Research in the Organ group is built around developing new methods and technology that underpin synthetic organic chemistry and applying it to solve problems in a variety of application areas. The concept of microwave-assisted, continuous flow organic synthesis, was pioneered by the Organ lab and new innovations are being sought that facilitate flow chemistry. These include metal-film coated flow reactors to promote organic transformations, extreme temperature and pressure reactor and process design, the safe use of high-energy unstable reactants (e.g., azides and diazonium salts), continuous (real-time) in-line analysis, and hands-free process optimization and monitoring using in-house created hardware and software. The Organ lab is active in many forms of catalysis, which has led to the creation of a broadening series of N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC)-based organometallic complexes that have shown unsurpassed reactivity and selectivity in a wide number of cross-coupling applications. This family of catalysts (coined PEPPSI for Pyridine-Enhanced Precatalyst Preparation, Stabilization, and Initiation) has been commercialized and is used widely including at scale in the commercial manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API). Application areas of the above technology include medicinal chemistry in the search of therapeutics to treat infectious diseases (joint with McMaster Hospital) and materials science for the derivitization of biomass (e.g., lignin and starch) into valuable products for the paper and building material industries. Many of the projects in the Organ lab are conducted jointly with a variety of companies including those in the pharmaceutical, materials science, and scientific equipment development sectors.
The Organ lab supervises students from the department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences.