Echoed with the pursuit of sustainable chemistry, the field of synthetic organic chemistry faces the challenges to achieve
exquisite controls of reactivity and selectivity, to attain rapid constructions of complex molecules of interests and to develop practical
and environmental-benign chemical processes. Catalysis is one of the fundamental tools to address these challenges. Accordingly,
our primary research goal is to invent and develop novel enantioselective catalysts that enable transformations with fundamental
synthetic interests and broad utility. We’re particularly interested in the development of viable small molecular catalysts that operate
through nove l activation modes using bio-inspired principles and strategies.

 
    I. Bio-inspired Asymmetric Organocatalysis.
        The manipulation of acid/base properties of molecules has largely shaped the field of organocatalysis with far-reaching impacts
on related metal and enzyme catalysis. Our research in this area is to develop viable and reliable small molecular Lewis acid/base
catalysts with broad synthetic utility. We have developed functionalized chiral ionic liquid catalysts, bio-inspired primary amine
catalysts and new concepts and strategies in asymmetric organocatalysis. Combining supramolecular principles with small molecular
catalytic capability, we are also developing asymmetric supramolecular catalysts with biomimetic features.
 
      II. Asymmetric Binary-acid Catalysis (ABC).
        In ABC catalysis, we intend to explore the potentials of chiral Brønsted acid as dual (neutral) ligand and acid catalyst. The binary
catalytic system synergistically integrates chiral Brønsted acid and metal catalyst as a result of their weakly coordinating behaviors.
The resulted binary acid catalysts have enabled the effective reactions of a range of olefins/aromatics, by channeling the generation
and collapse of carbocationic species, in a manner closely resembling carbon cation-involved enzymes.
 
 
      III. Physical organic studies of catalytic processes.
        Mechanism understanding of catalytic reactions usually lags behind the paces in methodology development. In parallel to our
efforts on catalytic methodologies, we emphasize the physical organic investigations of these catalytic processes in order to
characterize the active intermediates, to elucidate the dynamic and kinetic features and to disclose the underlying stereocontrol
modes. Necessary experimental approaches and equipments as well as computation methods would be harnessed in these studies.
 
 
      IV. Methodology-directed total synthesis of natural products.
        Ultimately, our research is to apply the established catalytic systems in the asymmetric total synthesis of natural products with
interesting biological profiles and unique structural features. As a return, the identified targets as well as the challenges encountered
during their synthesis would serve as inspiring sources and driving forces for catalytic methodology development.