The expertise in applied organic chemistry and sustainable
approaches to organic synthesis is now focused on the following
1) Synthesis of bioactive molecules, in particular of new
2) Synthesis of sensors for bioanalytical applications.
3) Development of new catalysts and experimental procedures in
organocatalysis and organometallic catalysis.
- Design and development of new organometallic reagents. A novel
class of alfa-hydroxyallylating agents developed in our lab will be
applied to the total synthesis of bioactive molecules, such as
fungicides and antibiotics.
- Synthesis of bioactive molecules. As an example, a new
synthesis has been developed of
3,4,6-trisunstituted 1,2-dioxanes, whose biological activity
against Plasmodium falciparum strains has been assessed.
- New sustainable chemical processes. Known syntheses will be
re-examined on the basis of eco-compatibility concepts. The
reduction of energy consumption by using microwave heating, the
reduction of chemical wastes by adopting solvent-less conditions or
water as solvent, the use of ionic liquids as non volatile solvents
are examples of technologies under development in our lab. For
example, a new microwave-promoted approach to azacrowns modified
with two hydroxyquinoline substituents has been developed. The new
ligands have been used for sensing magnesium
directly in cells.
- Design and synthesis of task-specific ionic liquids in
organocatalysis and in metal-promoted catalysis. Over the last two
years the most explored field in our lab was the design of
metal-based catalysts and organocatalysts capable to work under
sustainable conditions, e.g. in ionic liquids, in water or in
aqueous biphasic conditions. Our strategy involves the installation
of a permanent ionic group into the skeleton of known catalysts in
such a way to combine efficiency and stereoselectivity with the
catalyst recyclability, ensured by an efficient trapping of the
catalyst in the ionic liquid or aqueous phase.