Date of Award

Spring 5-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Trudell, Mark L.

Second Advisor

Jursic, Branko

Third Advisor

Rick, Steven

Fourth Advisor

Wiley, John B.


Amines are ubiquitous in nature and serve a variety of functions in living organisms. Because of this fact amines are of great biological and pharmaceutical interest. The iridium catalyst (pentamethylcyclopentadienyl) iridium dichloride dimer ([Cp*IrCl2]2) has been used in a number of ways to synthesize new carbon-nitrogen bonds. These studies were directed toward the development of a method for the iridium catalyzed N-alkylation of alpha-amino acid esters as well as the development of a strategy for synthesis of the natural product 275A.

We have optimized a method for the N-alkylation for alpha-amino acid esters. Using this method, we have N-alkylated a series of alpha-amino acid esters with a variety of alcohols. We have shown that the N-alkylation of the alpha-amino acid esters works consistently and gives the desired products in moderate to high yields. We have examined the effect of this method on the chiral center of the obtained products by analyzing their optical rotation. Evaluation of these specific rotations indicated racemization was occurring but it is believed that any loss of the chiral center is due to the reaction conditions.

Amphibian alkaloids are of great interest to the pharmaceutical and academic communities due to their biological activities. Unfortunately, they are not naturally available in large quantities which makes total synthesis the most common method of generating these compounds for evaluation. One amphibian alkaloid class of interest to us are the Lehmizidines. These are bicyclic ring structures consisting of a 7-member and 5-member ring with a nitrogen bridgehead. The alkaloid, 275A, was selected as a target for a general synthetic approach. This synthetic approach required the synthesis of novel diols. The construction of these diols along with a method for the synthesis of the azepane ring is presented here.


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