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Scientists from the Chemical Synthesis Joint Lab

CAS-Croucher Joint Labs

The CAS-Croucher Funding Scheme for Joint Laboratories is the outcome of an agreement between The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Croucher Foundati...

Chiral metal complexes as catalysts and building blocks

The Shanghai– Hong Kong Joint Laboratory in Chemical Synthesis (Joint Lab) was established in 1999 as a tripartite arrangement between Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and the University of Hong Kong.

The generous support of the Croucher Foundation has enabled [our teams] to make synthetic contributions in organic, inorganic and organometallic chemistry.

Henry Wong

With generous financial support from the Croucher Foundation and the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, National Natural Science Foundation of China, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Joint Lab has become a hub where top-level research in chemical syntheses is conducted. 

As a result, the Joint Lab has opened up opportunities to harness synergies and to interlink knowledge for the three participating parties in achieving excellence in chemical syntheses involving organic, inorganic and organometallic chemistry. 

Currently, the main aim of the Joint Lab is conducting basic research into the development of new methods for the preparation of valuable molecules, such as bio-active agents and advanced functional molecules. 

Professors Henry N. C. Wong and Jian-Wei Han have synthesised naturally occurring naturally occurring compounds, such as pallavicinins A and B, pallambins C and D, plakortone B, and plakotide E, which exhibit intriguing bioactivities with potential pharmacological implications. 

Professor Xue-Long Hou and his team have introduced a series of privileged ferrocene-based P,N-ligands, and coined SIOCPhox. These ligands have achieved very important palladium-catalysed asymmetric allylic alkylation (AAA) in excellent yields and enantioselectivities. In addition, utilising this methodology, Professor Hou has also synthesised many natural alkaloids with potential medical applications.

Professor Chi-Ming Che has made major contributions in reactive metal-ligand multiple-bonded complexes for atom and group transfer reactions, including C-H bond activation, alkene oxidation, C-N bond formation reaction and nitrido coupling reactions, as well as in phosphorescent transition metal complexes, including d8 and d10 metal complexes, and d2-metal-ligand multiple bonded complexes. Professor Che's research at the Joint Laboratory focus mainly on the development of novel metal complexes and their application as catalysts in green chemistry, which aim to build up sustainable chemistry to meet the needs of modern society. Iron-catalysed alkene oxidation, C-H transformation reactions are also areas of research currently being undertaken. 

Professor Zuo-wei Xie’s group focus mainly on the chemistry of non-traditional metal–carbon (M–Ccage) bonds, where the carbons are hypervalent, such as carborane cage carbons. The M–Ccage bonds in transition metal-carboryne (carboryne = 1,2-dehydro-o-carborane) complexes are generally reactive toward electrophiles, and the reactivity patterns are dominated by the nature of transition metals. Such organometallic transformations have been employed to develop efficient methodologies for the preparation of functionalised carboranes. These have found wide applications in boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT), supramolecular design, materials science and co-ordination/organometallic chemistry.