My research program is directed towards the creation, understanding and application of methods within organic synthesis.
Catalysis. Our group has a long-standing interest in catalysis within synthetic organic chemistry. Students interested in catalysis and synthesis have the opportunity to work within the CREATE Sustainable Synthesis Industrial program.
• CREATE Sustainable Synthesis: the construction of medicinally relevant heterocycles using transition metal catalysis
• Ligand Design: collaboratively with Professor Derek Gates, we have designed a set of chiral, phosphaalkene (two-coordinate P) ligands (PhAk-Ox, PhAk-phen-Ox, PhAk-pyr-Ox) for use in catalysis and macromolecular chemistry.
• DMAP catalyzed cyclizations to form tetrahydroxanthones
• Metal Catalyzed Annulation: Pt(II), Ag(I), Au(I) catalyzed cyclizations onto alkynes. High yielding, mild, multibond forming processes to form complex heterocycles.
Molecule Synthesis. We are always interested in the total synthesis of natural products and natural product-like molecular structures. Examples: cladionamides, fawcettidine, nitiol, fasicularin
• Function Oriented Synthesis: at times it may be appropriate to construct simpler analogs of natural products to examine bioactive mechanisms and/or medicinal chemistry. Projects such as this are typically collaborative with other researchers.
Students trained in synthetic organic chemistry think deeply about the relationships between molecular structure, chemical reactivity and reaction mechanism. Thus, they are typically well poised to pursue a number of avenues of scientific inquiry in academia and industry later in their careers.
About Gregory Dake: Gregory Dake was a B.Sc. (Hons) student at UBC a long time ago. He did undergraduate research with Professor Raymond Andersen. He then earned his Ph.D. at Stanford University with Professor Barry Trost, working on reactions catalyzed by ruthenium(II) complexes and nucleophilic phosphines. Postdoctoral work with Gilbert Stork at Columbia University (in the City of New York) on the total synthesis of quinine followed. Employment at UBC followed. He was awarded a Science Undergraduate Society Teaching Excellence award in 2010 and a UBC Killam Teaching Prize in 2012. He believes in the concept of deliberate practice in education. He was a UBC Sustainability Initiative Teaching and Learning Fellow in 2013. Currently is the Associate Head-Undergraduate Affairs in the Department of Chemistry. When he commutes, he often listens to the following podcasts: Doughboys, You Must Remember This, 99% Invisible, Switched on Pop, Pistol Shrimps Radio, The Axe Files, Frontline, Football Weekly with James Richardson, Rosenthal and Jeselnik Podcast (rjvp!), Men in Blazers, Freakonomics, Never Not Funny, The Secret History of Hollywood.