Chao-Jun Li – 2018 Killam Research Fellow

Umpolung Naturally Occurring Oxygenated Chemicals as Organomettallic-Reagent-Surrogates (OMRS)

McGill University

“If you recognize an important scientific problem and want to solve it, then keep trying.  There is a high chance that you will be able to come up with a solution one day.”

With the dwindling of fossil resources, under-utilized plant-based biomass waste could potentially provide alternative raw materials for future sustainable chemical products. This can be done through the process of biorefinery.  However, the main obstacle in converting cheap and abundant biomass into high-value chemicals is the lack of broadly applicable and efficient chemical tools that can transform highly functionalized biomass-based molecules directly and selectively.

During the two year period of his Killam Research Fellowship Dr. Chao-Jun Li will develop naturally abundant oxygenated biomass-based raw materials or feedstocks as widely applicable substitutes of classical organometallic reagents derived from organic halides. Contrary to the classical organometallic reagents, such new substitutes bypass organic halides and stoichiometric metal, and can tolerate air, water, and functional groups.

Photo: Royal Society of Canada


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