Research in the Wang group focuses on the development of novel methodologies for organic synthesis and applying our new methods in synthesizing valuable molecules, such as biologically active compounds. We are particularly interested in transition-metal catalysis to improve synthetic efficiency, reaction selectivity, and sustainability. Representative research projects are as follows
Radical-polar crossover in asymmetric synthesis
Radicals are highly reactive intermediates and thus enable quick access to molecular complexity under mild conditions (e.g., photochemical, and electrochemical conditions). However, the stereoselectivity control of radical reactions remains a long-standing challenge. Our group is interested in developing asymmetric radical-involved reactions in the “Radical-Polar Crossover” manner. Specifically, we focus on the elementary step of single electron reduction of alkyl radials with transition metal complex to affording an alkyl M complex, followed by carbon-carbon or carbon-heteroatom bond formations. We also aim to understand the fundamental mechanisms of these processes to expedite catalytic system development as well as potential synthetic applications.
Titanium, the second most abundant transition metal and generally nontoxic, is an attractive catalyst for reaction development. However, Ti-based redox catalysis is difficult due to the stability of Ti(IV) state. Our lab is particularly interested in developing transformations of readily available carboxylic derivatives, olefins, and alkynes via Ti(II)/Ti(IV) redox catalysis. We also aim to understand the fundamental mechanisms behind these processes to facilitate potential catalytic applications.