Themed collection: Synthetic approaches to natural products via catalytic processes

Louis Fensterbank a, Shuanhu Gao b and Armen Zakarian c
aUniversité Pierre et Marie Curie, France
bEast China Normal University, China
cUniversity of California Santa Barbara, USA

Received 10th January 2018 , Accepted 10th January 2018
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Louis Fensterbank

Louis Fensterbank, born in Poitiers in 1967, graduated from Lyon in 1990 and obtained his PhD on silicon chemistry in 1993 at SUNY Stony Brook with Scott Sieburth. After a lecturer position at UPMC in 1994, he was appointed in 1995 as Chargé de Recherche CNRS in Max Malacria's team. In 2004, he obtained a professor position at Université Pierre et Marie Curie and, in 2008, he was nominated junior member at IUF. His research interests concern the discovery of new molecular transformations relying on radical or organometallic processes and their applications to the synthesis of substrates with properties. In 2009, he was a Visiting Scientist at ANU, Canberra and in 2017 at Osaka Prefecture University. In 2014, he was awarded the Prix Clavel Lespieau of the French Academy of Sciences. Recently, he received the Prix de la Division de Chimie Organique of the French Chemical Society (2016) and the Silver Medal from CNRS (2017) and was elected FRSC (2016).

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Shuanhu Gao

Shuanhu Gao received his BS degree from Lanzhou University in 2001. In 2006 he earned his PhD from Lanzhou University under the direction of Professor Yongqiang Tu. From 2007 to 2010, he was a postdoctoral fellow in Professor Chuo Chen's group at the UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. He started his independent career as a professor in the Department of Chemistry at East China Normal University in October 2010. His research interests are focused on the development of new methodologies and strategies to efficiently synthesize natural products that have novel molecular structure, potent biological activity, and the potential for mechanistic studies. All the programs will begin with the synthesis of the corresponding natural products, once the target molecules have been completed; function-oriented synthesis of natural product analogues and derivatives to further study their potential medicinal functions and chemical biology will be carried out. In the past few years, the Gao group has developed bio-inspired strategies, cascade reactions and photo-induced electrocyclization/cycloaddition for the total synthesis a series of bioactive natural products containing polycyclic rings, which provide opportunities for the related functional studies.

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Armen Zakarian

Armen Zakarian grew up in Moscow and moved to the United States to pursue graduate studies in Organic Chemistry. He received his PhD in Florida under the supervision of Professor Robert A. Holton. After postdoctoral studies with Professor Larry E. Overman at the University of California Irvine, he started his independent academic position in 2004. Since 2008, his research group has been located at the University of California Santa Barbara. Research in Zakarian group combines the areas of reaction development, complex molecule synthesis, natural products chemistry, bioorganic chemistry, and medicinal chemistry.

Catalysis serves as a powerful tool for chemical bond transformation, asymmetric induction, and more importantly for achieving increased structural complexity in fewer synthetic steps. Over the past decade, stunning advances in catalytic methodologies have revolutionized the methods for preparing architecturally complex natural products and natural-product-like structures. With this background, we organized this themed collection of ‘Synthetic approaches to natural products via catalytic processes’. There are 14 original research articles and 8 review-type articles in this collection, which include photoredox catalysis, organocatalysis and transition-metal mediated catalysis etc. and their synthetic applications. We believe that this collection will inspire readers to an in-depth consideration of the area and serve as the foundation of future application and research.

We would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere thanks for the support and contributions from all the outstanding authors. Without their dedication, this themed collection would not have been possible. We are also grateful to Dr Wenjun Liu, the deputy editor of Organic Chemistry Frontiers, as well as the whole journal team, for their efforts and professionalism.

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