Research

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The main focus of the Sieber group is to develop new synthetic methods and processes for the green, cost-effective, safe, scalable, and sustainable synthesis of value-added products of biological significance (i.e. active pharmaceutical ingredients, APIs) from cheap abundant feedstocks. In this regard, a significant focus will be on the development of new homogeneous catalysts for organic synthesis, and the development of new methods and application of innovative technologies for the synthesis of important APIs with high-volume need in the developing world.

Homogeneous catalysis development:

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Homogeneous catalysis has been an enabling technology for the green synthesis of biologically important organic molecules. However, many transition metal catalyzed reactions suffer from high catalyst loading, which makes them impractical to employ on industrial scale due to the high cost of the metal and the difficulty associated with removal of the metal from the final product (i.e., tedious purification). A main research focus will be targeting new transition metal complexes that have improved robustness to allow for reduction in the transition metal catalyst loading for application to industrial scale. In this regard, new catalysts with these same properties utilizing the more naturally abundant and lower cost first row transition metals (i.e., Ni, Cu, Fe, etc.) are also of interest.

 

Practical synthesis of high-volume need APIs

A second main focus of the group is partnering with the VCU Engineering department in the M4All institute to develop cost-effective, practical syntheses of important therapeutics needed in high-volumes in third-world countries (i.e. HIV, malaria, and TB medications). Research will focus on the development of new synthetic methods and application of innovative technologies to enable robust, economical, and safe syntheses to these life-saving therapeutics.

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