Dr. Paul J. Chirik, Princeton University
Title: Catalysis with Earth Abundant Metals as an Enabling Tool for Chemical Synthesis
Abstract: Transition metal catalysis has revolutionized chemical synthesis. Reactions such as metal-catalyzed cross coupling, asymmetric hydrogenation and C–H functionaliza-tion have changed the way chemists approach bond constructions and ultimately expand molecular space. Our group has been studying catalytic transformations with earth-abudnant, first row transition metals that exploit the unique electronic struc-tures available to these elements that provide new reactivity or selectivity. My lecture will focus on the ability of these catalysts to solve important challenges in organic chemistry, especially directed toward drug synthesis. Transformations of interest include site-selective C–H functionalization that is governed by the ability of the metal catalyst to distinguish the electronic differences between various C–H bonds. Other efforts are directed toward methods to increase three dimensionality in drug molecules. Transformations such as C(sp2)–C(sp3) Suzuki-Miyaura cross coupling and hetero(arene) hydrogenation are of particular interest. The role of electronic structure and the mechanisms of these transformations will be highlighted through-out.