PhD Project at Sorbonne University

PhD Project Title: Studies of novel C-H activation-functionalization reactions from terpenes.

Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Giovanni Poli

PhD Project description: In the frame of the ongoing interest of the Parisian group in catalytic C-H activation[1] starting from biomass derivatives,[2] this PhD project aims at developing new protocols that allow the selective oxidation of terpenes, chosen as ideal platform molecules, with a special focus in allylic oxidations and cannabinoid targets. The study of mechanisms will be addressed, and the synthesis of industrially relevant target molecules will be tackled.

The PhD student (ESR) will be involved in the study of novel transition metal catalyzed C(sp3)H-to-C(sp3)O and C(sp3)H-to-C(sp3)N transformations of terpenes, and their evaluation in route toward more complex cannabinoids.

Relevant skills that will be considered are:

  • 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
  • Desirable extra competences: background in C-H activation / functionalization, catalysis


Planned secondments: “1 secondment (3 months) in Novartis Pharma (Dr. Fabrice Gallou) and 1 secondment in another academic group of the CHAIR network.


[1]     Roudesly, F.; Oble, J.; Poli, G. Metal-catalyzed C–H activation/functionalization: The fundamentals, J. Mol. Catal. Chem. 2017, 426, 275.

[2]     See for example: Sala, R.; Roudesly, F.; Veiros, L. F.; Broggini, G.; Oble, J.; Poli G. Ru-Catalyzed Carbonylative Murai Reaction: Directed C3 Acylation of Biomass-Derived 2-Formyl Heteroaromatics, Adv. Synth. Catal. 2020, 362, 2486.

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