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Dr Uwe Schneider

Dr Uwe Schneider
Lecturer in Organic Chemistry / Asymmetric Catalysis
Room 227

University of Edinburgh
Joseph Black Building
David Brewster Road

0131 650 4718

Research Interests: 
'Green' Chemistry; Asymmetric Catalysis; Elements in their Unusually Low-Oxidation & Low-Valence States; Underexplored or Unrecognized LEWIS Base & Acid & Ambiphilic Catalysts; Ambiphilic Strong-Bond Activation in Small Molecules

I was born and raised in Würzburg, and studied Chemistry in Würzburg and Marburg, Germany, and in Lille and Lyon, France. After obtaining a Ph.D. degree working with Professors Xavier Pannecoucke and Jean-Charles Quirion at IRCOF in Rouen, France (2003), I moved in 2004 to the University of Tokyo, Japan, to join the group of Professor Shu Kobayashi as a JST-Postdoctoral Research Associate. Subsequently, I was appointed as an ERATO Group Leader (2006-2007) and an Assistant Professor (2007-2011), before taking up my present position in September 2011. Recently, I have been the recipient of two GCOE Overseas Lectureship Awards (2008 and 2010), a GCOE Chemistry Innovation Grant to Young Principal Investigators (2009-2010), and a Thieme Chemistry Journal Award (2011).

Catalysis is an important 'green' key technology in the 21st century, because it is concerned with environment, health, and safety - and thus our society in general. Further significant developments in the field of catalysis rely on the discovery of innovative catalysts, the invention of novel modes for catalytic activation of strong bonds, and the careful elucidation of reaction intermediates and mechanisms involved.

Fundamental studies toward these goals are worthwhile, because unprecedented reactivity and unique selectivity may be uncovered, ultimately leading to new concepts and perspectives in chemistry.

We contribute to this endeavour with an innovative program directed toward the design and development of novel catalysts, with the ultimate goal of streamlining organic synthesis via previously underexplored or unrecognized catalysis. Clearly, we will increase the efficiency of existing reactions, find unprecedented reactivity and selectivity, enable challenging bond formations, and invent fundamentally new reactions.

Another focus of our research is the catalytic activation of strong bonds in small molecules and the development of unprecedented, selective bond transformations in water or alternative 'green' solvents.

The overall theme of our research program is to explore chemical elements in their unusually low-oxidation or low-valence states, because these molecules potentially display intriguing properties readily exploitable in catalysis. These features include 'hidden' LEWIS basicity or acidity and unique LEWIS-ambiphilicity (= 'switchable' acid - base character at a single element center in view of unprecedented dual catalytic activation modes).

The candidates we examine comprise specific low-toxic metals and non-metals. This innovative concept requires critical ligand and counterion design and control for expression and exploitation: (i) in catalysis, (ii) for small molecule activation, and (iii) in 'green' organic media.


Boron-Based Pro-Nucleophiles in Catalytic Asymmetric C(sp3)—Allyl Cross-Couplings U. Schneider, Y.-Y. Huang, A. Chakrabarti, H. T. Dao, N. Morita, S. Kobayashi Pure Appl. Chem. 2012, 84, 2417 (account)

Low-Oxidation State Indium-Catalyzed Carbon—Carbon Bond Formation U. Schneider, S. Kobayashi Acc. Chem. Res. 2012, 45, 1331 (account)

A Catalytic Asymmetric Borono Variant of Hosomi-Sakurai Reactions with N,O-Aminals Y.-Y. Huang, A. Chakrabarti, N. Morita, U. Schneider, S. Kobayashi, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2011, 50, 11121 (communication)

Indium(I)-Catalyzed Asymmetric Allylation, Crotylation, and α-Chloroallylation of Hydrazones with Rare Constitutional and High Configurational Selectivities A. Chakrabarti, H. Konishi, M. Yamaguchi, U. Schneider, S. Kobayashi, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2010, 49, 1838. (communication)

Catalytic Use of Indium(0) for Carbon—Carbon Bond Transformations in Water: General Catalytic Allylations of Ketones with Allyl Boronates U. Schneider, M. Ueno, S. Kobayashi J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2008, 130, 13824 (communication)