Visible-Light-Mediated Synthesis of Nitrogen Heterocycles

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Chemistry


Nitrogen-containing compounds underpin every aspect of our daily life as they are widespread as pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, food additives and materials. As a result, the development of novel methodologies that enable the construction of carbon-nitrogen chemical bonds is critical for the discovery and large scale production of these highly relevant molecules. However, when approaching this challenge we need to place great attention to the development of reaction that are efficient, selective, sustainable and safe. Here, we propose the development of a fundamentally novel approach that will use visible-light as the most available, safest and most sustainable source of energy. The methods that we will develop will enable the formation of C-N bonds and therefore facilitate the assembly of N-heterocycles.

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509565/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1735824 Studentship EP/N509565/1 16/09/2016 30/09/2020 Elizabeth Dauncey
Description This project deals with the development of novel chemical methodologies for the preparation of molecules containing atoms of nitrogen. This class of compounds is widespread in therapeutic agents, agrochemicals and food additives, therefore the invention of novel ways to make them is of fundamental importance for the well-being of our society.
In this project we particularly aims at developing processes based on nitrogen radicals, which are a class of reactive intermediates with great potential but very limited application in synthesis.
So far we have demonstrated that nitrogen radicals can be generated as part of very complex molecules like therapeutic agents (e.g. drospirenone) and aminoacids and be used to the selective modification of specific carbons within these complex materials.
Selectivity in the modification of structurally complex bioactive materials is very important as it can lead to the fast preparation of many new molecules with potential biological applications. We have also demonstrated that these reactivities can be merged with transition metal catalysts and further expanded in terms of scope and generality.
Exploitation Route The PhD student associated to this process is receiving high-level training in synthetic organic chemistry and has spent 3 month in an industrial placement at AstraZeneca. The impact on people will take place at the end of the Award when the student will move to an independent job position as highly skilled scientists.
The process developed here might be of interest for the pharma sector and be utilised in discovery programs.
The student has also actively engaged in an outreach project at the Manchester Grammar School.
Sectors Chemicals

Description Research project at the Manchester Grammar School 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact I am currently running a research project at the Manchester Grammar School (MGS) on photoredox catalysis. This research project takes place every Wednesday from 2 pm to 4 pm.
MGS has selected 16 pupils that are now getting exposed to the most advanced concept of photoredox catalysis, organic chemistry. They are trying to develop a novel reaction process using green chemicals and visible light.
I join the experiments to guide them through the process and demonstrate laboratory procedures as well as chemical concepts.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019