Research

Our research focus on sustainable development by synthesis and catalysis. We use sustainable resources like natural products and carbon dioxide to solve important challenges to modern society like antimicrobial resistance and the development of a society independent of fossil resources.

Catalytic transformation of CO2

CO2 is commonly associated with environmental concerns, but this molecule harbors intriguing potential to be employed as a sustainable carbon source. With appropriate catalytic systems, CO2 can be converted to high-value products like fuels, fine chemicals, and pharmaceuticals. Our focus is to use carbon dioxide and to create energetically challenging C-C bonds to produce fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals such as aliphatic carboxylic acids. We have projects related to catalyst design, asymmetric synthesis and radiopharmaceutical synthesis. As part of the CHOCO group and the NordCO2 consortium we tightly combine experimental and computational studies in our work.
Related publications:
♦ Organometallics 2018, 941. Rhodium-Catalyzed Hydrocarboxylation: Mechanistic Analysis Reveals Unusual Transition State for Carbon-Carbon Bond Formation. doi: 10.1021/acs.organomet.7b00899;
♦ ACS Catalysis 2017, 7231. Enantioselective Incorporation of CO2: Status and Potential. UiT´s open research archive;

Antibiotic resistance breakers

In their latest report the WHO warns “A post-antibiotic era — in which common infections and minor injuries can kill — far from being an apocalyptic fantasy, is instead a very real possibility for the 21st century”. Carbapenem antibiotics, e.g. meropenem, are usually the last line of defence against otherwise drug-resistant bacterial infections. However, the continuous evolution of bacteria possessing carbapenem-destroying enzymes – carbapenemases – threatens the utility of meropenem and related antibiotics. We aim to develop antibiotic resistance breakers that prevent the carbapenemases from destroying the last-line antibiotics and thereby revitalize the antibiotics for clinical use. Our group has identified several compound classes with potential to be developed to carbapenemase inhibitors. As part of the LacZyme group we have develop inhibitors through structure-based drug design and fragment-based approaches.
Related publications:
♦ Eur. J. Med.Chem. 2018, 634. A focused fragment library targeting the antibiotic resistance enzyme – Oxacillinase-48: synthesis, structural evaluation and inhibitor design. UiT´s open research archive; 
♦ Eur. J. Med.Chem. 2017, 159. Metallo-β-lactamase inhibitors by bioisosteric replacement: preparation, activity and binding. UiT´s open research archive;

Natural product chemistry

The society relies on a continuous development of new drugs, either to replace older and less efficient drugs, or even more important, to address clinical needs that are unmet today. “Natural products play an important role in the development of drugs and it is estimated that approximately 80% of prescribed drugs today are either natural products or have been derived from natural products. Our work focuses on the development of efficient synthetic strategies of bioactive natural product and systematic modification of the original structure to gain an understanding of the structural features that are important for the desired biological activity.
Related publications: 
♦ Synlett 2018, 1303. Aldol condensations on a 3-alkylidene-2,5-diketopiperazine –  synthesis of two marine natural products. doi: 10.1055/s-0036-1591755
♦ Org. Biomol. Chem. 2016, 7570. Efficient and scalable synthesis of α,α-disubstituted β–amino amides. Open access! doi10.1039/C6OB01219A
♦ Org. Lett. 2015, 122. A Concise Total Synthesis of Breitfussin A and B. Open access! doi: 10.1021/ol503348n