The art of making these molecules is an important part of modern society. A surprising long list of the products we use on a daily basis are made by the means of synthetic chemistry.
At the University of Stavanger (UiS) we have three major fields of interest: Synthesis of natural products with interesting biological activity, synthesis of relevant polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and PAH metabolites for use in environmental research, and development of new synthetic methods.
Nature is a rich source for molecules with biological activity. Bioprospecting has revealed some of the unique molecules and their activities making it possible for us to learn from nature. The group is involved in several research projects where we are working with the synthesis of natural products. These are exciting projects, which makes it possible to work with a range of chemical reactions.
Compound prepared in these projects are tested for biological activity by our partners and the results from these tests are used in order to make even more potent molecules. Projects within this field is part of the UiS strategic program Bioactive (2015-2017).
Synthesis of PAHs
PAHs are a group of compounds that are found in oil or generated upon incomplete combustion of organic material. When these compounds enters an organism, they will be oxidized in vivo to metabolites in order to make them more water-soluble. The metabolites are much more toxic than their mother compounds (PAHs). In our group we are working with the synthesis of PAHs and PAH metabolites.
The synthetic compounds generated in our laboratories are used in order to gain more knowledge regarding their toxicity in the environment and as reference material in environmental analysis. The latter research is performed locally in collaboration with IRIS-Environment in addition to international collaborators.
New synthetic methods
Development of new synthetic methods is an important part of organic chemistry. At UiS we are trying to develop more environmentally friendly chemistry, so called green chemistry. The aim is to develop new reactions and strategies that can cut back on the use of chemicals and generate less chemical waste.
In our group we are working on developing one-pot reactions for the synthesis of secondary amines. In one-pot reactions several synthetic reactions are carried out subsequently in the same reaction vessel, which results in time saved and use of less chemicals.
Catalytic reactions and more direct synthetic strategies like avoiding the use of protection groups also contributes towards greener chemistry.