Natural Product Synthesis

Natural product synthesis plays a key role in our research programmes. Over the years we have assembled over 140 complex and architecturally challenging structures. These efforts lead to the discovery of many new processes which find wider application in chemical synthesis. This area is a superb and creative training ground for anyone interested in learning the art of organic synthesis.

The exquisite diversity, reactivity and biological function of these molecules constantly challenges the very frontiers of our science in terms of assembly and reactivity. The target-orientated approach imposes a discipline which is hard to match by other areas of chemistry. Natural product synthesis has a rich history of discovery and innovation which continues today; often it provides the basis to ask new questions and solve previously considered impossible processes, thereby leading to step-change advances and transformation of the subject.

Natural products still inspire the discovery of many new healing drug substances. Likewise, in our quest to understand the function of molecles, natural and unnatural systems enrich our opportunities leading to improved complexity geneation, multi-catalytic systems, harnessing the power of non-covalent interactions and much more.

In our recent review on the impact of natural products as a vehicle for discovery, especially for carbon-carbon bond or ring-forming events during particularly challenging steps of a synthesis, the reader can experience the knowledge, the commitment and effort needed to assemble these fascinating structures.

There is still so much more to discover.

The Changing Face of Organic Synthesis S.V. Ley, Tetrahedron 201066, 6270-6292

The important contributions we have made to this central field of organic chemistry have been recognised by numerous prizes and awards including the following:

  • 2011 The Royal Society’s Royal Medal
  • 2009 The Elsevier Tetrahedron Prize and The Royal Society of Chemistry’s Perkin Prize for Organic Chemistry
  • 2007 The American Chemical Society’s Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry
  • 2003 The Ernest Guenther Award in the Chemistry of Natural Products
  • 2000 The Royal Society of Chemistry’s Davy Medal
  • 1996 The Dr. Paul Janssen Prize for Creativity in Organic Synthesis
  • 1993 The Royal Society of Chemistry’s Award for Natural Product Chemistry