Rapid and efficient molecular making plays an important role in the development of any new product in the pharmaceutical, fine chemicals, materials, and biotech industries. However, conventional tools for chemical synthesis often result in lengthy routes as well as overall low efficiency in time, manpower, and material utilizations. Thus, exploration of new reactivities towards high efficiency is crucial for future sustainability in chemical syntheses. Toward this long-term objective, we have been exploring various unconventional chemical reactivities that can potentially simplify synthesis, reduce overall waste generation and maximize resource utilization. These include: (1) developing Grignard-type reactions in aqueous media to simplify protection-deprotections; (2) developing nucleophilic addition reactions by using C-H bonds as surrogates for organometallic reagents, to simplify halogenation-dehalogenation and avoid the utilization of a stoichiometric amount of metal for such reactions (possibly in water); and (3) developing direct C-H and C-H coupling (Cross-Dehydrogenative-Coupling) to explore the possibility of chemical transformations beyond functionalization and defunctionalization in syntheses. This talk will present some of the more recent progress on these topics from our laboratory.
Dr. Chao-Jun Li received his PhD at McGill University in 1992 and spent 1992-94 as a NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University. He was an Assistant Professor, Associate Professor and Full Professor at Tulane University before moving to McGill University in 2003, where he has been a Canada Research Chair in Green Chemistry and the E.B. Eddy Chair Professor of Organic Chemistry.
Currently, he serves as the Co-Chair of the Canadian Green Chemistry and Engineering Network, the Director of the CFI Facility for Green Chemistry and Green Chemicals, the Director of NSERC CREATE (Center) for Green Chemistry, and the Co-Director of the FQRNT Center for Green Chemistry and Catalysis (Quebec.) He also serves as the Associate Editor for the Americas for the journal of Green Chemistry. He has received a number of prestigious awards/honors worldwide.
His current research efforts are to develop Green Chemistry for chemical synthesis based upon innovative and fundamentally new organic reactions that will defy conventional reactivities and possess high “atom-efficiency”. Well-known research developed by Dr. Li include a wide range of Grignard-type reactions in water, Alkyne-Aldehyde-Amine coupling reaction (A3-coupling), and Cross-Dehydrogenative-Coupling (CDC) reactions among others. His research has been cited widely in the literature and was featured as one of the top 20 Canadian Chemistry Discoveries in the past century by Canadian Chemical News in 2007. He was listed as one of the World Most Influential Scientific Minds by Thomson Reuters in 2014 and again in 2015.