New Reaction Development and High-Throughput Techniques
A goal in our laboratory is to develop reactions that transform simple and abundant feedstock compounds into complex molecules through catalyst-controlled reactive intermediates. High-throughput techniques, where vast collections of reactions can be executed and evaluated simultaneously, can rapidly accelerate discovery and enable ‘leaps’ beyond the current knowledge in the field. We will use a combination of traditional and high-throughput techniques when developing new reactions and also to explore problems outside of the remit of typical laboratory techniques.
Generating valuable chemical commodities from renewable and abundant resources (RARs) is a preeminent global challenge. RARs can be defined as bulk chemical feedstocks that can be replenished through natural processes or are available in large quantities from non-fossil fuel sources; these include biomass, greenhouse gases and industrial wastes. The constituent molecules present in RARs (e.g. carbohydrates, lignin monomers, amino acids, CO2 etc.) represent an underexploited molecular resource to obtain valuable chemical products. We therefore aim to develop new catalytic methods to transform these ubiquitous molecules into useful chemicals and provide access to low-cost fuels, fine chemicals, pharmaceuticals and polymeric materials.