Designing molecular catalysts and potential metallo-pharmaceuticals using well defined transition metal complexes

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Subscribing to the view of building ‘molecules with purpose’, we design and develop transition metal complexes for utility as initiators in homogeneous catalysis. We specialise in synthesising well-defined molecular catalysts for academically challenging and industrially relevant transformations through enhanced mechanistic understanding. Our interest is in the areas of the C-C and C-N bond forming reactions, lactide and olefin polymerisations, concerted tandem reactions, bifunctional catalysis and asymmetric catalysis.Catalyst designing is aided by detailed computational study that investigates the metal-ligand and metal-substrate interactions alongside generating reaction trajectories based on respective catalytic cycles. Ligand plays a crucial role in successful catalyst designing, and from this perspective, we have broadened the scope of catalytically successful N-heterocyclic carbene ligands, both in terms of structural diversity as well as catalytic applications.

Our other research interest focuses on developing transition metal complexes for a variety of biomedical applications, with particular emphasis on anticancer drugs. We aim at enhancing the potency of anticancer properties of the transition metal complexes based drugs by increasing its solubility in polar medium through incorporation of polar functionalities on the ligand backbone. Through this we seek to explore and extend the role of metals for biomedical applications. One of our interest is in promoting palladium as a substitute for the commonly used platinum for anticancer applications. Our theme is aligned with a ‘laboratory to clinic’ development through detailed synthetic manipulations in conjunction with comprehensive biological studies.