Skip to main content

Versatile and Environmentally Friendly New Reaction Methodologies for Synthetic Organic Chemistry with Application to Natural Product Synthesis


Enantioselective catalysis is the most important frontier of synthetic organic chemistry today. As nature uses enzymes to catalyze highly stereoselective reactions, it was long assumed that large and complex structures are essential to attain high enantioselectivity. However, it has now been illustrated by MacMillan and others that small molecule organic catalysts can compete with the enantioselectivity and reactivity levels of enzymes, omitting the need for highly toxic organometallic catalysts or “strong” Lewis acids. The availability of enantiopure organic chemicals as well as the academic, industrial, environmental and economic benefits of organocatalysis has shown the importance of this field of research. The combination of more than one chemical transformation into a cascade sequence is also an expanding area of research due to the reduction in cost, energy and waste. The proposed outgoing phase project would further the development of a new enantioselective organocatalytic method, within the pioneering research group of Prof. David MacMillan at Princeton. The MacMillan group have consistently been at the forefront of organocatalysis research, and thus far have pioneered over 30 catalytic asymmetric transformations of immense practicality and synthetic utility. The return phase project would highlight the importance of domino reaction sequences in organic synthesis today, with the implementation of a 3-step cascade in the total synthesis of an anti-cancer molecule. The mobility, importance of the research topic and high profile collaboration between 2 world-class research institutes would increase scientific excellence and provide opportunity to widely advertise participation in Marie Curie actions. Overall, a highly motivated European scientist would benefit greatly from both phases whilst developing many new skills. Important networks of international communication would be established, providing a platform for further collaborations in the future.

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call


YO10 5DD York North Yorkshire
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 172 488,50
Administrative Contact
David Hudson (Mr.)