"New Discoveries with Carbene Catalysis"
New routes and methods to access bioactive compounds is a critical enterprise for the development of 21st century medicine. Inspired by Nature’s conversion of pyruvic acid into a carbonyl anion equivalent with thiamin, we have established a research program discovering new strategies to access unusual nucleophilic species using N-heterocyclic carbenes as catalysts. As leaders in this rapidly growing area of carbene catalysis, we can generate powerful reactivity patterns such as carbonyl anions, homoenolates, enolates and promote useful redox process. These metal-free, catalytic reactions provide immense opportunities for development and application. In the presentation, a brief overview of the different reactivity patterns available using carbene catalysis will be presented, followed by our recent developments expanding this Lewis base manifold into new “rebound” and cooperative catalysis strategies.