Research in our group is focused on the development of new synthetic transformations, primarily centered around transition metal catalysis. Critical to the invention of these methods is our ability to derive inspiration from both reaction mechanisms and natural products. Our understanding of intermediates along mechanistic pathways allows us to design innovative chemical transformations that can capitalize on these potentially reactive species. Concurrently, we are interested in natural products and other molecules possessing interesting structural properties and biological activity. Our analyses of their respective core molecular architectures initiates the design of these synthetically important methods. These sources of inspiration continuously feed into our logical advancement of synthetic methods. At the same time, our expansion of the synthetic toolbox affords us opportunities for applications of these methods, both in mechanistic studies and in natural product synthesis.
Current efforts in our group are primarily dedicated toward three distinct areas: catalytic alkyne activation, directed catalytic C–H functionalization, and light-activated catalysis based on earth-abundant reagents. In all of these areas, fundamental questions of reaction design and potential applications are probed. Ultimately, we anticipate that our explorations in these and other conceptual areas will eventually deepen our understanding of many principles of catalysis and reactivity.