Natural Products-Assisted Organic Synthesis


The project capitalizes on the complementary expertise of its units in catalysis, natural products chemistry and biotransformation to expand the pool of natural products-derived catalysts for organic synthesis and to access a selection of compounds of biomedical relevance. The activities are sorted out in two WPs. The first one (WP1) is focused on the expansion of the pool of natural products used in catalysis, while the second one (WP2) capitalizes on natural-products catalysis and/or biocatalysis to access specific classes of bioactive compounds.

The fundamental rationale for WP1 is the observation that, while natural products are at the basis of enantioselective catalysis, the number of natural products used for these purposes is limited, and basically based on a mid-19th century inventory that has little evolved since then. On the other hand, there is no shortage of natural products of interest for catalysis that are commercially available (alginates, fucose), that can be obtained from agricultural waste (cucurbitin, gossypol) or that can be prepared as designer analogues by straightforward synthesis (peptidomimetics, polycyclic isoprenoid ketones). WP2 is focused on the use of natural products-assisted catalysis or biotransformation to access various classes of bioactive compounds. In many cases, these activities will also provide the opportunity to validate the catalysts developed in WP1 in a context of bioactivity-directed synthesis.

By declining the concept of catalysis in terms of discovery and application, and by addressing the preparation of a diversity of compounds with distinct bioactivity, the project is expected to provide a stimulating and multifaceted milieu to highlight the centrality of chemistry in molecular sciences.

Project duration: 25/4/2022 – 24/4/2025


Alma Mater Studiorum, Università di Bologna (Prof. Luca Bernardi)


Università degli studi Carlo Bo (Urbino)

Università del Piemonte Orientale (Novara)

Università degli studi di Salerno (Salerno)

Istituto di Chimica Biomolecolare, ICB (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche)

Funding Department: 139114.00 €