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Department of Chemistry

 
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.

Publications

A general carbonyl alkylative amination for tertiary amine synthesis.
R Kumar, NJ Flodén, WG Whitehurst, MJ Gaunt
– Nature
(2020)
581,
415
New Strategies for the Transition-Metal Catalyzed Synthesis of Aliphatic Amines.
A Trowbridge, SM Walton, MJ Gaunt
– Chem Rev
(2020)
120,
2613
Rapid Syntheses of (-)-FR901483 and (+)-TAN1251C Enabled by Complexity-Generating Photocatalytic Olefin Hydroaminoalkylation
D Reich, A Trowbridge, MJ Gaunt
– Angewandte Chemie - International Edition
(2020)
59,
2256
Catalytic C(sp3)–H bond activation in tertiary alkylamines
J Rodrigalvarez, M Nappi, H Azuma, NJ Flodén, ME Burns, MJ Gaunt
– Nat Chem
(2020)
12,
76
Carboxylate-assisted oxidative addition to aminoalkyl-Pd(II) complexes enables catalyzed C(sp3)-H arylation of alkylamines via distinct Pd(II)/Pd(IV) pathway
WG Whitehurst, JH Blackwell, GN Hermann, MJ Gaunt
– Angewandte Chemie - International Edition
(2019)
58,
9054
Streamlined Synthesis of C(sp(3))-Rich N-Heterospirocycles Enabled by Visible-Light-Mediated Photocatalysis
NJ Flodén, A Trowbridge, D Willcox, SM Walton, Y Kim, MJ Gaunt
– J Am Chem Soc
(2019)
141,
8426
Palladium-Catalyzed C(sp3)–H Bond Functionalization of Aliphatic Amines
C He, WG Whitehurst, MJ Gaunt
– Chem
(2019)
5,
1031
Palladium(II)-Catalyzed C(sp 3 )-H Activation of N,O-Ketals towards a Method for the β-Functionalization of Ketones
DKH Ho, J Calleja, MJ Gaunt
– Synlett
(2019)
30,
454
A Class of N-O-Type Oxidants To Access High-Valent Palladium Species
M Nappi, MJ Gaunt
– Organometallics
(2019)
38,
143
Mechanistic investigation into the C(sp3)–H acetoxylation of morpholinones
CS Buettner, D Willcox, BGN Chappell, MJ Gaunt
– Chem Sci
(2019)
10,
83
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Research Group

Research Interest Groups

Telephone number

01223 336318

Email address

mjg32@cam.ac.uk