CCHF Research | Catalyst Design

Led by Justin Du Bois

The ability to exact control over product selectivity in molecules possessing multiple, disparate C–H bonds is arguably the defining challenge for C–H functionalization research. Over the past several years, CCHF researchers have had a leading role in establishing intrinsic patterns of C–H bond reactivity and in demonstrating the influence of substrate structure and functional group substitution on reaction outcomes.

Differential rates of C–H functionalization are evident in all molecules, but such dissimilarities are typically small and often insufficient to bias reactions towards a single product outcome. Accordingly, the ultimate objective in C–H functionalization research is to control product selectivity (i.e., chemo-, regio-, stereo-) through judicious reagent and catalyst selection. Within the collaborative environment of CCHF, the need for such solutions has become even more acute, as substrates designed by Center members en route to natural products and active pharmaceutical ingredients are ever-more complex.

A primary goal of CCHF is to produce a ‘guidebook’ for identifying catalyst, reagent(s), and reaction conditions that would enable specific control over site- and stereoselectivity in all types of C–H functionalization reactions, thus empowering chemists who wish to employ such technologies for streamlining chemical synthesis and/or for the rapid structural diversification of chemical entities. To realize this ambitious challenge, the Center is leveraging the talents of multiple research labs that span analytical, mechanistic, biochemical, inorganic, synthetic, materials, and theoretical chemistry along with chemical engineering.

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