Research study by chemistry professor wins prestigious award

a man holding a trophy

A research study led by chemistry Professor Christine Le, titled “Synthesis of Carbamoyl Fluorides Using a Difluorophosgene Surrogate Derived from Difluorocarbene and Pyridine N-Oxides,” was honoured with the 2023 Outstanding Publication of the Year Award from The Journal of Organic Chemistry.

Christine Le
Christine Le

The award recognizes a paper from the previous year that demonstrates creativity and impact in the field of organic chemistry, with a focus on early-career researchers. “This publication was my first independent paper, so it feels incredibly rewarding to have our chemistry already recognized for its impact on the community,” said Le, who co-authored the study with York doctoral student Dusty Cadwallader, master of science alumni Tristan R. Tiburcio, and undergraduate student George A. Cieszynski. The paper was also among the top six most read articles in the journal in 2022.

Le’s research study presents an innovative approach to making molecules called carbamoyl fluorides in an efficient way that avoids the use of light-, moisture-, temperature-, and shock-sensitive reagents. Her findings expand the toolbox for chemists interested in making and using carbamoyl fluorides for research and drug development, including employing them in reactions to add fluorine to medicinal compounds, as demonstrated in a recently published study by Le and colleagues in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

“Adding fluorine to a drug molecule can drastically improve its medicinal properties, by making it more potent and stable for instance,” said Le. “In fact some of the most widely prescribed medicines contain fluorine, and developing new ones is an area of pursuit for researchers in the pharmaceutical industry.”

By following the reactions outlined in Le’s paper, chemists can now easily create carbamoyl fluorides in a laboratory setting, which will allow researchers to further study their applications in organic synthesis, medicinal chemistry, and drug development.

The research team will be honoured in August during a symposium at the American Chemical Society National Meeting in San Francisco, California.

Read the journal’s award announcement here.