Research in the O’Duill group will focus on the development of novel reagents and reactions for the selective construction and destruction of difficult C—X bonds. Initially, three areas of interest will be investigated:

Deuteration of bioactive molecules is a crucial tool for biomolecular analysis techniques (neutron diffraction, 2D NMR, hydrogen exchange mass spectroscopy) and the pharmaceutical industry (ADME studies, deuterated drugs). A diverse toolkit of synthetic methods is necessary to selectively install deuterium isotopes in the molecules and positions of interest.

Super-electrophilic alkylating reagents: The development of less hazardous, more reactive alternatives to complement and extend the reactivity of currently known alkylating agents—especially for application in medicinal chemistry—is an exciting challenge.

Recycling perfluorinated compounds: Due to the great strength of the C—F bond, certain perfluorinated compounds are highly stable environmental pollutants that have been shown to be toxic to humans and are now listed under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Chemicals.

Our group’s goal is to address these challenges using catalytic methods. The interdisciplinary nature of our research projects would allow students to gain experience in synthetic organic, physical organic, organometallic, and fluorine chemistry, as well as related disciplines in and outside of chemistry.