Total Synthesis

The group has extensive interests in the total synthesis of bioactive natural products, exploiting catalysis in key transformations, and using cascade processes to form complex frameworks. Many of the molecules we target either feature, or use, unsaturated motifs (alkenes, alkynes, allenes) in their construction.

Recent examples include two approaches to rubriflordilactone A, a member of the Schisandrafamily of natural products. We exploited a palladium-catalyzed cyclization of a bromoenediyne to form the 7,6,5-CDE ring natural product core, and also a cobalt-catalyzed alkyne cyclotrimerization approach, both routes converging on a late stage intermediate. We are currently addressing the sister compound, rubriflordilactone B – results to be reported soon! 

Other natural products under study, or recently completed, include the resolvins, leukotriene B3, and dictamnol. We are also collaborating with Prof Greg Challis (University of Warwick) to explore questions in the biosynthesis of polyketide natural products isolated by genome mining, in particular focusing on the stambomycin family, discovered by Challis in 2011.