Organic synthesis: the art and science of replicating the molecules of living nature and creating others like them in the laboratory
Synthetic organic chemists have the power to replicate some of the most intriguing molecules of living nature in the laboratory and apply their developed synthetic strategies and technologies to construct variations of them. Such molecules facilitate biology and medicine, as they often find uses as biological tools and drug candidates for clinical development. In addition, by employing sophisticated catalytic reactions and appropriately designed synthetic processes, they can synthesize not only the molecules of nature and their analogues, but also myriad other organic molecules for potential applications in many areas of science, technology and everyday life. After a short historical introduction, this article focuses on recent advances in the field of organic synthesis with demonstrative examples of total synthesis of complex bioactive molecules, natural or designed, from the author's laboratories, and their impact on chemistry, biology and medicine.