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Jeremy Robertson
Professor of Chemistry
Director of Graduate Studies for Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Tutorial Fellow in Organic Chemistry at Brasenose College

M.A. (Oxford, 1983–1987), Part II project with Prof. Laurence Harwood
D.Phil. (Oxford, 1987–1990), with Prof. Sir Jack Baldwin
Post doc. (Columbia University, New York), with Prof. Gilbert Stork

Independent research
My labs were initially housed in the Dyson Perrins Laboratory (1992 onwards) until relocating to the Chemistry Research Laboratory (CRL) in February 2004. I am one of the 'first wave' of group leaders at the Oxford Suzhou Centre for Advanced Research – OSCAR – which opened in autumn 2018 then became operational for active research in mid-2019.

Other activities
I was a Business Fellow with the London Technology Network (2008–2010) and, in 2012, co-founded OxSynC for connecting external researchers with Oxford's synthetic chemists.

Research overview

Natural product synthesis
My group pursues natural product synthesis problems that promote the invention of new synthetic strategies and methodologies, provide stringent tests of our newly-developed methods, and generate synthetic analogues for collaborative projects requiring compounds with a specified biological activity. Particular areas of focus include targets with relevance to cancer chemotherapy, neurodegenerative disorders, and cognition.

Synthetic methodology
We develop mechanism-based hypotheses in order to discover new chemistry and gain insights into reaction selectivity and efficiency. We are especially interested in free radical chemistry and electron transfer mediated processes, pericyclic cascades, ‘high chemical potential’ intermediates, and catalysis for complexity generation.

Collaborative projects
Our group collaborates with the Wong group to develop efficient routes to synthetic targets using a combination of chemical synthetic reagents and modified haem iron enzymes. In a separate project we provided synthetic chemistry input into the development of nutraceuticals in collaboration with Prof. Kieran Clarke and her company TdeltaS; the first product is now on the market.

Working in the group
These areas act cooperatively and students in my group receive a broad training in mechanistic organic chemistry, multistep synthesis, methodology development, chemoenzymatic synthesis, and the interface of organic synthesis and biological systems. See also here.