Tue, 28 Mar 2023

Dr. Nelson Lam

University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

New strategies for selective C–H bond activation and functionalization

Tuesday, March 28, 2023
SSB 7172 @ 3:00 p.m.

Host: Dr. Robert Britton



The ability to view and utilise canonically inert C–H bonds as reactive functional handles has the potential to expedite the synthesis of organic compounds. Their ubiquity, however, also poses a paramount challenge in its differentiation and selective functionalization, particularly with positionally- and chemically-similar C–H bonds at remote sites. This talk discusses two complementary strategies in executing net C–H functionalization through 1) a proximity-driven/directed approach via Pd-catalyzed C–H activation for remote C–H activation/C–C bond functionalization, and 2) a mild iron-catalyzed rearrangement for a general ortho-C–H amination directed by abundant carboxylic acid motifs. Key insights relating to their reactivity and origins of selectivity will be outlined, in addition to their applications in facilitating intuitive bond disconnections for organic synthesis.

Presenting Speaker's Biography

Dr Nelson Lam obtained his BSc(Hons) from the University of Auckland in 2014, working with Prof Christian Hartinger on the development of organometallic anticancer agents. As a Woolf Fisher and Rutherford Scholar at Trinity College/University of Cambridge, he obtained his PhD (2019) with Prof Ian Paterson FRS in the synthesis of stereochemically-ambiguous polyketide natural products. He was then awarded a Lindemann Fellowship to carry out postdoctoral research in C–H activation at the Scripps Research Institute with Prof Jin-Quan Yu. In 2021, Nelson was elected as a Research Fellow at Trinity Hall Cambridge, currently working with Prof Robert Phipps at the University of Cambridge towards harnessing non-covalent interactions to address outstanding selectivity-imposed constraints in organic synthesis.