About Masayuki Wasa
Preparation of various organic compounds of synthetic, biological, and medicinal significance in a cost-effective, efficient, reliable and selective manner is vital to advances in human health care. The central theme of the Wasa research program is the development of synthetic methods that possess these desirable attributes and allow rapid access to the important molecules from an array of readily accessible but otherwise chemically inert starting materials.
Synthesis of a target molecule can often be accelerated through the use of a catalyst system; the catalysts facilitate the union of poorly reactive starting materials by converting them into a set of highly reactive intermediates en route to the products. Nonetheless, key shortcomings limit the application of catalytic methods in complex molecule synthesis. Among the critical unresolved issues in the state-of-the-art is the catalyst deactivation, occurring through the formation of stable adducts within a reaction mixture of the catalysts, starting materials, intermediates and/or products. Such process can either result in deceleration or termination of the target reaction. To suppress catalyst deactivation, the range of starting materials is confined to those that pose minimum risk of generating the inert adducts.
The aim of our research team is to address these problems through the design and development of highly efficient and multi-functional catalyst systems that cannot be easily disabled/quenched. We aspire to demonstrate that our catalysts may be used for direct conversion of complex natural products, pharmaceuticals, and agrochemicals to a variety of derivatives of interest.