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Professor Michael Willis

Professor Michael Willis

Research in the Willis group is focused on the development of new catalysts and reactions for synthetic chemistry. The group is particularly interested in addressing synthetic challenges that are applicable to the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries. The group has reported a series of reactions based on the incorporation of sulfur dioxide, using the reagent DABSO, to deliver a range of sulfonyl-derived products, including sulfones, sulfonamides, sulfoxides and sulfonyl fluorides. Related to this has been the development of powerful cross-coupling reactions based on the loss of sulfur dioxide from heterocyclic sulfinate coupling partners. This chemistry is particularly applicable where the corresponding boronic acids perform poorly, such as in the case of 2-pyridine examples.

Willis Group Website

Recent papers from the Willis Group

Deeming AS, Russell CJ, Willis MC. 2016. Palladium(II)-Catalyzed Synthesis of Sulfinates from Boronic Acids and DABSO: A Redox-Neutral, Phosphine-Free Transformation. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.. 55(2):747-750.
Davies AT, Curto JM, Bagley SW, Willis MC. One-pot palladium-catalyzed synthesis of sulfonyl fluorides from aryl bromides. Chem. Sci.. 8(2):1233-1237.
Markovic T, Rocke BN, Blakemore DC, Mascitti V, Willis MC. Pyridine sulfinates as general nucleophilic coupling partners in palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling reactions with aryl halides. Chem. Sci.. 8(6):4437-4442.


  • Organic Synthetic Chemistry
  • Catalysis

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