Today the Real Sociedad Española de Química (RSEQ) and Lilly announced that Margarida Borrell Recasens, PhD student at the Institute of Computational Chemistry and Catalysis (IQCC) received one of the three 2021 RSEQ-Lilly awards for best PhD studies in organic, pharmaceutical and analytical chemistry (XIX Premios de Investigación para Alumnos de Doctorado en las áreas de Química Orgánica, Farmacéutica y Analítica).
In her PhD studies, Margarida looked at Fe and Mn species in high oxidation states and their use in asymmetric catalysis under supervision of Dr. Miquel Costas and she will defend her PhD thesis during the next months: Nature has evolved excellent strategies for the selective functionalization of hydrocarbons under mild conditions by using metalloenzymes. Rieske oxygenases exemplifies one of the most versatile families. These enzymes are also interesting inspiration motifs for the design of bioinspired oxidation catalysts, because they catalyze challenging oxidation reactions under mild conditions using iron, a non-toxic metal as the oxidation site. In this thesis, the first coordination sphere of the iron center at these enzymes and the enzymatic mechanism of action has been taken as inspiration starting point for the design of oxidation catalysts. These catalysts oxidize hydrocarbons, including C-H activation and cis-dihydroxylation in a highly selective manner, using H2O2 as oxidant, under mild experimental conditions.
Girona, June 7, 2021
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