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Discovery and rational design of new reactions using C-H activation

Our program centers around the discovery of catalytic carbon-carbon and carbon-heteroatom bond forming reactions based on C-H activation. Target transformations are selected to enable 1) the use of simple and abundant starting materials such as aliphatic acids, amines and alcohols, and 2) disconnections that drastically shorten the synthesis of a drug molecule or a major class of biologically active compounds. Ultimately, we hope to develop catalytic reactions to parallel enzymatic transformations in terms of reactivity and selectivity. To achieve this goal, our research activities are directed towards the following main aspects: C-H activation, sustainable catalysis, asymmetric catalysis and synthetic applications.

Major components of training for students are organometallic chemistry, asymmetric catalysis (synthesis and characterization of organometallic complexes as catalysts or intermediates; ligand design for chiral control or acceleration) and organic synthesis (in the context of drug discovery and natural product synthesis). We collaborate extensively with computational groups via NSF center (Professor Jamal Musaev, Emory University, Professor Ken Houk, UCLA), as well as pharmaceutical and agrochemical industry (BMS and Syngenta) and Aldrich.

For recent perspective and introduction of our research program, click here to view a lecture by professor Jin-Quan Yu in 43rd National Organic Chemistry Symposium 2013.

For a recent interview of professor Jin-Quan Yu by the MacArthur Foundation, click here.

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