Biocatalysts for New-to-Nature Reactions: Engineered Carbene Transferases for Selective Carbon-Carbon Bond Formation

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Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Speaker: Prof. Rudi Fasan, Department of Chemistry, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY


Expanding the reaction scope of biological catalysts beyond the realm of enzymatic transformations occurring in nature can offer new opportunities for the exploitation of biocatalysis for chemical synthesis. In this lecture, we will present recent progress made by our group toward the design, investigation, and application of engineered hemoproteins for catalyzing a biological carbene transfer reaction. These efforts have recently led to the development of efficient and stereoselective biocatalysts for the asymmetric construction of carbon-carbon and carbon-heteroatom bonds via carbene insertion into olefins, heteroatom-hydrogen bonds, and C—H bonds. These biocatalysts could be successfully applied for the stereoselective synthesis of chiral building blocks and drug molecules at the gram scale. Presentation of these results will be complemented with a discussion of our current understanding of the mechanism of these reactions and of the structural determinants of reactivity and stereoselectivity in this new class of ‘carbene transferases’.


Rudi Fasan

Rudi Fasan is professor of chemistry and Andrew S. Kende Endowed Chair in Organic and Synthetic Chemistry at the University of Rochester. He holds a BS degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Padua (Italy) and a PhD in organic chemistry from Prof. John Robinson group at the University of Zurich (Switzerland). After a postdoctoral experience with Prof. Frances Arnold at Caltech, he joined the University of Rochester in 2008. His research group focuses on the development of new biocatalytic strategies for asymmetric synthesis via ‘new-to-nature’ chemistry, chemoenzymatic strategies for synthesis and late-stage C-H functionalization of complex molecules, and macrocyclic peptides for modulation of protein and RNA function.

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