New DST-Funded Research Project in Organic Chemistry

May 8, 2009
School of Engineering, Amritapuri

Dr. Ani DeepthiThe Department of Science and Technology (DST) in New Delhi recently awarded a research grant to Dr. Ani Deepthi of the Dept of Chemistry at Amritapuri campus. The funding was awarded as part of DST’s Fast Track Scheme for Young Scientists.

Fast Track is a funding scheme of DST’s Science and Engineering Research Council. Doctorates below the age of thirty-five are eligible to apply. The aim is to help young scientists and research scholars begin their careers in their respective fields. Research proposals are examined by experts and recommended for approval.

Macrocyclic and carbocyclic constructions mediated by SET oxidations of styrenes, allenes and cyclopropanes — this was the title of the research proposal submitted by Dr. Ani. The research will be in the area of organic chemistry. Below is a synopsis of the work to be undertaken in the PI’s own words.


What is organic chemistry? Why are so many millions of people interested in it? The answer to these questions are all around us. Every living organism is made of organic compounds. The proteins, the DNA, the food that we eat, the medicines that we take, even the clothes we wear, are all made of organic compounds.

C-C BondAnyone with a basic curiosity about life and living organisms must develop some understanding of organic chemistry. Carbon (Atomic Symbol C) is the fundamental building block of organic compounds. The understanding of life processes and natural products as well as the manufacture of medicines and synthetic materials begins with an understanding of C-C bonds. Formation of C-C bonds is the most important of all reactions in organic syntheses.

Today, there are numerous ways to construct C-C bonds using different strategies and reagents. Scientists are engaged in researching newer and more effective methods. One of the more environment-friendly and less toxic methods of C-C bond formations is through oxidation reactions using Cerium (IV) ammonium nitrate (CAN). This reagent is soluble in aqueous as well as in organic solvents and is inexpensive.

CANThe versatility of this reagent has been the focus of research of many groups all over the world. There are over 300 research publications on this subject. This proposal aims to explore the reactivity of this reagent towards the construction of macrocyclic and carbocyclic frameworks. CAN mediated formation of heterocyclic compounds like furans by the oxidation of styrenes will be utilized for the construction of macrocyclic crown ethers. Crown ethers are important molecules that have ether linkages encapsulating a cage inside, the size of which depends on the number of oxygen and carbon atoms. These cages can be used for encapsulation of different metal ions.

Oxidative additions of 1,3-dicarbonyl compounds to allenes will also be studied. The oxidative addition product from allene may be mechanistically rationalized to be probably a carbocycle, which again is an important motif in natural products.

See Also Project Summary

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