The selective introduction or modification of functional groups in complex molecules has been a longstanding challenge in catalysis. Our group has developed practical methods for the catalytic functionalization of C-H bonds with main group reagents, which led us to a general strategy to use one C-H bond functionalization process to form a range of products. This research has led us to discover additional catalysts and reagents for the functionalization of complex molecules.
In addition to developing reactions of small-molecule catalysts, we have sought to combine the reactivity of catalysts based on noble metals with the selectivity and evolutionary potential of enzymes. To do so, we have created artificial heme enzymes in which the iron of the heme has been replaced with noble metals to create catalysts for reactions that have not been catalyzed by natural or mutant heme enzymes.
This lecture will present recent directions of research in our group toward discovering selective reactions of organic molecules with noble metal complexes and noble-metal enzymes. The design and selection, as well as the intimate mechanism, of catalysts and catalytic reactions for these selective functionalization processes will be presented.