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David Zhigang Wang

New Electronic Helix Theory-guided Rational Design of Asymmetric Catalytic Systems: We recently developed a new electronic helix theory for molecular chiralities and chiral interactions. It shows that complex molecular chiralities can be generalized on the basis of their inherent electronic helicities, and that the fundamental principle underlying chiral induction and recognition is the conservation of helical asymmetry, i.e., a chiral catalyst or host preferentially induces or recognizes chirality of the same helicity. The theory agrees well with all the major experiments reported since the birth of asymmetric synthesis in 1960s, accommodates results that conventional steric theories cannot, and promises predictive power. From a conceptually novel scenario, it reveals that effects in stereochemical control conventionally attributed to steric hindrance instead have an electronic basis. Despite tremendous progress achieved in enantioselective catalysis in the past several decades, endeavors in this frontier field remain largely empirical. The hallmark of our program will therefore keenly focus on demonstrating how this electronic theory could guide design and discovery of broadly useful enantioselective processes from a more rational approach.

Total Synthesis of Bio-active Natural Products: Another particular emphasis of our program is to explore new strategies in total synthesis of natural products that possess considerable stereochemical complexity and significant therapeutic values. The target molecules under our current concern are Longeracinphyllin A, Daphnilongeranin B, and Dapholongamine B.