Krill Prize Laureate 2018
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Mechanism-driven regulation of reactivity and selectivity in organocatalysis
From energy conversion, through the production of materials, to the synthesis of natural products, pharmaceutics, and fine-chemicals – catalysts have been key to advancing our modern lifestyle. However, most industrial catalytic processes rely on toxic, expensive metals that have to be rigorously removed from the products. Organo¬catalysis offers a greener alternative, but often requires high catalyst loading,
suffers from repro-ducibility issues, and is tailored for a limited range of substrates. To overcome these limitations and unlock organocatalysts’ full potential, it is necessary to uncover the structural origin of their reactivity and selectivity, thereby providing a knowledge-driven approach to their design and optimization. The Milo research group synergistically integrates experimental, computational, and statistical methods to design and construct modular organocatalyst libraries and provide a powerful strategy for discovering and optimizing selective catalytic reactions.