Center for Molecular Design and Synthesis

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Center History and Current Status


1991. 03: Established the organosynthetic research laboratory, Kangwon National University
1995–2019: Held the chemistry symposium on heterocyclic compounds (held 44 times in total over 25 years)
2014–2019: Held industry-university cooperative seminars (held 23 times in total)
2002–2005: Conducted projects for leading global scientists
2006–2011: Conducted the National Research Laboratory (NRL) project
2011–Present: Conducted creative research projects
2015–2018: Conducted innovative regional projects as well as creative manpower training projects
2015–2017: Held “Frontiers in Organic Chemistry” (3 times)
2013. 11: Won the Dong-gok Awards (Dong-gok Social Philanthropic Foundation)
2009. 08: Won the prize of the month for science technology professionals (Ministry of Education, Science and Technology)
2012–Present: Official member of the Korean Academy of Science and Technology
2016. 01: Held the 8th Korea-China Organic Chemistry Symposium
2019. 04: Won the Korean Chemical Society academic awards
2020. 01-12: To serve as chairman of the Korean Chemical Society’s Organic Chemistry Division
2017–2018: Member of the Korean Academy of Science and Technology’s science faculty committee
2019–Present: Member of the Korean Academy of Science and Technology’s science faculty committee (head of Division 3)

Current Status

- Contact: 033-250-8493 / 033-250-7323

- Occupied Space

Bldg Room Area(Number of Room) Purpose
Building No.1, College of Natural Science 413 22.0㎡ - Directir’s Office
401 97.2㎡ - No.1 Joint Laboratory
402 32.4㎡
419 49.6㎡ - No.2 Joint Laboratory
Building No.2, College of Natural Science 401 24.8㎡ - Administration Office
402 24.8㎡ - No.1, Analytical Reagent Laboratory
403 24.8㎡ - No.2, Analytical Reagent Laboratory
Building No.4, College of Natural Science 406 40.4㎡ - Chemistry equipment Laboratory
Total 316.0㎡

Center Characteristics & Financial Operation

Center Characteristics

Kangwon National University laboratory

Financial Operation

Governmental funding (for creative research projects, 2011–Present)

Foundation Purpose

In modern science, three core concepts typically pursued in research are efficiency, eco-friendliness, and energy. According to reports, most research conducted on problems related to fuel, energy, and the environment as well as the development of eco-friendly processes in the precision chemical industry (including the petrochemistry sector) focus on the development of exceptionally efficient catalysts. Moreover, one third of products consumed by mankind need catalyst processes in their production lines. Accordingly, the development of efficient organic reactions through a high-efficiency, eco-friendly catalyst system is directly linked with the global competitiveness of the national industry, including the precision chemical industry. Advanced countries continue their investment in the R&D of highly efficient and eco-friendly catalysts to improve the competitiveness of their national industry in the 21st century. This center aims to secure fundamental original technologies through research on the development of efficient organic reactors based on an eco-friendly catalyst system, thereby helping the domestic chemical industry to attain a higher level of global competitiveness.

Foundation Background and Necessity

Foundation Background

The environment, energy, and resources are among the most critical issues that mankind must address in the 21st century. In particular, chemicals and the chemical industry are criticized for the emission of various pollutants, including carbon dioxide, that contribute to global warming. In addition, given the recent territorial dispute over the Senkaku (Diaoyu in Chinese) Islands between China and Japan, rare earth minerals and rare metals from China have become subject to an embargo, resulting in many countries around the globe showing signs of weaponizing their resources. Meanwhile, there is an ever-increasing and varied demand for materials that possess characteristics and functions necessary for use in everyday human life and processes. In the 21st century, demand is high for various pollutant-reducing reactions and atom-economical catalyst reactions that consume fewer resources in chemical processes and in the chemical industry. Accordingly, it is necessary to advance efforts on a national level to address the global issues stated above and also to advance strategies to secure fundamental original technologies in those areas. To address these current challenges, this research team suggests the following original research project, with a focus mainly in the area of green, sustainable, or renewable chemistry: “Selective conversion and application of organic molecules with late transition metals as a catalyst.” Since 2005, 55 papers relating to organic chemistry have been released in Science and Nature journals, of which 21 (38%) were about organic reactions with transition metals as a catalyst. This fact indicates that the topic our research team suggests is of considerable importance in chemistry circles and thus requires intensive research. In this area, it is anticipated that breakthroughs are likely to be developed for global problems.
Over the past 10 years, many new academic journals relating to catalyst reactions have been published (e.g., Green Chemistry, Advanced Synthesis and Catalysis, ChemSusChem, Chem CatChem, and ACS Catalysis). Similarly, many papers are submitted to these journals; the impact factors signifying the quality of these journals are quite high [e.g., Green Chemistry (IF 5.836), Advance Synthesis and Catalysis (IF 5.187), ChemSusChem (IF 4.767), Catalysis Reviews (IF 7.765), and Journal of Catalysis (IF 5.288)], which indicates that the importance of catalyst reactions is widely recognized. As such, around the globe, the enthusiasm and interest in the research area of catalyst reactions utilizing transition metals are running higher than ever before. The necessity of research in this area is emphasized in Korea as well.

Necessity of Foundation

Organic chemistry focuses on carbon (atomic number 6) and is a basis for other areas such as BT, IT, and NT. However, in addition to carbon, there are approximately 110 other elements in the periodic table that have become core subjects of interest in modern science. This is because the covalent bond between carbons is so strong (about 100 kcal/mol) that compound syntheses with various chemical and physical properties are possible.
Organic chemistry is an academic field based on the diversity of compounds. Thus, the technology of catalyst organic reactions is a fundamental technology that is essential to the effective creation of various organic elements including natural substances, medical compounds, precision chemical products, and functional polymers. While several methods involving inter-carbon covalent bonds have been reported, the most important method is that of the catalyst organic reaction utilizing transition metals as the catalyst. This is supported by the fact that the largest number of named reactions are derived from catalyst reactions (e.g., Sharpless, Noyori, Grubbs, Stille, Suzuki-Miyaura, Heck, Trost-Tsuji, Negishi, Sonogashira, Kumada, Buchwald-Hartwig, Ullmann 등). In recently reported syntheses of natural substances, medical compounds, and functional polymers (OLED, etc.), reactions that do not use transition metals as a catalyst are quite rare. Indeed, the catalyst reaction technology is a core technology in the area of organic synthesis. In Korea, however, catalyst organic reactions as prominent as named reactions that reflect a core technology, or base technology, are yet to be developed. In clear contrast, many named reactions (e.g., Kumada, Suzuki-Miyaura, Sonogashira, Negishi, Hiyama, and Trost-Tsuji) have been developed in Japan. Therefore, to complement and overcome the weak points of existing catalyst reactions in Korea, there is an urgent need to develop new catalyst reactions that satisfy the conditions presented below. Similarly, in academic fields, to treat the aforementioned issues related to the environment, energy, and resources as the most important issues for mankind in the 21st century, comprehensive technological development of organic molecule conversion through transition metal catalysts that meet the conditions below is needed. Additionally, this technology should be utilized to the extent that industrial demand for substances which possess the characteristics and functions necessary for use in everyday human life can be met. From the perspectives of the national industry, the development of catalyst reactions through transition metals is of great importance. This area is essential for the future growth of the Korean precision chemical and medical industries. It is also closely linked to finding solutions for the global issues regarding the environment, energy, and resources.

Research and Task Area

Development of organic reactions through indium
Development of organic reactions through transition metals
Development of C-H binding reactions with organophosphorus elements utilized as the directing group
Development of organic reactions through carbene
Development of tandem reactions
Development of heterocyclic compound synthesis methods

Staff and Organizational Structure

Departments Staff
Organic synthesis research Center Director, Professor, Research Professor, Full-time researcher(Post Doc), Assistant Researcher
Participation Status of Adjunct Researcher(Full-time Faculty)

- As of May 01, 2019

No College Dept. Name Title Start of Participation
1 College of Biomedical Science Bio-Health Technology K.Y. Lee Prof. May. 2019
Participation of Full-time Researchers

- As of May 01, 2019

No College Dept. Name Title Start of Participation
1 College of Natural Science College of Chemistry &Biochemistry H.S Kim Research Prof. May. 2019
2 College of Natural Science College of Chemistry &Biochemistry J.Y Son Full-time Researcher May. 2019

Expected Effects

Expected Achievements

- Securing and patenting fundamental original technologies for novel catalyst organic reactions through transition metals

- Developing catalyst organic reactions as prominent as named reactions to secure next-generation organic reaction technologies

- Overcoming limitations in the area of catalyst organic reactions to compete with creative ideas

- Utilizing transition metals for eco-friendly catalyst reactions

- Advancing to the level of asymmetric reactions to secure next-generation base technologies

- Diversifying and dimension substrate materials to establish various organic compound synthesis methods

- Achieving significant scientific advancement by converting multi-stage reaction processes into a single-stage process

- Securing original technologies to significantly improve efficiency, selectivity, and practicality in the field of precision synthesis and in the chemical industry

- Contributing significantly to the synthesis of biologically active substances and electronic materials related to semiconductors, displays, and OLEDs, thereby increasing the potential to create future industries

- Establishing an academy–industry cooperative system through precision chemistry process development

1 Gangwondaehak-gil, Chuncheon-si, Gangwon-do, Republic of Korea (24341)
TEL: +82-33-250-8936, FAX: +82-33-259-5525

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