1076
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Research Group

Research Interest Group

Telephone number

01223 336318
01223 336364 (shared)

Email address