5 Mar 2010
James's research employs N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs) as organocatalysts to promote a range of reactions. Previous work within the Smith group has shown that NHCs are efficient catalysts for the formal cycloaddation of disubstituted ketenes with imines, enabling access to a range of β-lactams.
His research has been involved in the design and modification of the NHC catalyst architecture and evaluation of the subsequent effects upon reactivity and enantioselectivity of β-lactam formation. In an extension to the application of NHCs in organocatalysis, he has investigated the analogous formal cycloaddition of ketenes with aldehydes, to give β-lactones bearing α-quaternary stereocentres. More recently, he has been focusing on NHC catalysed asymmetric α-chloronation of ketenes to furnish enantioenriched α-chloro esters.
Currently, James has no firm career plans. He greatly enjoys working within academia and is very interested in continuing his academic career in postdoctoral research. However, he has also enjoyed his industrial placement at GlaxoSmithKline during his MChem year, and now looks forward to an equally enjoyable and beneficial time during his Case Award period at AstraZeneca.
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