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Overview of Research Areas in The Young Lab

Carbon Dioxide-Mediated C–H Activation

Our lab has pioneered the use of carbon dioxide to achieve site selective C–H activation. Early indications are that carbon dioxide actually plays multiple roles in these reactions. Current research in our group aims to better understand how and why these reactions work, as well as to expand the scope of chemical disconnections that can be achieved on various heteroatom-containing substrates by addition of carbon dioxide and transition metal catalysts.

Supramolecular Scaffolds for Catalysis

A major push in our lab is to use supramolecular scaffolds, particularly robust solid-state species known as metal organic frameworks (MOFs), to support unconventional catalysts. We're especially interested in kinetic stabilization of reactive low valent, low coordinate transition metal catalysts, improving catalytic efficiency while lowering the production cost of these catalysts. Our ultimate goal is to develop cheaper and more sustainable routes to new ligands with Buchwald-ligand efficiency that are easier to scale-up and are more likely to be adopted by industry.

Strategies for Remote C–H Activation

A new area in our group is to develop new remote or distal functionalizations of unactivated C–H bonds. To do this, we will target unconventional strategies for how directing groups interact with a catalyst to achieve site-selective C–H functionalization. These approaches are anticipated to have significant impact on drug discovery by allowing facile late stage functionalization of complex substrates, as well as for more sustainable synthesis of polymer precursors from renewable feedstocks.