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 (see Adv. Synth. Catal. 2016 and J. Org. Chem. 2018). We also disclose unprecedented disconnections between important chemical motifs (see Org. Lett. 2017) and we apply deconvolution strategies to find optimal reaction conditions in a more efficient manner than classic trial and error screening (see 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.
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 (see Chem. Eur. J. 2017 and Chem. Eur. J. 2018). Additionally, we also focus on the self-assembly of multiple molecular building blocks in the presence of repulsive interactions (see Eur. J. Inorg. Chem. 2016).