(Bio)-Organic Synthesis

The (Bio)-Organic Synthesis cluster consists of 3 research groups:


Organic Synthesis

The main focus of the Organic Synthesis Research Group is the chemical synthesis and derivatisation of target compounds with non-trivial carbon connectivities, such as those found in polycyclic Natural Products.

    • The chemical synthesis part mainly involves the development of novel strategies and methods to assemble complex scaffolds, focusing on multiple bond forming steps such as cycloadditions and cascade reactions.
    • For the chemical derivatisation part, the group focuses on the development of application-oriented versatile covalent ligation reactions to generate multiple derivatives from a single synthetic intermediate.
    • As a major theme in the recent research, that encompasses both of the above general research topics, the group has started to design and target highly modular synthetic building blocks that allow a rapid exploration of Natural Product-like chemical space using simple and orthogonal functional group transformations.
    • The concepts of versatile ligation reactions and modular building blocks in organic synthesis are also explored and applied in various collaborative research projects going from macromolecular and materials science to chemical biology.

Organic and Biomimetic Chemistry

The Organic and Biomimetic Chemistry Research Group is specialized in the design and synthesis of modified peptides and nucleic acids and methods for their conjugation and labeling. More specifically, major research interests include:

    • The construction of conformationally defined peptide architectures. Scaffold decoration, cyclisation and peptide stapling are used to impose a particular conformation and stability on the parent peptides. Method development for synthesis of dipodal and tripodal peptides on solid phase. The synthesized compounds can find applications as peptide vaccins, protein mimetics, DNA-binding ligands and artificial receptors or synthetic antibodies. More specifically, the use of cholic acid based steroid derivatives has been explored for the conformational restriction and metabolic stabilization of appended peptide chains.
    • The development of new methods for crosslinking of biomacromolecules such as peptides, proteins and oligonucleotides. E.g. a very efficient furan-oxidation based crosslinking method has been developed for the site-selective labeling or introduction of covalent bonds  between two binding partners.
    • The design of novel reactive peptide and oligonucleotide based probes, including peptide nucleic acids, for applications in antisense and antigene strategies, protein and miRNA target identification and receptor pulldown.

Organic and Bio-organic Synthesis

The expertise of the Laboratory for Organic and Bioorganic Synthesis is situated in the following fields:

    • The total synthesis of complex natural products with biological activity. The research group is developing flexible synthetic routes allowing to obtain natural products as well as modified analogues such as other stereoisomers or analogues with a simplified structure.
    • The design and synthesis of novel privileged scaffolds in solution and on solid phase, e.g. the development of small peptidomimetics composed of a central scaffold, which can be valorized against varying biological targets by decoration with customized side chains.
    • The design and synthesis of novel chiral ligands for asymmetric transition metal catalysis.
    • The development of non-bleaching fluorizers equipped with a linker for biological applications.
    • The group has also expertise in the application of enzymes for asymmetric synthesis
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Organic and Medicinal Chemistry (from October 2021)

Our group is interested in investigating how targeted fluorination can finetune molecular physical properties of relevance in a medicinal chemistry/drug development context, such as conformation, lipophilicity and hydrogen bonding. Essentially, it is the chemistry supporting medicinal chemistry. Our work has a strong organic synthesis and NMR component in that we synthesise molecules specifically designed to investigate certain aspects of the aforementioned properties, and use NMR for conformation, lipophilicity and hydrogen bond analysis. Our research includes:

  • The synthesis of proline (an amino acid) analogues with fluorination motifs designed to control peptide conformation, as well as the subsequent synthesis of the required small peptides;
  • The synthesis of carbohydrate derivatives with fluorination motifs designed to investigate sugar lipophilicity and sugar hydrogen bond properties;
  • The synthesis of druglike molecules containing fluorination motifs to investigate lipophilicity properties. 

We collaborate with a number of groups for (IR-based) hydrogen bond measurements, and for bioactivity measurements.