The Project


Research Axis #3: Feedstock Valorization

Objective: Valorise natural feedstock as a source of abundant raw materials (i.e. terpenes) to generate new building blocks for pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries, through the design and development of novel homo- and heterogeneous catalytic systems for C-H functionalization.

Research topics:

  • C-H functionalization of terpenes under homogeneous conditions
  • C-H valorisation of terpenes via heterogeneous catalysis

ESR: Marc Fernandez
PI: Prof. C. Nevado
Host institution: UZH
Secondments: Syngenta, AstraZeneca

The objective of the project is the direct conversion of olefin containing feedstock into high added value building blocks. To do so, the chosen strategy relies on 4 steps:

  1. Develop earth-abundant metal catalyzed protocols for the functionalization of olefin-containing terpenes;
  2. Design ligand templates that enable the migration of the C(sp3)-M bond across the aliphatic systems;
  3. Investigate the functionalization of in-situ produced remote organo-radical/metal intermediates towards C-C and C-X (X = O, N, Halogen) bond forming reactions;
  4. Use the newly developed reactions to prepare building blocks of value for the industrial partners.

ESR: Marco Di Matteo
PI: Prof. G. Poli
Host institution: SU
Secondments: Novartis, UGOE

This 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 project encompasses the mechanistic study of the novel transition metal catalysed C(sp3)H-to-C(sp3)O and C(sp3)H-to-C(sp3)N, and the synthesis of industrially relevant cannabinoid derivatives.

ESR: Gilvan Correia
PI: Prof. A. Kirillov
Host institution: IST
Secondments: SU, Novartis
The project focuses on the design, synthesis and characterization of new heterogeneous catalysts based on multifunctional bioMOFs (bioinspired metal-organic frameworks). The catalytic performance of these catalysts will be tuned by adjusting their porosity and the type of active sites, thus targeting a selective oxidative C-H functionalization of terpenes and related model substrates.