FIS image header
Scholarly Interest Report
Laszlo Kurti
Associate Professor
Associate Professor of Chemistry
  • B.A. Chemistry (1998) Lajos Kossuth University (now University of Debrecen), Debrecen, Hungary
  • Ph.D. Organic Chemistry (2006) University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
  • M.A. Organic Chemistry (2001) University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri
Primary Department
   Department of Chemistry
Department Affiliations
  • Department of Chemistry
     Laszlo Kurti Website
    Research Areas
     The Kürti group focuses on the develpment of powerful new methods for the expedient enantioselective assembly of highly functionalized biaryls, heterocycles and carbocycles.

    Research Statement


    Synthetic organic chemistry is the critical foundation for the medical application of many complex organic molecules (i.e., natural products or drug molecules); it is the only way to produce these complex molecules in sufficient quantities for studies or clinical and commercial use. Moreover, synthetic chemistry enables the design and the preparation of novel drug molecules that can be used to study fundamental biological pathways or change the course of various diseases.

    More than three quarters of known organic molecules and the overwhelming majority of currently used drug molecules contain heterocycles, yet the number of highly efficient methods to prepare these types of compounds is surprisingly low. I plan to address this deficiency in my research program, which will have a dual focus. On the one hand, my group will develop novel catalytic enantioselective transformations and apply these reactions for the rapid assembly of various heterocycles and carbocycles. Secondly, these hetero- and carbocyclic motifs are present in numerous natural products with potent biological activities, therefore we will have the opportunity to design and quickly prepare a large number of derivatives and screen them in a variety of assays to identify new drug leads. These newly developed methods will also allow the enantioselective preparation of other highly functionalized compounds that may be utilized for the catalysis of dozens of organic transformations.

    My research program does not only seek to develop new and powerful transformations in organic chemistry and enable the synthesis of biologically relevant compounds to aid drug discovery, but it also provides an excellent platform for the education and training of both undergraduate and graduate students. The strongly interdisciplinary environment in the BioScience Research Collaborative (BRC) at Rice University allows my research group to pursue these goals and find many opportunities for fruitful collaboration

    Selected Publications
     Refereed articles

    Gao, H.; Xu, Q.-L.; Keene, C.; Yousufuddin, M.; Ess, D. H.; Kürti, L. "Practical Organocatalytic Synthesis of Functionalized Non-C2-Symmetrical Atropisomeric Biaryls." Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 55: 566-571.


    Gao, H.; Zhou, Z.; Kwon, D.-H.; Coombs, J.; Jones, S.; Behnke N. E.; Ess, D. H.; Kürti, L. "Rapid Heteroatom-Transfer to Arylmetals Utilizing Multifunctional Reagents Scaffolds." Nature Chemistry


    Paudyal M.; Adebesin A.; Burt S.; Ess D.; Ma Z.; Kürti L.; Falck J. "Dirhodium-catalyzed C-H arene amination using hydroxylamines." SCIENCE, 353: 1144-1147.


    Wang J.-Z.; Zhou J.; Xu C.; Sun H.; Kürti L.; Xu Q.-L. "Symmetry in Cascade Chirality-Transfer Processes: A Catalytic Atroposelective Direct Arylation Approach to BINOL Derivatives." Journal of the American Chemical Society, 138: 5202-5205.


    Zhou Z.; Ma Z.; Behnke N.E.; Gao H.; Kurti, L. "Non-Deprotonative Primary and Secondary Amination of (Hetero)Arylmetals." Journal of the American Chemical Society, 139: 115-118.In Press


    Gao, Hongyin; Xu, Qing-Long; Keene, Craig; Yousufuddin, Muhammed; Ess, Daniel H. and Kürti, László*. "Practical Organocatalytic Synthesis of Functionalized Non-C2-Symmetrical Atropisomeric Biaryls.” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2015, 54 (Hot Paper; http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/anie.201508419/pdf).


    Kürti, László. “Streamlining Amine Synthesis” – A Perspective. SCIENCE 2015, Vol 348, no 6237, p864-865 (DOI:10.1126/science.aab2812).

     Invited Talks

    "23rd IUPAC Conference on Physical Organic Chemistry." Sydney, Australia. (07/03/2016-07/08/2016)


    "ACS Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference." Portland, OR. (06/14/2016- 06/16/2016)


    "Bristol-Myers-Squibb (BMS) Symposium at the University of Michigan." Ann Arbor, MI. (05/31/2016)


    "International Symposium on Resource Chemistry." International Joint Laboratory of Resource Chemistry, Shanghai, China. (01/14/2016- 01/15/2016)


    "The 3rd International Symposium on Natural Product Synthesis and Innovative Process Methods (NPSPM) for Drug Manufacture." Peking University, Beijing, China. (10/14/2016-10/16/2016)


    10th International Congress of Pharmaceutical Sciences (CIFARP; http://www.cifarp.com.br) – Ribeirão Preto, Brazil, September 5-9, 2015 (Host: Prof. Flavio da Silva Emery)


    50th Anniversary Symposium of the Dept of Chem at the Center for Advanced Studies and Research of the National Polytechnic Institute (Cinvestav) – Mexico City, Mexico, September, 2015 (Host: Prof. J.A.L. Montelongo)


    Blue Danube Conference on Heterocyclic Chemistry – Balatonalmádi, Hungary, June 14-18, 2015


    Blue Danube Conference on Heterocyclic Chemistry – Balatonalmádi, Hungary, June 14-18, 2015


    Heterocyclic Chemistry Gordon Conference – Salve Regina University, RI, June 21-25, 2015


    Nanjing University – Nanjing, China, August 3, 2015 (Host: Prof. Guigen Li)


    PACIFICHEM – Applications of C-H Functionalization – Honolulu, HI, December 15-19, 2015 (Organizers: Profs. P. Vachal, Zhang-Jie Shi, Chao-Jun Li, Huw Davies, Kenichiro Itami, Helen Lebel)


    PACIFICHEM – Organocatalysis Symposium – Honolulu, HI, December 15-19, 2015 (Organizers: Profs. M. Terada & J. Antilla)


    Shanghai Normal University – Shanghai, China, July 30, 2015 (Host: Prof. Hexing Li)


    Wuxi Apptec – Wuhan, China, August 4, 2015 (Host: Dr. Rongfeng Gao)

     Seminar Speaker

    "Australian National University (ANU)." Canberra, Australia. (07/01/2016)


    "Eötvös Lóránd University (ELTE) Seminar." Budapest, Hungary. (07/18/2016)


    "Monash University Seminar." Melbourne, Australia. (06/29/2016)


    "Nanjing Tech University Seminar." Nanjing, China. (12/14/2016)


    "Nanjing University Seminar." Nanjing, China. (07/21/2016)


    "Novel Direct Arylation and Amination Reactions." University of Arizona, Tuscon, AZ. (09/01/2016)


    "Novel Direct Arylation and Amination Reactions: Rapid Synthesis of Functionalized Biaryls, Arylamines and Heterocycles." University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM. (08/26/2016)


    "Oregon State University Seminar." Corvallis, OR. (05/12/2016)


    "Practical Direct Electrophilic Amination of Olefins and Aromatic Systems." Texas State University, San Marcos, TX. (11/21/2016)

    Editorial Positions
     Other, Science. (2016 - 2016)

     Other, Organic Letters. (2016 - 2016)

     Other, Nature Communications. (2016 - 2016)

     Other, Nature Chemistry. (2016 - 2016)

     Other, Angewandte Chemie. (2016 - 2016)

     Other, Journal of Organic Chemistry (JOC). (2016 - 2016)

     Other, John Wiley & Sons. (2016 - 2016)

     Other, Elsevier Science. (2016 - 2016)

     Other, Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS). (2016 - 2016)

    Awards, Prizes, & Fellowships
     Biotage Young Principle Investigator Award, Biotage

     NSF CAREER Award, NSF