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Personal profile

Research interests

We are a catalysis and synthesis group with particular interest in the following areas:

1. Gold Catalysis
In the past decade, gold has emerged as a powerful catalyst for the electrophilic activation of carbon-carbon p bonds. Gold catalysis represents a new frontier in catalysis with scope for further discoveries and development, particularly in the field of asymmetric gold catalysis. We are interested in the development of novel gold catalysed reactions with the aim of expanding the current toolkit of synthetic techniques. Recent highlights from our group include developing novel gold-catalysed reactions with cyclopropenes and allenes.

For representative publications, see: Org. Lett., 2012, 14, 898. Abstract; Chem. Commun.,2011, 47, 1333 - 1335. Abstract; Org. Biomol. Chem., 2010, 8, 4090 - 4095. Abstract; Org. Lett.2010, 12, 484-487. Abstract; Chem. Commun., 2008, 6405-6407. Abstract

2. Palladium Catalysis
We have recently developed a mild and ligand free cationic Pd(II) system for conjugate additions to hindered ?-substituted cyclohexenones. Current work in the group centres around the development and futher applications of the cationic Pd(II) system.

For representative publications: Org. Lett., 2012, ASAP, DOI:10.1021/ol300794a. Abstract

3. N-Heterocyclic Carbene (NHC) - Type Ligands for Catalysis
The chemistry of N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs) and in particular their application as ligands, has developed rapidly since the synthesis of the first isolable species in 1991. NHC ligands are active in various transition metal catalysed reactions as well as in organocatalytic reactions. This area holds great promise in terms of the design of novel and modular ligands with different stereochemical topography.

For representative publication, see: Chem. Commun., 2011, 47, 328 - 330. Abstract and review: Aust. J. Chem. 2011, 64, 1118–1132. Abstract

4. Chiral rotaxanes
One of the most interesting and yet least exploited features of rotaxanes is chirality - a rotaxane consisting of an asymmetric rotor and asymmetric axis can have cyclochirality, even if both the rotor and axis are themselves achiral. To date, there are no efficient methods for the catalytic enantioselective synthesis of cyclochiral rotaxanes. We are interested in tackling this challenging problem using tools from the field of asymmetric catalysis.

Research Group Contact Details

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Research Output

  • 42 Article
  • 5 Literature review
  • 1 Comment/debate
  • 1 Review article
Open Access
  • 4 Citations (Scopus)
    12 Downloads (Pure)

    Heterogeneous photocatalysis in flow chemical reactors

    Thomson, C. G., Lee, A-L. & Vilela, F., 26 Jun 2020, In : Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry. 16, p. 1495-1549 55 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 3 Downloads (Pure)

    Selectivity Control in Gold-Catalyzed Hydroarylation of Alkynes with Indoles: Application to Unsymmetrical Bis(indolyl)methanes

    McLean, E. B., Cutolo, F. M., Cassidy, O. J., Burns, D. J. & Lee, A-L., 4 Sep 2020, In : Organic letters. 22, 17, p. 6977-6981 5 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Dual copper- and photoredox-catalysed C(sp2)-C(sp3) coupling

    McLean, E. B., Gauchot, V., Brunen, S., Burns, D. J. & Lee, A-L., 14 Apr 2019, In : Chemical Communications. 55, 29, p. 4238-4241 4 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 4 Citations (Scopus)
    10 Downloads (Pure)

    Golden potential

    Mclean, E. B. & Lee, A-L., 1 Sep 2019, In : Nature Chemistry. 11, 9, p. 760-761 2 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate


    Chemical Science (Journal)

    Ai-Lan Lee (Peer reviewer)

    1 Jun 20191 Jun 2021

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

    University of Sussex

    Ai-Lan Lee (Speaker)

    8 May 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk


    Ai-Lan Lee (Speaker)

    9 Dec 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

    University of Bath

    Ai-Lan Lee (Speaker)

    10 Dec 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

    University of Cardiff

    Ai-Lan Lee (Speaker)

    11 Nov 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk