Research

SUSTAINABLE TRANSITION METAL CATALYSIS
We are focused on the activation and further functionalization of long-time believed inert chemical bonds with the ultimate goal to reach highly functionalized molecules from readily available substrates in a straightforward manner. For that, we develop unique step- and atom-economy methodologies based on transition metal catalysts with an important emphasis on sustainability and green chemistry. In particular, C-H bond functionalizations are targeted in combination with industrially relevant oxidation and hydrogenation reactions (Adv. Synth. Catal. 2016, J. Org. Chem. 2018, J. Org. Chem. 2019). We also disclose unprecedented disconnections between important chemical motifs (Org. Lett. 2017, Synthesis 2018) and we apply deconvolution strategies to find optimal reaction conditions in a more efficient manner than classic trial and error screening (Eur. J. Org. Chem. 2018). For the new reactions that we develop, we study in detail the reaction mechanisms taking place by means of different spectroscopic and analytical tools such as NMR, UV-vis, IR, X-ray diffraction studies.

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SUPRAMOLECULAR CATALYSIS AND SUPRAMOLECULAR CHEMISTRY
Inspired from Nature, where weak interactions are responsible for the unique efficiency of metalloenzyme’s activity and selectivity, we study the behavior of substrates able to interact via reversible interactions with appropriately designed supramolecular catalysts. As such, new issues reminiscent from natural selection processes that cannot be addressed by traditional approaches will be tackled; for example substrates (or products) inhibition, substrate selectivity, etc (Chem. Eur. J. 2017 and Chem. Eur. J. 2019). Additionally, we also focus on the self-assembly of multiple molecular building blocks in the presence of repulsive interactions (Eur. J. Inorg. Chem. 2016) and how weak interactions can influence the environmentally important hydrogen evolution reaction (Catal. Sci. Technol. 2019).

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