Our primary research interests lie in the areas of organic synthesis and reaction methodology. The development of new carbon-carbon bond-forming reactions with broad applicability to the synthesis of biologically significant targets will be the primary focus of our research group.
As illustrated above, the center of our research activity is new reaction development. Our research projects will encompass new reaction development including new catalysts, elucidation of reaction mechanisms and application of the new methodologies to the synthesis of bioactive compounds. Also, the compounds obtained in the course of methodology developments will be tested in bioactive assays in a future collaboration with biology faculty at UTEP.
Utilization of Carbon Dioxide
We are particularly interested in probing new approaches to the reactions of carbon dioxide catalyzed/mediated by transition metals. Carbon dioxide is an attractive C-1 building block in organic synthesis because it is abundant, nontoxic and non-flammable. Although the fixation of carbon dioxide promoted by organometallic complexes has experienced significant progress in recent times, it still represents a growing and promising area of research. Our goal is the discovery of efficient asymmetric catalytic processes and we will demonstrate the utility of such reactions through their application in synthesis. In addition, we will explore carbon dioxide reactions with pH-dependent metal complexes, which are modeled on carbonic anhydrase. In this research chiral transition metal aqua complexes are anticipated to choreograph a highly efficient and stereoselective process that is comparable to enzymes.
Synthesis of Bioactive Compounds
Nature can create complex structures with simple reactions. We are attempting to investigate some of these biochemical processes, and understand the mechanisms that they follow. We are presently working on the synthesis of small natural products in the use of these biomimetic approaches.
El Paso is one of the US cities most blessed with solar energy, receiving huge amounts of solar radiation. Also, El Paso is one of the sunniest cities in the U.S. with over 300 days of sunshine per year (83%) and a high altitude 1219 m above sea level, which makes UTEP an ideal place to investigate solar synthesis. We place reactions on the roof of our building.
Those who love organic chemisrty are very welcome to join us! Contact Dr. Mito for more information!