The magic of non-covalent interactions as been somewhat overlooked in complex molecule construction. It is the unexplored potential of these magical bonds that has inspired the Mattson team to dream up, design, and develop new families of non-covalent catalysts that may be able to help solve problems in the synthesis of complex targets. Here is a little bit of the history behind our story...
In 2006, Kondo and coworkers inspired Anita, who was a graduate student at the time, with their intriguing report of silanediols hosting anions through hydrogen bonding interactions (see the first page on the right). The silanediol functional group is interesting alone, but the observation that it could recognize anions presented an irresistible opportunity to develop an entirely new family of catalysts that could enable reactions that are otherwise inaccessible.
It was not until 2009, when Anita started her independent at Ohio State University, that the Mattson team began working on silanediol catalyzed reactions. At the time the research program began, there was nothing in the literature about silanediols catalyzing reactions through hydrogen bonds. Anita and Andrew (one of the first graduate students in the Mattson team) took on the challenge of synthesizing silanediols and studying their abilities as non-covalent catalysts.