Please note: Professor Vedejs is no longer accepting research students.
Work in the Vedejs lab is designed to develop an understanding of conceptual, stereochemical, mechanistic, and preparative aspects of organic synthesis. The targets can be natural products derived from nitrogen-containing heterocycles, but they can also be complex unnatural heteroelement (boron, nitrogen, phosphorus, etc. ) containing molecules that have been designed to serve as catalysts for enantioselective reactions. The Vedejs group has used total synthesis as a challenging testing ground for the fundamental issues that are under study in our group, and as an extraordinary tool for training that teaches logical analysis and practical mechanistic thinking as well as preparative chemistry. Targets are carefully chosen to combine the investigation of several fundamental questions in connection with a specific structural family and to provide a diverse experience for group members. In some cases, our projects encounter biologically interesting activity and collaborative screening efforts, but our principal focus is on the chemistry and on fundamental questions. The ideal synthesis project in the Vedejs group targets a substance that is needed for a specific purpose, and addresses concepts that have lasting value beyond the specific family of targeted structures.
More recent studies have focused on the investigation of reagents and catalysts based on heteroelements and on methods for enantioselective synthesis via chiral nucleophilic catalysis. In the area of synthetic methodology, we have been especially interested in the development of heteroatom-directed hydroboration for control of relative stereochemistry.