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Organic Synthesis

Research in the Ritter group focuses on the development of novel reaction chemistry. We seek to discover molecular structure and reactivity that can contribute to interdisciplinary solutions for challenges in science. The lab focuses on synthetic organic and organometallic chemistry, complex molecule synthesis, and mechanistic studies to develop practical access to molecules of interest in catalysis, medicine, and materials.


 

Tobias Ritter

Prof. Dr. Tobias Ritter

since 2015
Director at the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Mülheim / Ruhr, Germany
2015-2017
Visiting Professor, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA
2012-2015
Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA
since 2011
Founder and Scientific Advisor, SciFluor, USA
since 2010
Chemist at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA
2010-2012
Associate Professor for Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA
2006-2010
Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA
2004-2006
Post-Doctoral Fellow, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, USA
2004
Ph.D. Organic Chemistry, ETH Zürich, Schweiz
1999
Master of Science, Technische Universität Braunschweig
1975
born in Lübeck, Germany
2013
RSC Fluorine Chemistry Prize
2012
Klung-Wilhelmy-Weberbank Preis, Berlin, Germany
2011
Popular Science Brilliant 10 Award
2011
Camille Dreyfus Teacher Scholar Award
2011
BASF Catalysis Award
2010
Roslyn Abramson Award for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduates
2010
AstraZeneca Excellence in Science Award
2010
Amgen Young Investigator Award
2010
Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship
2010-2015
NSF Career Award
2010-2013
Air Force Young Investigator Award
2010-2012
Eli Lilly Grantee Award
2009
Bayer Early Excellence in Science Award
2009-2011
Massachusetts Life Science Center Young Investigator Award
2008-2011
Smith Family Award for Excellence in Biomedical Research
2008
Milton Fund Award, Harvard Medical School
2007
Thieme Chemistry Journals Award
2004-2006
Postdoctoral Fellowship DAAD
2000-2002
Kekulé-Scholarship of the Fond der Chemischen Industrie e.V.
2000
Winterfeld Award - Towards the Total Synthesis of Teretifolione B
1998-1999
Fellowship of the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation
1997-1998
Scholarship of the Swiss National Science Foundation
1997
Scholarship of the European Union
1996-1997
Scholarship of the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation
 

Research Topics

Functional Group-Tolerant Late-Stage Carbon–Fluorine Bond Formation

Functional Group-Tolerant Late-Stage Carbon–Fluorine Bond Formation

Redox Catalysis

Redox Catalysis

Many of the most useful synthetic molecules, including numerous pharmaceuticals, contain fluorine due to the desirable unique properties of fluorinated molecules. Carbon–fluorine bond formation is a challenging chemical transformation, especially in the context of general, functional group-tolerant late-stage fluorination of arenes. Our approach to carbon–fluorine bond formation is based on the use of high-valent transition metal fluorides via oxidation of aryl transition metal complexes with electrophilic fluorination reagents. A long-term goal of our research is the development of new methods for the synthesis of small-molecule tracers for positron emission tomography (PET), a powerful imaging technique to study biological processes in vivo. The conceptual advance of our approach is the implementation of new organometallic, organic, and inorganic chemical reactivity as solutions to challenges of interest to the biomedical community. Ultimately, we envision engaging in translational research through new and existing collaborations with physicians and imaging experts to affect the broadest possible impact of our science.

Carbon–fluorine bond formation via reductive elimination is a rare process. We have reported the first isolation of a high-valent palladium fluoride, which can undergo carbon–fluorine reductive elimination. Our work describes the first reductive elimination of an aryl fluoride from a transition metal complex. We identified that C–F reductive elimination proceeds efficiently from aryl Pd(IV) fluoride complexes, stabilized by pyridyl-sulfonamide ancillary ligands. We propose that the pyridyl-sulfonamide ligand plays a crucial role for facile and efficient C–F bond formation.

 

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