Karl Schlögl-Preis 2019

Laura Castoldi wird für ihre Dissertation Organic Synthesis with Lithium Carbenoids at the Helm: Mechanistic Aspects and Applications in Synthetic Medicinal Chemistry ausgezeichnet.

What is organic chemistry? It is defined as chemistry of carbon, which in its true form seems to be a worthless thing (charcoal) but in fact it is the most important element bringing life to this planet. Carbon, together with hydrogen and other elements serves as basis to develop millions of molecules just by the rearrangement of the same atoms in different styles. The discovery of new compounds can bring revolution, innovation and progress to different industries: for example, textile, food and, not least, pharmaceutical. Every field of science, especially biological sciences, always on an advanced level, demands organic chemistry and, in this sense, it is in high interest of the scientific community to develop and improve new synthetic pathways in order to achieve robust and straightforward chemical transformation with wide applicability.

During her doctoral studies, Laura Castoldi has been giving contribution to several projects related to chemical transformations called homologation reactions. The aim of her research was to develop new homologation strategies, which enabled us to essentially grow a carbon chain by one constitutive unit (for example a methylenic group -CH2-). The challenge was not only to deliver always optimized new method in response to existing issues but also to open alternatives for future problems in creating new molecules.

In this context, Laura Castoldi and her team ultimately employed lithium carbenoid (LiCH2X, where X = Cl, Br, F, OMe, CN) as source of carbon atoms and different electrophiles as starting materials (Weinreb amides, isocyanates, α, β-unsaturated ketones). Historically, lithium carbenoids are considered very reactive and unstable organometallic species (which have to be prepared in the reaction mixture in the presence of the starting material) thus the challenge was to tune their reactivity and chemoselectivity thereby optimizing the reaction conditions. Being able to apply our strategy to a large number of different substrates means giving a contribution in the synthesis of useful intermediates or the potential drugs. For example, the team proposed a more economical and safer method in the preparation of the key intermediate of Nelfinavir, a drug of first choice in the treatment of AIDS.

Die Preisträgerin

Laura Castoldi absolvierte 2011 das Masterstudium in den Fächern Chemie und Pharmazeutische Technologie an der Universität Pavia, Italien. Anschließend war Laura Castoldi wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin an der Universität Madrid, Department of Organic and Pharmaceutical Chemistry. Ab 2013 begann Laura Castoldi mit dem Doktorasstudium im Fach Synthetische Medizinische Chemie am Department für Pharmazeutische Chemie der Universität Wien; der Abschluss erfolgte im April 2018. Im Rahmen des Studiums war Laura Castoldi  Marietta-Blau-Stipendiatin des OEAD und Visiting PhD-Student an Universität Madrid (September 2015 bis Feber 2016). Seit Juni 2018 hat Laura Castoldi eine Stelle als Postdoc am Department für Organische Chemie der Universität Stockholm.