Dixon Group Research


The Dixon group invents new synthetically powerful methodologies - founded on new catalyst-enabled reactivity - that simplify the synthesis of structurally complex scaffolds, natural products and molecules of biological significance. We enjoy tackling reactions that have no precedent in the literature and strive to make the resulting methodologies attractive to synthesis chemists by developing protocols that are operationally simple, predictable, efficient, selective and scalable. A predominant focus of our group is catalytic stereoselective synthesis and we have published extensively on new, highly enantioselective methods development, total synthesis of complex natural products, new cooperative catalyst designs, and new cascade reactions.


Catalyst Development


We design and develop new, high-performance, multifunctional, cooperative catalysts that impart new reactivity and stereocontrol in a wide range of important and fundamental reaction types.


Methods Development


We develop new catalysed methodologies for the synthesis of important chiral building blocks and stereochemical motifs.


Total Synthesis of Complex Bioactive Natural Products


We develop new synthetic strategies, based on new catalyst-enabled reactivity and cascade sequences, to allow the rapid and stereocontrolled synthesis of complex natural products. Our mantra of invent; develop; apply puts a downward pressure on step count and simplifies the synthesis process. We devise short syntheses of complex molecules by combining key catalytic reactions with cascade sequences, and circumvent unforeseen problems by inventing new reactions.


Cascades for Molecular Complexity


We design and develop one-pot, single- and multi-catalyst triggered cascade processes to complex, stereochemically defined carbocycles and nitrogen-containing heterocycles.


Chemical Probes and Inhibitors


We design and develop chemical probes and inhibitors for epigenetic proteins. Where possible, the application of novel synthetic methodology developed in the group is used to access inhibitor matter in a rapid and/or stereoselective fashion.