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Department of Chemistry Seminar: Dr Andre Cobb

Britannia House, Guy’s Campus, London

5 Feb ARTICLE Chemistry Part of Department of Chemistry Seminar Series


Dr Andre Cobb                       


From hexanes to helices : An Asymmetric Odyssey


The primary interest of our group has been the development of new asymmetric synthetic methodology – primarily using organocatalysis. Partly by design, and partly through serendipity, unnatural amino acids have been a prevalent target in our studies. We have developed a variety of new methods – from making cyclic gamma-systems with very high enantioselectivity, through to acyclic delta amino acids – themselves dipeptide mimics. Recent focus has been on utilising some of our novel amino acid monomers towards the construction of unnatural peptides with the ability to fold into discrete structures such as helices. Known as ‘foldamers’, the ultimate aim of our work is to design these constructs to have some kind of function – starting of course with their potential use as asymmetric catalysts in their own right, with the hope of transferring stereogenic information via the chirality of the helix itself.


Andre obtained his first degree in Chemistry from King’s College London before undertaking doctoral work on asymmetric organozinc chemistry at UCL with Professor Charles Marson. After this he moved to the University of Cambridge to conduct postdoctoral research firstly with Professor Florian Hollfelder on the development of synthetic enzymes and then with Professor Steven V Ley CBE FRS where he developed asymmetric organocatalytic methodologies. He then went on to his first independent academic position at the University of Reading where his work won him a faculty research prize, as well as a Thieme Chemistry Journals award. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2012, and then moved to the Department of Chemistry back at his alma mater King’s College London in October 2016. Andre is also an Associate Editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry’s New Journal of Chemistry.


Room 106, Britannia House

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