Dieter Seebach

ETH Zurich


Election Year: 2007
Primary Section: 14, Chemistry
Membership Type: Foreign Associate

Research Interests

The center of my interest is Organic Synthesis and Stereochemistry. Originally, we have worked in the field of synthetic methodology involving sulfur-, selenium-, fluoro-, nitroso-, and nitro-organic compounds, as well as organometallic derivatives of Li, Si, Sn, Ti, and Zr. The X-ray crystal structures of Li-enolates, of Li-dithianes and of other Li-derivatives were determined, and the importance of their aggregation was recognized. Early on, we also employed enzymes and microorganisms for the preparation of enantiomerically pure compounds (EPC). The TADDOLs were invented and became a general chiral auxiliary system in the broadest sense of the word. Techniques for electrolysis, for carrying out reactions on preparative scale at temperatures down to -150 degree Celsius, and for immobilizing chiral ligands for organometallic reagents on controlled-pore glass were invented. Other fields of research have been chiral dendrimers, and the biopolyesters PHB/PHA. Concepts and terms such as umpolung, "chiral pool", meso-trick, EPC synthesis, sterically protected but electronically effective functional groups, self-regeneration of stereocenters, like/unlike have first been used in papers published by our group. Most recently the world of Beta- and Gamma- peptides was explored; they consist of homologated proteinogenic amino acids. Within less than ten years Beta-peptides have evolved as a totally new class of unnatural peptidic oligomers with most surprising chemical and biological properties and with applications in medicinal chemistry.

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