Dr Matthew J. Cook
MChem (University of Sheffield), 2001
PhD (University of Bristol), 2005
Lecturer in Organic Chemistry
Tel: + 44 (0) 28 9097 4682
Fax: + 44 (0) 28 9097 6524
Natural Product Synthesis
Transition Metal Catalysis
Dr Matthew Cook graduated from the University of Sheffield with an MChem degree (first class honours) in 2001. He then moved to the University of Bristol to conduct his PhD under the tutelage of Professor Timothy Gallagher studying new stereoselective methods for C-glycosidation reactions and applying these towards the total synthesis of neodysiherbaine A. Following his PhD, he then travelled to Colorado State University where he undertook postdoctoral research with Professor Tomislav Rovis for 3 years. To conduct this he was awarded a prestigious and competitive American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship. During this time he developed new enantioselective methods for alkylative anhydride desymmetrisations and used this to construct the entire carbon framework of ionomycin. He then returned to the UK and conducted a second postdoctoral stint with Professor Anthony Barrett at Imperial College London. During this time he work on a cancer medicinal chemistry programme designing, synthesising and developing novel and selective cyclin-dependant kinase (CDK) inhibitors for the treatment of breast and colon cancer. In May 2009, he moved to his present position at Queen’s Univeristy Belfast where he currently holds the position of Lecturer of Organic Chemistry.
We are actively developing new cascade pathways to build molecular complexity in a step and atom efficient manner. We are particularly focussing our efforts on sigmatropic processes to develop transformations that can define multiple stereogenic centres in a single operation. These complex processes will be examined in great detail with mechanistic data being collected to help improve the reaction.
The development of these processes will lead to new strategies for the synthesis of complex molecules, both natural products and pharmaceutical targets. Our aim is to develop truly useful methods that are general in their scope with good functional group tolerance negating the use of protecting groups and multiple oxidation state changes.
New Enantioselective Transition Metal Catalysis
Several new enantioselective transition metal catalysed reactions are being developed within our laboratory. These include new reactions that proceed via π-allylic intermediates and hydrometallation reactions.
Sustainable Oxidation Catalysis (in collaboration with Dr M Muldoon, QUB)
In collaboration with Dr Mark Muldoon at QUB, we are developing new copper based oxidation methods for the synthesis of a variety of heterocycles. These catalysts use atmospheric air as the terminal oxidant and combined with the abundant catalyst generate a more sustainable process than other methods.
We are working towards the synthesis of various natural products and pharmaceutical agents using our methodology describe above. These include: