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Fellow in the Durham Energy Institute  


Dr Na (also Anna) Wu has embarked on an international journey to pursue her research career. She studied organic synthesis first at the Shann’xi Normal University (02-06, BS in Chemistry) with Prof. Baolin Li and then at highly-ranked Peking University (PKU) (06-10, MS & PhD in Synthesis & Catalysis, emph. the use of Pauson-Khand reaction (PKR) in the total synthesis of (±)-Pentalenolactone-a Methyl Ester),with Prof. Zhen Yang, formally graduating in June 2012. Anna was a visiting researcher at Duhram University from 2010-11, (hosted by Prof Todd Marder and co-supervised by Prof. Andy Whiting) where she studied palladium-thiourea catalysed enyne domino reactions. This was followed by a postdoctoral research assistant position with Prof. Simon Woodward at Nottingham University in 2013, where she studied the trichloromethide addition mechanism. She was appointed as a teaching fellow by Guangxi Normal University (GXNU) in 2014 and obtained a lecturership in 2015, the start of her independent research career. In 2018, Anna was awarded the prestigious Royal Society Newton International Research Fellowship to work at Oxford University, Anna came to Durham University in June 2018 to continue the fellowship. 

Dr Wu is the recipient of national and international awards and research grants: UK-China joint training doctoral students scholarship awarded by CSC (Chinese Scholarship Council), 2010-2011, Guangxi Province Key Laboratory grant, 2014-2017, Research Grant awarded by National Nature Science Foundation of China, 2015-2018, Young Investigator Research Grant awarded by Guangxi Provincial Nature Science Foundation, 2015-2017, Research Grant from Peking University Shenzhen graduate school, 2016, Newton International Research Fellowship, awarded by the UK Royal Society, Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Seal of Excellence, awarded by European Commission, 2018. She is also a member of the RSC. 

Research Interests

To design 'domino' strategies which enable the formation of multiple bonds in a single step, and to explore new domino reactions in palladium catalysis, which are connected by the principle of reaction initiation through nucleopalladation to access polycyclic alkaloids as bioactive agents; 

To develop reactions that access previously unattainable but important light harvesting materials in a diversifiable manner. This project does just this in providing a novel ‘unified’ solution to the synthesis of four proven photophysical cores: 10π, 14π photovoltaic frameworks, charge transfer complex, aggregation-induced emissions luminogens, and goes beyond the state-of-the-art by enabling a broad and tunable substituent introduction to tunable absorption of spectrum. Its value for applied research is embodied by the new possibilities for lead discovery which could arise from anaerobic, acid-tolerating, relatively stable aromatic scaffolds. The reaction methodology itself represents a new mode of ynamide dipolar reactivity; a particular element of novelty is the aim of controlling functionalisation positions on fulvene and azulene in one-sequence, avoiding linear bridging linkers. 

  • Siyu Ye and Na Wu*. The Chemistry of Ynamide and Its Application in Organic Synthesis, Advances in Organic Synthesis, 2018, submitted.
  • Na Wu*, Ruikun Li, Feihu Cui and Yingming Pan. Application of Dehydroabietic Acid in Palladium-catalysed Enyne Cycloisomerisation, Adv. Synth. Catal. 2017, 359(14), 2442-2447.
  • Ruikun Li,Zhongqing Wen and Na Wu*. Nordehydroabietyl amide-containing chiral diene for rhodium-catalysed asymmetric arylation to nitroolefins. Org. Biol. Chem. 2016, 14, 11080.
  • Qing-hu Teng, Shi-kun Mo, Jian-kun Pan, Na Wu,* Heng-shan Wang and Ying-ming Pan*. TfOH-Catalyzed Reaction of Bispropargyl Alcohols with 1,3-Dicarbonyl Compounds. Synthesis, 2016, 3, 455.
  • Xian-chun Tan, Hai-yuan Zhao, Ying-ming Pan,* Na Wu, Heng-shan Wang and Zhen-feng Chen*. Atom-economical chemoselective synthesis of furocoumarins via cascade palladium catalyzed oxidative alkoxylation of 4-oxohydrocoumarins and alkenes. RSC Adv. 20155, 4972.
  • Zhi-ming Yan, Na Wu*, Dong Liang, Heng-shan Wang and Ying-ming Pan*. One-Pot Stepwise Approach to β-Enaminoketoesters
    through “Masked” 1,3-Aza-Dipoles. Org. Lett. 2014, 16, 4048.
  • Na Wu, Benoit Wahl, Simon Woodward* and William Lewis.
    1,4-Addition of TMSCCl3 to Nitroalkenes: Efficient Reaction
    Conditions and Mechanistic Understanding.
    Chem. Eur. J. 2014, 20, 7718.
  • Na Wu, Lujiang Deng, Lianzhu Liu, Qi Liu, Chuangchuang Li and Zhen Yang*. Reverse Regioselectivity in the Pd(II)-Thiourea Catalyzed Intermolecular Pauson-Khand Reaction. Chem. Asian. J. 2013, 8(1), 65-68.
  • Na Wu, Antonios Messinis, Andrei S. Batsanov, Zhen Yang, Andrew Whiting and Todd. B. Marder*. Palladium(II)-Catalyzed Tandem Cyclisation of Electron-Deficient Aromatic Enynes. Chem. Commun.2012, 48 (80), 9986-9988.
  • Qi Liu, Guozong Yue, Na Wu, Guang Lin, Yuanzhen Li, Chuangchuang Li, Junmin Quan, Guoxin Wang and Zhen Yang*. Highly Stereoselective Construction of the Framework of Pentalenolactone: First Total Synthesis of (±)-Pentalenolactone A Methyl Ester. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2012, 51, 12072-12076. 
  • Andrei S. Batsanov*, Judith A. K. Howard, Na Wu, Zhen Yang and Todd B. Marder. An irreversible
    phase transition in 1-n-butylindeno[2,1-c]pyran-3,9-dione.
    Acta Cryst.2012, C68, o413-o416.
  • Lianzhu Liu, Yingxiang Gao, Chao Che, Na Wu, David ZhigangWang, ChuangChuang Li and Zhen Yang*. A Model Study for the Concise Construction of the Oxapentacyclic Core of Cortistatins through Intramolecular Diels-Alder and Oxidative Dearomatization-Cyclization Reactions. Chem. Commun. 2009, 6, 662.
  • Yi Cui, Hao Jiang, Zhengtao Li, Na Wu, Zhen Yang* and Junmin Quan. Unexpected Regioselectivity in the Synthesis of Pyranonaphthoquinone via the Diels-Alder Reaction. Org. Lett. 2009, 11, 4628.
  • Zhengtao Li, Yingxiang Gao, Zhaodong Jiao, Na Wu, David Zhigang Wang and Zhen Yang*. Diversity-Oriented Synthesis of Fused Pyran γ-Lactones via an Efficient Pd-Thiourea-Catalyzed Alkoxycarbonylative Annulation. Org. Lett. 2008, 10, 5163.


Research interests

  • Design 'domino' strategies
  • Palladium catalysis
  • Light harvesting materials

Research groups

  • Catalysis and Sustainable Chemical Processes