MIT Chemistry Directory

Rick Lane Danheiser

A C Cope Professor of Chemistry

Current investigations in our laboratory focus on the development of new synthetic methods and strategies, and their application in the total synthesis of natural products and biologically important compounds. A major thrust of our current research is the design and invention of new cycloaddition and annulation strategies for the synthesis of carbocyclic and heterocyclic compounds. Many of the methods under study involve the application of unusual molecules and highly reactive species as building blocks for the construction of important classes of organic compounds. We are particularly interested in the chemistry of highly unsaturated conjugated molecules (such as vinylketenes, iminoacetonitriles, conjugated enynes, and vinylallenes), and unusually strained molecules such as arynes, cycloalkynes, and cyclic allenes.

 

The utility of the methods under development is being tested and refined through their application in the total synthesis of biologically active natural products. Recent accomplishments include the total synthesis of the antitumor antibiotic ascochlorin, the azulene antiulcer drug egualen sodium, and neurotoxic alkaloids isolated from poison dart frogs. Considerable progress has also been made toward the first practical synthesis of glycinoeclepin A, the hatching stimulus agent of the soybean cyst nematode, a major agricultural pest. Other studies focus on the synthesis of unusual polycyclic aromatic systems with novel electronic and spectroscopic properties. Finally, another area of research in our lab focuses on the development of environmentally benign methods for organic synthesis. In this connection, for example, we are investigating the utility of supercritical water and carbon dioxide as reaction media for organic synthesis.

 

PUBLICATIONS

Contact Information

t: 6172531842
e: DANHEISR@MIT.EDU

Office

18-298

Education

B.A. 1972, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK
M. 1975, HARVARD UNIVERSITY
Ph.D. 1978, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Administrative Assistant

Shannon Wagner

Email: wagners@mit.edu

Tel: 617-452-2931

Room 18-295

77 Massachusetts Ave.

Cambridge, MA 02139