Organometallic catalysis has revolutionized the art of chemical synthesis over the last few decades. Unfortunately, longstanding limitations still exist. Many protocols employ catalyst systems containing increasingly expensive noble metals and are poorly applicable in real practice. The high cost and scarcity of these metals makes it compelling to search for more economical and sustainable alternatives.
In our group, we focus on developing reliable and sustainable catalytic solutions to address critical problems in chemical synthesis. We leverage creative, direct and unprecedented disconnections of important complex molecules to fuel our efforts in devising efficient and selective methods that transform abundant and cheap feedstock chemicals to value-added products, using nonprecious and biocompatible base metal-derived catalysts.
Insights gained from mechanistic studies will aid us in designing new catalyst systems that promote transformations to facilitate economically and environmentally viable preparation of high-value compounds for the chemical, pharmaceutical and polymer industries.
Ongoing topics of interest include:
(a) Development of catalytic regio- and stereoselective alkene functionalization reactions.
(b) Discovery of new catalytic manifolds that engage radicals in cross-coupling transformations.
(c) Design of new heterogeneous single-atom catalysts for liquid-phase organic synthesis (collaboration with materials chemists).
(d) Elucidation of catalytic mechanisms through mechanistic and computational studies (collaboration with computational chemists).
We cordially welcome collaborations in all areas of research including total synthesis, computational studies, chemical biology and materials science.
Students working in the Koh group can expect to be mentored on the process of identifying important problems in chemical synthesis, trained in fundamental research and presentation practices, and groomed to think critically, creatively and independently. We work in a close-knit environment where every member has fun and contributes to the success of one another.