We are interested in the total synthesis of extremophile derived natural products and the development of new synthetic methodology inspired by them. It is our belief that the conditions under which such organisms exist e.g. high/low temperature, high/low pH, high salinity etc. results in them having to develop chemistry which we would not consider ‘normal’, and that this results in the production of unusual natural products or relying on reaction pathways hitherto unseen. In essence, they considerably extend the conditions under which we could consider biomimetic synthesis to be directly biologically relevant. We believe that this can inspire the development of a range of new processes. For example we have recently developed methods for the synthesis of spiroketals based upon a hetero-Diels-Alder reaction between an ortho-quinone emthide and an exo-enol ether. We are endeavouring to apply these methods to a pair of complex natural products.
The group has recently completed the synthesis of its first extremophile natural product, bacillamide B and is actively pursuing others at the moment.