Interview with SYNTHESIS Best Paper Award winners Erwan Poupon and Laurent Evanno

Erwan Poupon and Laurent Evanno from the Paris-Sud University (France) started their ‘aplysinopsin project’ in early 2013 and quickly aimed to evaluate the possibility of total syntheses with a high degree of atom economy in a limited number of synthetic steps with a storyline deeply based on biosynthetic considerations. The simple dimerization of an aplysinopsin-type starting material was unsuccessful but a photochemical reaction, observed by accident in the first place, led to a dictazole-type adduct for the first time. After lots of efforts on the optimization of the reaction over several months, the group realized the synthesis of dictazole B (a cyclobutane-centered molecule), achieved a ring expansion toward tubastrindole B (a tetrahydrocarbazole) and rationalized the ‘aplysinopsin cascade’. All those results are summarized in the award-winning SYNTHESIS paper.

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