Facile chemical synthesis using simple molecules, such as water, hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and methanol, as reagents for the sustainable production of valuable chemicals is a long-standing challenge. In this talk, I will describe our recent effort towards this goal in developing thermal catalytic and photocatalytic methods using water and alcohols. We have demonstrated that a transfer hydration strategy proved to be effective in developing efficient methods for transition-metal-catalyzed hydration of alkynes and nitriles. I will also describe the selective conversion of alcohols and amines based on the use of heterogeneous photocatalysts as tools for organic synthesis.
Hiroshi Naka was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1980. He received his B.S. degree in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Tokyo in 2003, followed by his M.S. degrees in pharmaceutical sciences and clinical pharmacy from the University of Tokyo in 2005. His doctoral research was carried out under the guidance of Professor Masanobu Uchiyama (the University of Tokyo and RIKEN) at the University of Tokyo, Tohoku University, and Nagoya University. He obtained his Ph.D. in 2008 from Nagoya University with the approval of Professors Shigehiro Yamaguchi, Kenichiro Itami, and Masanobu Uchiyama. During this period, he attended the Frie Universiteit Amsterdam as a visiting student (Professor Koop Lammertsma, in 2005) and worked as a research associate at Tohoku University with Professor Yoshinori Kondo (2006–2008). He moved to Nagoya University as an assistant professor in 2008 in the laboratory headed by Professors Ryoji Noyori and Susumu Saito. His current research focuses on the development of catalytic reactions for organic synthesis using simple substances and/or light.
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