Matthew Shair
Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Organic synthesis and chemical biology.

Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology
Mallinckrodt 315
12 Oxford St
Cambridge, MA 02138
Tel: 617-495-5008

Lab Size: Between 10 and 15

The Shair research group is working in two main areas: organic synthesis and chemical biology. Most projects involve syntheses of naturally occurring complex molecules that challenge the state-of-the-art of organic synthesis. We have chosen target molecules that are structurally unique and that have interesting, unstudied biological properties. We choose molecules that are different from other complex molecules that have been synthesized since this enables us to explore new areas of organic chemistry, especially with respect to reactivity and selectivity. We are particularly interested in developing cascade reactions for each of our synthesis targets, in order to achieve the most efficient and rapid syntheses possible.

We are also attracted to molecules that have unique biological properties. Our syntheses, in many cases, are the only means of accessing additional material and designed analogs to uncover the molecule’s cellular target(s) and mechanism(s). We also have a collaboration with Professor Tom Kirchhausen’s lab in the Cell Biology Department at Harvard Medical School on the discovery and use of small molecules to probe vesicular traffic and Golgi organization in cells.

Fortner, D. C.; Kato, D.; Tanaka, Y.; Shair, M. D. Enantioselective Synthesis of (+)-Cephalostatin 1. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2009, ASAP.

Morris, W. J.; Shair, M. D. Org. Stereoselective Synthesis of 2-Deoxy-ß-glycosides Using Anomeric O-Alkylation/Arylation. Lett. 2008, 11, 9–12.

Lee, H. M.; Nieto-Oberhuber, C.; Shair, M. D. Enantioselective Synthesis of (+)-Cortistatin A, a Potent and Selective Inhibitor of Endothelial Cell Proliferation. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2008, 130, 16864–16866.

Krygowski, E. S.; Murphy-Benenato, K.; Shair, M. D. Angew. Enantioselective Synthesis of the Central Ring System of Lomaiviticin A in the Form of an Unusually Stable Cyclic Hydrate. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 2008, 47, 1680-1684.