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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S02011X/1
Principal Investigator: Larrosa, Professor I
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: University of Manchester, The
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 May 2019 Ends: 31 October 2022 Value (£): 479,276
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Catalysis & Applied Catalysis Chemical Synthetic Methodology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
05 Dec 2018 EPSRC Physical Sciences - December 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Catalytic C-H functionalisation is an emerging area of research that has the potential for revolutionising the way chemists make molecules. These new synthetic tools aim at transforming any C-H bond in an organic molecule into any other functionality with complete control, much like one builds models of molecules using plastic balls and sticks. Having a full set of catalysts to perform any desirable modifications in any conceivable molecule is the ultimate aim of the field. This would open a new dawn for molecular sciences, by allowing the straightforward preparation of most molecules, thus accelerating development of pharmaceuticals, sensors, agrochemicals, and organic materials, as well as molecular biology (and chemical biology), contributing to increasing our understanding of biological interactions at the molecular level.

In order to reach this objective, we need to develop novel catalysts and strategies that allow selecting and distinguishing a particular C-H bond from the many others present in a molecule. The selected bond then needs to be broken ('activated') and a different group installed. Furthermore, the catalysts need to be mild and chemoselective, which means that they should not affect any other sections of the molecule as side effects. This is particularly challenging, as C-H bonds are generally much stronger than many common functional groups in molecules.

Our research will investigate the creation of a set of powerful catalysts, based on ruthenium, which can carry out C-H activation with exquisite selectivity, allowing the transformation of one C-H bond in a complex molecule without affecting any other parts of the molecule. While most common catalysts require high temperatures, these catalysts will operate at room temperature, not only facilitating their use on delicate molecules but also providing energy savings. These catalysts will be useful to synthesise new molecules from scratch. Even more importantly, these catalysts will allow the transformation of complex known molecules into new ones in a controlled way (late stage functionalisation), allowing for example the easy modification of current pharmaceuticals in order to modulate their activity, toxicity, side effects...

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Organisation Website: http://www.man.ac.uk