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Bio-inspired catalysis in water

PhD ceremony:Mr J.J. Oelerich
When:February 20, 2015
Supervisor:prof. dr. J.G. (Gerard) Roelfes
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Science and Engineering
Bio-inspired catalysis in water

Bio-inspired catalysis in water

Enzymes are catalysts in biological systems that can catalyze reactions with high activity and selectivity. For a long time, synthetic catalysts made in the laboratories were mostly prepared for reactions in organic solvents. This makes it easier to control and study those catalytic systems. However, the reactivities and selectivities reached with synthetic catalysts are often much less than those of biological systems in nature.

Artificial enzymes, also called hybrid catalysts, try to combine the good substrate scope of synthetic catalysts with the high reactivity and selectivity of biological catalysts. The DNA-based asymmetric catalysis approach described in this thesis is one of these hybrid catalysis approaches.

The main goal of the investigations described in this thesis was to develop novel organometallic DNA-based asymmetric catalysis reactions. Furthermore, the research focused on the discovery of new substrates for the existing DNA-based asymmetric catalysis approaches and on the development of tools for organic synthesis in aqueous environment.

The main achievements are listed below:

•    The first organometallic DNA-based asymmetric catalysis reaction leading to high enantio selectivity.

•    The discovery of iron porphyrin / duplex DNA hybrid catalysts for the intermolecular cyclopropanation of styrenes with ethyl diazo acetate, which gave rise to large rate accelerations in presence of DNA.

•    The first substrates for copper(II) catalyzed DNA-based asymmetric catalysis that contain only oxygen atoms for coordination to copper. The development of synthetic methods for organic chemistry in water based on water soluble porphyrins and micellar catalysts.