The research focus of the Kelly group is the development of new catalytic platforms for elegant yet practical access to fine chemicals from basic feedstocks. The development of both organic and organometallic catalysts will be a crux of these endeavors. Of particular interest are sustainable platforms for C-C bond formation, new routes to highly strained motifs, methods to install (or remove) fluorinated groups, and harnessing radicals for selective functionalization of advanced intermediates. Our efforts will be guided by computational models performed in parallel with synthetic studies. Ultimately, the methods developed will be directly applicable towards addressing problems in complex molecule synthesis and reaching yet untapped chemical space.

Additionally, as part of the Medicines for All Initiative (M4All), the group will design more efficient syntheses of leading treatments of HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases. These efforts will serve not only to reduce the cost of these critical medicines worldwide but also as a platform for discovering current deficiencies in synthetic chemistry.

Members of the Kelly group can expect to become adept in classical organic synthesis techniques as well as to engage in cutting edge research in organometallic catalysis, organocatalysis, and photochemistry. In addition, they will pair their synthetic efforts with mechanistic analysis via kinetic studies and quantum mechanical calculations. Finally, they will develop leadership skills in the mentorship of undergraduate researchers.

Synthetic Methods Development @ VCU Chemistry

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