The research in our laboratory is aimed at the development of new methodologies for synthetic organic chemistry. The central focus of the investigations is directed toward the use of efficient chiral catalysts that can deliver products in high enantiopurities, which is a prerequisite for the present-day pharmaceutical applications. Our work spans over three major areas: asymmetric organocatalysis, organometallic chemistry, and computational chemical modelling.
In particular, we are interested in new chemical reactions that can be promoted by two families of nucleophilic catalysts, namely, N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs) and phosphines. An important direction in our research is the development of reactions involving a cooperative (synergistic) catalysis by a NHC/phosphine and a transition metal. A combination of the well-known reactivities of organometallic species with the novel modes of activation offered by the nucleophilic catalysts can benefit from the best of both worlds, permitting reactions that are not currently possible. We extensively apply modern computational methods to investigate reaction mechanisms and origins of various selectivities displayed by catalytic processes, and to design new efficient chiral catalysts and fine-tune their structure.
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