Asymmetric Hydrogenation

Dr. Jens Holz

The stereoselective hydrogenation of olefins, ketones, imines, or other prochiral compounds is an important method for the synthesis of chiral biologically active intermediates and final products used in the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industry, as well as for the production of flavours.

Although these methods may display great selectivity and efficiency their practical application for the preparation of enantiomerically or diastereomerically pure compounds is frequently limited to lab-scale syntheses. Up to now, the classical separation of racemates is still used in industry.

Our aim is to establish academic and technological platforms for the broad application of hydrogenation methods. This includes the synthesis and testing of new patent-free ligands and catalysts, new substrates and reaction conditions. A pivotal part of the research is dedicated to alternative synthetic routes to flavours and compounds of pharmaceutical relevance.


  1. Modular synthesis of broad families of patent-free ligands and their catalysts; application in the selective hydrogenation. 
  2. Investigation of the enantioselective hydrogenation of aromatic and heteroaromatic compounds with homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysts.
  3. Development of
  4. effective routes not yet claimed and leading to pharmaceutically relevant compounds.