Continuous improvements in synthetic organic chemistry have facilitated the discovery and development of life-changing medicines, agrochemicals, and both synthetic and natural materials. These innovations, such as carbon-carbon and carbon-heteroatom bond formation, have provided access to extensive compound libraries. They have, however, biased the output of many drug discovery programs, since these transformations often deliver flat, two-dimensional molecular structures which sample only a narrow region of chemical space. Accessing three-dimensional aliphatic compounds, which are rich in sp3-carbon centers, will allow the creation of compound libraries containing a higher molecular shape diversity and potentially enhanced biological activities. Delivering such molecular architectures in an efficient and a selective manner is a tremendous challenge.

The key objective of our research is to develop new strategies that enable the preparation of a wide range of new complex structures while installing active functional groups which eventually will enable the access to libraries of active molecules. Such libraries are expected to be directly applied into medicinal, agrochemical and materials science.

In addition, we are interested in controlling the molecular shape of aliphatic complex structures. These compounds are gaining more attention recently owing to their unique properties and potential applications. Their flexible molecular shapes have effectively improved the studies on structure–activity relationship of lead compounds which have led to enhanced biological activity. However, challenges that are related to the preparation of these aliphatic species and, in particular, to the complexity in predicting and controlling their molecular shape have limited their utilizations. In that regard, we are interested to exploit the C–F bond as a conformational tool for the synthesis of shape-controlled complex structures.