John C.-G. Zhao, Ph.D.
Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry; University of Würzburg, Germany
MS. in Organic Chemistry; Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
BS. in Applied Chemistry; Tongji University, China
Our main research focus is developing high stereoselective methods for the synthesis of molecules with significant biological activities. We are also keen at studying the biological activities of our synthesized molecules through our existing collaborations within UTSA and with UTHSCSA. Our main goal is to conduct organic reactions in a green manner while achieving simultaneously high selectivities (chemo-, regio-, diastereo- and enantioselectivity). Our current research areas include: Asymmetric reaction and catalysis, organophosphorus compounds, and medicinal chemistry. For example, one of our current research areas is to use modularly designed self-assemblies as the organocatalysts for asymmetric reactions (Scheme 1). This new method for the formation of organocatalysts drastically reduces the efforts required for the synthesis and modification of an organocatalyst. We are also interested in developing base-catalyzed enantioselective aldol and Mannich reactions via the enolate mechanism (Scheme 2) and applying MOFs as catalysts in organic reactions. Through a successful collaboration with the UTHSCSA, we have identified several new compounds possessing anti-cancer activities out of the phosphonate and isatin derivatives.