Title: Biocatalytic Methods Development for Complex Molecule Synthesis
Abstract: While numerous small molecule catalysts have been successfully developed for solving grand challenges in chemical synthesis, enzymes remain one of the most selective and tunable catalyst platforms to date. Despite their ability to provide exquisite selectivity in chemical transformations, a majority of synthetically useful enzymes have strictly been used for the reactions they are known to perform in nature. Our research group aims to expand the synthetic repertoire of enzymes by capitalizing on the unique mechanistic machinery of underexplored enzyme classes to achieve rapid construction of complex molecular architectures and/or the selective installation of structural entities that are highly desired in early- and late-stage organic synthesis. This discussion will feature current and future efforts toward 1) synthetic applications of the vanadium haloperoxidase class of enzymes for selective halogenation and nitration reactions and their potential as a general metalloenzyme discovery platform, 2) the development of non-heme iron enzymes for C-H functionalization reactions, and 3) the exploration of terpene cyclase enzymes for selective carbocation-mediated transformations.