Yesterday, the Real Sociedad Española de Química (RSEQ) and Lilly announced that Laia Vicens i Serra, PhD Student in the QBIS-CAT research group at the Institute of Computational Chemistry and Catalysis (IQCC) received one of the three 2022 RSEQ-Lilly awards for best PhD studies in orgànic, pharmaceutical and analytiscal chemistry (XX Premios de Investigación para Alumnos de Doctorado en las áreas de Química Orgánica, Farmacéutica y Analítica).
In her PhD studies, Laia is developing new iron and manganese coordination complexes and their use in asymmetric catalysis under supervision of Dr. Miquel Costas, and she will defend her PhD thesis next year. Nature is able to perform oxidation reactions under mild conditions with high levels of selectivity by the use of metalloenzymes, mainly because of the exquisite control of both the primary and the secondary sphere of the iron center. Due to its efficiency, artificial catalysts that mimic these systems have been studied, mainly preparing metal complexes with a very well-defined coordination sphere. In this thesis, these complexes have been used as catalyst in asymmetric reactions, for example, in the ?-lactonization of a-amino acids synthesizing molecules with chiral quaternary centers in up to 99% ee. Then, a further development of these catalysts has been attempted with a supramolecular approach, where the second coordination around the metal center has been modified by introducing a supramolecular host in the structure of the ligand. This system has been able to efficiently activate hydrogen peroxide and apply in asymmetric epoxidation reactions. Currently, to open the application of these supramolecular-based catalysts, new designs are being studied.
Girona, June 15, 2022
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