The first project in this dissertation describes the use of microwave-promoted iminyl radical fragmentations to form functionalized nitriles. Nitrogen-centered radical chemistry is a useful tool to construct valuable C-N bonds commonly found in pharmaceuticals and biologically active molecules. Classically, these reactions require the use of toxic initiators and propagators. Iminyl radical chemistry has been gaining momentum as a means of avoiding these harsh conditions. This project utilizes the fragmentation of cyclic iminyl radicals via irradiation of O-phenyl oxime ethers to produce a synthetically useful nitrile tethered to an alkyl radical in the absence of metal catalysts and redox chemistry. The efficacy of this synthetic method was demonstrated by the diverse functionalization of estrone. We believe this useful chemistry can be a powerful tool when applied to both early and late-stage synthetic endeavors. The latter half of this dissertation focuses on the total synthesis of yaku'amide A, a natural product isolated from a marine sponge. This peptide contains potent anticancer activity and exhibits a novel, unique mode of action. Due to its scarcity in nature, comprehensive biological studies have remained elusive. The structure of yaku'amide A contains complex, unsymmetrical bulky dehydroamino acids such as E- and Z- dehydroisoleucine which pose a synthetic challenge. Despite the efficient strategy developed in our lab, the synthesis remains lengthy. Simpler symmetrical dehydroamino acids dehydrovaline and dehydroethylnorvaline were substituted in place to prepare two analogues of yaku'amide A that closely resemble the conformation of the natural peptide. Activity profile of the simplified analogues showed comparable potency to that of yaku'amide A.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Chemistry and Biochemistry



Date Submitted


Document Type





iminyl radical fragmentation, nitrogen-centered radicals, radical chemistry, yaku'amide A, dehydroamino acids