Project I. Cinchona alkaloid-derived quaternary ammonium salts have been successfully used as phase-transfer catalysts, particularly in asymmetric alkylations. Our group applied this type of catalyst in the synthesis of β-hydroxy α-amino acids via aldol reactions and discovered that the Park-Jew catalyst afforded good yields and good enantiomeric excess of the syn diasteromers, but negligible diastereoselectivity. This project was therefore focused on the synthesis of novel cinchonidine-derived catalysts with the Park-Jew catalyst as the lead structure. The C3 position of cinchonidine nucleus was modified to achieve dimers and catalysts possessing electron-deficient alkyne and alkene moieties. Synthesized catalysts were tested in the asymmetric aldol reactions, with some of them yielding improvements relative to the Park-Jew catalyst.

Project II. Celogentin C is a natural product that was isolated from the seeds of Celosia argentea by Kobayashi in 2001. It is the most potent inhibitor of the polymerization of tubulin from among the celogentin family. The novel bicyclic octapeptide structure contains unusual linkages between leucine β-carbon and indole C-6 of tryptophan and between tryptophan indole C-2 and imidazole N-1 of histidine. The project culminated in the first total synthesis of celogentin C. Reaction conditions were developed by synthesizing the left-hand ring and the right-hand ring separately, and the total synthesis was accomplished via a left to right strategy. Key transformations in the construction included intermolecular Knoevenagel condensation, radical conjugate addition, macrolactamization, and oxidative coupling.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Chemistry and Biochemistry



Date Submitted


Document Type





Cinchona alkaloids, beta-Hydroxy alpha-amino acids, Sonogashira coupling, Heck reaction, Asymmetric aldol reaction, natural products, Celogentin C, oxidative coupling, peptides, radical reaction, total synthesis