F. Dean Toste

F. Dean Toste

Title
Professor of Chemistry
Department
Dept of Chemistry
Phone
510.642.2850
Research Expertise and Interest
organometallic chemistry, organic, development of new synthetic methods, enantioselective catalysts, strategies for the synthesis of natural products, synthesis of complex molecules, formation of carbon-carbon and carbon-heteroatom bonds, olefins
Research Description

Research in my group is primarily aimed toward the development of catalysts and catalytic reactions and methods for organic synthesis. Ultimately, we are interested in using these methods to address problems in the synthesis of complex molecules possessing interesting structural, biological and physical properties. As such, our research program spans the areas of organic synthesis, catalysis, and organometallic chemistry.

Two mechanistically distinct applications of complexes with metal-ligand multiple bonds are illustrative of our approach. First, we envision a new approach to catalysis utilizing transition metal-ligand pi-bonds to activate sigma-bonds towards addition reactions. We are also examining metal-ligand and ancillary ligand combinations with the ultimate goal of developing enantioselective versions of these reactions. The concept of employing complexes containing metal-ligand multiple bonds as bifunctional catalysts for sigma-bond activation represents a dramatic shift from the traditional applications of metal-oxo complexes as catalysts for atom transfer (epoxidations, aziridinations and dihydroxylation) and for functional group oxidations. Second, we are developing metal-dioxo complexes as catalysts for three-component cycloadditions in which the oxo ligand is one of the partners. We are applying these cycloaddition reactions to the synthesis of natural products such as kallolide A (anti-inflammatory and cytotoxic properties).

A second area of research is the development of new catalysts and synthetic methods for the formation of carbon-carbon and carbon-heteroatom bonds. Of particular interest are addition reactions including additions to olefins and alkynes, alkene-alkene coupling and other atom transfer additions. For example, we are investigating catalytic methods for the addition of water and alcohols to enones as an alternative entry into aldol adducts. Our ultimate goal is to develop enantioselective variants of these reactions and utilize them in the synthesis of natural products such as epoxyquinol (antiangiogenic activity), the eudesmanolides (antitumor) and the amphidinolides (cytotoxic).

 

In the News

April 29, 2020

National Academy, Royal Society elect new UC Berkeley members

Chemist Dean Toste, biochemist James Hurley and astrophysicist Eliot Quataert are the latest University of California, Berkeley, faculty members elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences (NAS), a group that has provided policy guidance to the U.S. government since 1863.
June 15, 2015

Leaving on a Biofueled Jet Plane

The problem is simple to understand. Molecules of carbon and other greenhouse gases absorb heat. The more greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere, the warmer the atmosphere becomes, exacerbating global climate change. Solving the problem is not so simple, especially with regards to aviation – the source of two-percent of the annual greenhouse gas emissions from human activity.

October 10, 2012

The Best of Both Catalytic Worlds

Catalysts are substances that speed up the rates of chemical reactions without themselves being chemically changed. Industrial catalysts come in two main types – heterogeneous, in which the catalyst is in a different phase from the reactants; and homogeneous, in which catalyst and the reactants are in the same phase.

In the News

April 29, 2020

National Academy, Royal Society elect new UC Berkeley members

Chemist Dean Toste, biochemist James Hurley and astrophysicist Eliot Quataert are the latest University of California, Berkeley, faculty members elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences (NAS), a group that has provided policy guidance to the U.S. government since 1863.
June 15, 2015

Leaving on a Biofueled Jet Plane

The problem is simple to understand. Molecules of carbon and other greenhouse gases absorb heat. The more greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere, the warmer the atmosphere becomes, exacerbating global climate change. Solving the problem is not so simple, especially with regards to aviation – the source of two-percent of the annual greenhouse gas emissions from human activity.

October 10, 2012

The Best of Both Catalytic Worlds

Catalysts are substances that speed up the rates of chemical reactions without themselves being chemically changed. Industrial catalysts come in two main types – heterogeneous, in which the catalyst is in a different phase from the reactants; and homogeneous, in which catalyst and the reactants are in the same phase.

Featured in the Media

Please note: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or positions of UC Berkeley.
May 5, 2020
Linda Wang
Molecular and cell biology and biochemistry professor James Hurley and chemistry professor Dean Toste have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. According to this reporter: "Election to NAS, which is more than 150 years old, recognizes scientists and engineers for their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research and is considered one of the highest scientific honors bestowed in the US. This year, 23 of the newly elected are members of the American Chemical Society or work in areas related to the chemical sciences." For more on this, see our press release at Berkeley News.
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