Medicinal and organic synthetic chemistry

Research Fields

Organic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, natural products chemistry

Research Highlights

  • Use of multi-component reactions to generate bioactive small molecule scaffolds
  • Application of “click” chemistry to probe chemical space as part of irreversible kinase inhibitors
  • Application of catalytic isomerization and metathesis reactions for the synthesis of varied benzo-fused scaffolds

Research Summary

Prof. van Otterlo’s research group focuses mainly on the synthesis of small organic molecules with potential bioactivity. All of his projects involve the art of organic chemistry to develop structural complexity and make use of modern organic synthetic strategies. A number of student projects involve the use of natural products as structural muses for the development of new anti-cancer agents. In addition, synthetic modification of natural products is also often on the agenda. Other areas of medicinal interest include kinase inhibitors, and in recent years he has also pursued the isolation of novel bioactive metabolites from Southern African plants that have been under-investigated.


Applications of Research

  • Novel anti-cancer agents
  • Novel catalytic synthetic strategies

Willem van Otterlo

Professor of Organic Chemistry
+27 21 808 3344