PhD project at AstraZeneca R&D Gotenburg

PhD Project Title: “Molecular diversity via direct C-H functionalization

Principal Investigator: Dr. Magnus J Johansson

PhD Project description: Efforts will focus on discovering new synthetic transformations for chemo-selective C-H functionalizations using earth abundant catalysts. Commercial drugs or druglike motifs will be targeted. The late-stage functionalization (LSF) will be achieved using a specific coordinating moiety inherently present in drugs . High throughput experimentation will be performed to identify suitable catalytic systems. Ultimately the biological activity along with physical, chemical and DMPK properties of newly accessed derivatives will be assessed.

Description of the work: ESR12 will develop, based on the expertise of the group and their recent results,[1] new catalytic C-H activation processes promoting highly regioselective functionalization of bioactive molecules. The attention will be focused on direct selective activation of scaffolds bearing various directing group motifs. High throughput experimentation will be performed to identify suitable catalytic systems. In collaboration with University of Göttingen, sustainable/green processes utilizing 3d metals will be developed. Furthermore heterogeneous process will be investigated during secondment to University of Lisbon.

Relevant skills that will be considered are:

  • Strong theoretical background and practical skills in organic synthesis and catalysis
  • Practical experience in analytical methods (NMR, MS, HPLC)
  • Good level of English proficiency (understood, spoken and written)
  • Skills in scientific writing (reports, papers, etc.)
  • Team spirit and collaborative predisposition

Planned secondments: ” Secondments: University of Göttingen (Ackermann): 3d-metals for late stage functionalization; University of Lisbon (Kirilov): late stage diversification using heterogeneous catalysts).


[1] Friis S, Johansson M J, Ackermann L; Nature Chemistry, 2020, 511–519.