Grela Research Members Gallery About

Current Research

Our holistic view on catalysis

Our research is focused on the synthesis of organometallic complexes having in mind their immediate applications as catalysts to the organic synthesis. We are trying to develop efficient and low-waste catalytic methods for selective synthesis of natural and pharmaceutically relevant compounds, transformation of biomass, sustainable production of fine chemicals, etc.

Cat Yin-Yang

Yin and yang of Cats and Transformations

Yin-yang artwork ©2018 Irina Mir, Valdivia, Chile (instagram/irmirx/)

Our goal is to develop innovative strategies and industry-friendly protocols that allow to produce various target molecules utilising the smallest possible amount of catalyst in a clean and environment friendly ways.

New concepts in catalysts design

Concepts developed by us, such as the EWG activation / EDG deactivation of the Hoveyda-Grubbs catalyst, novel Ru···E chelates (E = S, N, Br, I), 'sticky' ammonium-tags, were not only used in Warsaw to 'produce' scientific publications, but were almost instantly assimilated by industrial players that deployed them to the market.

Ru catalyst structures

Using these concepts we developed a number of innovative ruthenium catalysts that have been commercialised and are available e.g. from Strem Inc. USA, or TCI Japan.

Tailored ligands for better catalysis

New specialised catalysts developed by us are based on tailored NHC and CAAC lig­ands. The innovative ruthenium catalysts, being recently patented, contain i.a. unsymmetrical NHC ligands and exhibit perfect selectivity in challenging ethenolysis of oleic esters from biomass, in cross-metathesis of α-olefins and in RCM of dienes leading to macrocyclic musk-smelling compounds. A copper complex bearing chiral NHC ligand showed high enantioselectivity in the β-borylation reaction.

NHC ligands structures

New substrates, conditions and supportive technologies

We were lucky to introduce a number of partners for cross-metathesis reaction, such as vinyl sulfones and sulfoxides, P-chiral vinyl phosphine oxides, vinyl halides, allyl nitro compounds and more. We also developed new ring closing technique to obtain macrocyclic compounds, including macrocyclic musks, at relatively high concentration.

We have published a series of papers on the doping effect of fluorinated aromatic hy­drocarbon solvents on the performance of the olefin metathesis reac­tion. Together with the re­spective technology owner, Apeiron Synthesis S.A. we worked on an innovative scav­enger, that allows to obtain low levels of heavy metal contamination after a simple and waste-free purification.

Current areas of investigation encompass the design of new user-friendly, supported or 'self-cleaning' catalysts and extending their application scope utilising flow techniques, microwaves or ultrasounds. At the same time, we have developed a number of tandem transformations, such as metathesis-reductions, metathesis-oxidations, metathesis-borylations, etc. to make the chemical synthesis more efficient.

More reading

For further details, see our recent publications.





Our research laboratories are superbly equipped for synthesis and analysis or organic and organometallic substances, including two gloveboxes, Schlenk equipment, argon-vacuum lines and pumps, -100°C coolers, and high-vacuum pumps. For catalysts screening we use parallel carousel reactors and a flow reaction station, as well as a number of autoclaves and microwave reactors. Visualisation and molecular modeling software and data management system are available thought GNU/Linux computer workstations.

The list of equipment that the Group posses, includes:

For some photos from our labs, see a gallery .

CNBCh Building




R+D projects for industry

We have participated in numerous research projects for leading chemical industry companies, incl. Polpharma Pharmaceuticals, Boehringer Ingelheim, Umicore AG, Degussa AG (now: Evonik Industries AG), Ligand Chemie GmbH, Nalco Inc. USA, Apeiron Synthesis SA, to name only a few.


Logos and trademarks are © of the respective companies

Current research projects

Past research projects

We have participated as a consortium member or consortium leader in numerous projects, incl.

Past informatics projects

For some old cheminformatics projects, developed by young Karol Grela years ago as a hobby and then abandoned, see:



Made with Bluefish and Last updated Thursday, 31-May-2018 15:12:48 CEST ©1997-2024 Karol Grela (