ERC Starting Grant

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ERC Starting Grant, Ideas Program (ERC-SG-PE5).

Area of Activity: Materials and Synthesis (PE5)

Georgios Vassilikogiannakis received an ERC Starting Grant (agreement no: 277588) under the European Union Seventh Framework (FP7/2007-2013) in 2011 with the research program beginning in October of that same year. The program title is "Advancing the Green Chemistry of Singlet Oxygen and Applying it to Synthetic Challenges."

To summarise: The Holy Grail of Modern Organic Synthesis is to engineer a situation wherein the practitioner can make any molecule he or she chooses (be it a new material, nanomachinery, or an important pharmaceutical) quickly, cleanly and cheaply. With this program, we are seeking to contribute a new set of beyond-the state-of-the-art technologies, using the powerful and green oxidant -singlet oxygen- to orchestrate cascade reaction sequences, that will render many different complex polyoxygenated and polycyclic architectures exactly this - easier, cheaper and cleaner to synthesize than has been traditionally the case. We have chosen the most difficult natural product targets (such as the pectenotoxins, azaspiracid, the spirolides etc.) as testing grounds for the new methods and have already begun to succeed by showing that singlet oxygen-mediated cascade reaction sequences, or even "super cascades" (where more than one initial oxidation event triggers multiple cascade reaction sequences that run in parallel), can be used to synthesize large and complex fragments, or motifs, from these molecules. Additionally, we are developing other singlet oxygen-based methodologies that target a diverse range of other important scaffolds (including N-bearing polycyclics) for use in synthetic organic chemistry. Furthermore, as part of the program, we are working at maximizing the potential for this chemistry to be undertaken under genuinely environmentally benign conditions. For example, we have pioneered the use of water as a solvent and the cyanobacteria product - spirulina as a natural photosensitizer. The scheme above gives a taste of just how varied the products of singlet oxygen cascade reaction sequences can be.

Publications stemming from ERC - Starting Grant.

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Wednesday, 9 June 2021

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Seventh Framework Programme

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