Research topics

Our daily lives are supported by various organic compounds such as pharmaceuticals, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, synthetic fibers, and plastics. Our research group is developing reactions for synthesizing these organic compounds efficiently and in an environmentally friendly manner. Utilizing these reactions, we are also synthesizing organic compounds and organic materials with new functions and evaluating their functions.

Development of organocatalysts with enzyme-like functions

Flavoenzymes, which are widely distributed in nature such as mammalian liver, are attractive oxidation catalysts that efficiently promote desired oxidation reaction and produce only non-toxic by-products. The active center, riboflavin (vitamin B2), was known to exhibit catalytic function only in complexation with apoenzyme of a high molecular weight protein.
We select a few amino acids, which are the structural units of proteins, and artificially incorporate them into flavin molecules to synthesize novel peptide-containing flavins (flavopeptides) that exhibit high catalytic activity for oxygenation reactions comparable to flavoenzymes.
The potential of the flavopeptides is high, and we are working on research to further develop their catalytic functions.
Chem. Sci., 8, 5468-5475 (2017).

Development of safe, inexpensive, and simple methods for catalyst preparation

Organocatalysts recieve attracting attention because they realize a reaction system that does not contain rare metals and has a lower environmental impact. However, in some cases, the development of a greener and easier method for preparation of the catalyst itself is desired. For example, conventional methods for preparation of flavinium salts having high catalytic activity for oxygenation reactions have some problems, which include the use of a large amount of toxic or explosive reagent and requirement of some synthetic skills.
Recently, we have succeeded in developing a novel method for preparation of flavinium salt catalysts that is safer, cheaper, easier, and more scalable than before by using atmospheric oxygen as an oxidant and commercially available ion-exchange resins as a counter anion. The resin-type flavinium salt (flavinium resin) obtained by this method allows efficient and chemoselective catalytic oxygenation reactions through activation of molecular oxygen.
ChemSusChem, 9, 2769-2773 (2016).

Development of polymer-immobilized catalysts

Immobilized catalysts that incorporate catalyst molecules in an insoluble polymer have attracted attention from the viewpoint of green chemistry because of easy separation from the reaction systems and reusability.
We are working on the development of an immobilized catalyst that has a catalytic activity different from that of a homogeneous system by constructing a reaction field around the catalyst molecules using a polymer backbone.
J. Polym. Sci. Part A: Polym. Chem., 55, 1706-1713 (2017).

We are also working on the following topics.

  • Development of organophotocatalytic systems with visible-light irradiation using LED
  • Efficient use of short-lived unsatable species using a flow microreactor system
  • Development of novel catalytic reaction systems using transitionn metal complexes


Our labo is located mainly at 4th and 6th floors of Chemistry and Biology Building and 4th floor of Mechanical Engineering Building.
Prof. Minagawa's office is Room 3S10 at 3rd floor of Liberal Arts and Sciences Building No.3.

Room 3S10, Liberal Arts and Sciences Building No.3

Prof. Minagawa's office

Room 615, Chemistry and Biology Building

Assist. Prof. Arakawa's office
studying room for students

Room 407, Chemmstry and Biology Building

Assist. Prof. Yagishita's office
studying room for students

Room 411, Chemmstry and Biology Building

studying room for students

Room 404, Chemistry and Biology Building

labo for synthesis

Room 614, Chemistry and Biology Building

labo for synthesis

Room 401, Mechanical Engiineering Building

labo for synthesis

Room 413, Chemistry and Biology Buildg

room for measuring equipments
UV-vis, Fluorescent, Ball-milling reactor

Room 616, Chemistry and Biology Buildg

room for measuring equipments
GC (FID), HPLC, UV-vis, Rheometer, Polarimeter