Vignesh Palani

Assistant Professor

Phone : +91-80-2293- (O)
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B.S. (2016): University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, USA (Advisor: Thomas R. Hoye)
Ph.D. (2020): University of California, Berkeley, USA (Advisor: Richmond Sarpong)

Professional Experience

October 2023 to present: Assistant Professor, Department of Organic Chemistry, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, India.
March 2021 to August 2023: Postdoctoral research associate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA with Prof. Alison E. Wendlandt.

Research Interests

From the inception of medicine, secondary metabolites have been used to treat human diseases. These natural products continue to inspire the development of improved synthetic design and new methodologies, which ultimately streamline the field of drug discovery. Central to our research program is the discovery of new chemical reactivities to propel the creation of synthetic routes with high selectivity and efficiency. This, in turn, will set the stage for comprehensive bioactivity studies of the natural target and structural analogs.

Methodology-driven total synthesis of bioactive molecules: There have been several instances where natural product total synthesis was witnessed as an engine for discovering new chemical reactions. Our research group will primarily focus on developing unorthodox strategies to achieve elegant syntheses of complex molecules.


New skeletal editing tools: Chemical reactions involving skeletal editing have found profound significance in drug discovery, considering its role in late-stage diversification. Concurrently, boration chemistry has played a pivotal role in organic synthesis since the discovery of hydroboration by Hurd and Brown. We aim to bridge these two fields by employing new organoborane reagents to effect facile skeletal editing of functional molecules—the drive to solve key mechanistic questions will complement the development of these reactions.

Representative Publications

  • Palani, V.; Wendlandt, A. E. Strain-inducing positional alkene isomerization. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2023, 145, 20053–20061.
  • Zhang, Y.-A.*; Palani, V.*; Seim, A. E.; Wang, Y. Wang, K. J.; Wendlandt, A. E. Stereochemical editing logic powered by the epimerization of unactivated tertiary stereocenters. Science 2022, 378, 383–390. (*indicates equal contribution)
  • Palani, V.; Perea, M. A.; Gardner, K. E.; Sarpong, R. A pyrone remodeling strategy to access diverse heterocycles: application to the synthesis of fascaplysin natural products. Chem. Sci. 2021, 12, 1528–1534.
  • Palani, V.; Hugelshofer, C. L.; Sarpong, R. A Unified Strategy for the Enantiospecific Total Synthesis of Delavatine A and Formal Synthesis of Incarviatone A. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 14421–14432.
  • Palani, V.; Hugelshofer, C. L.; Kevlishvili, I.; Liu, P.; Sarpong, R. A Short Synthesis of Delavatine A Unveils New Insights into Site-Selective Cross-Coupling of 3,5-Dibromo-2-pyrone. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 2652–2660.
  • Hugelshofer, C. L.; Palani, V.; Sarpong, R. Calyciphylline B-type Alkaloids: Total Syntheses of (–)-Daphlongamine H and (–)-Isodaphlongamine H. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 8431–8435.