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About Us

Our group has had postdocs, PhD students, Masters and Bachelors students, interns and visitors via various exchange programmes. To date, Belgium, the Czech Republic, China, France, Germany, India, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK have been represented.

Current Members

Lukasz Pilarski

Associate Senior Lecturer

Shengjun Ni

Postdoc (2018 – )

Matic Hribersek

PhD student (2017 – )

Fredric Ingner

PhD student (2017 – )

Pia Wenisch

Masters student (Sept 2019 – )

Our Research

Organic molecules are the basis of all life and underpin modern society. They are in constant demand in medicine, materials science and many aspects of fundamental research. Unfortunately, the synthesis of organic molecules is often wasteful, expensive and toxic. We work to solve that. We develop new reactions and strategies to make the synthesis of organic molecules greener, cheaper and faster.

Green chemistry is a broad field aiming at making reactions and processes safer and environmentally sustainable. Our group’s research approaches this in several ways. For example, we are interested in developing new building blocks for organic synthesis that undergo multiple types of very different reactivity. In this way, simpler starting materials and fewer steps would be required to obtain a desired molecule. We also develop new types of catalysis that convert traditionally ‘unreactive’ C-H bonds to other functional groups – in principle, one of the most direct ways of building up molecules. And we use mechanochemistry to make reactions happen without needing toxic bulk solvents or high temperatures.

Bulk solvent is a huge source of the waste conventional synthesis generates. Mechanical force can be used to mix and activate compounds towards reactions without the need for bulk solvent. Mechanochemical reactions often need shorter reaction times and no external heating. They can also follow unconventional mechanisms, which can mean access to desired compounds in faster ways or even compounds that were previously inaccessible. Mechanochemistry is a growing and exciting area of chemistry. We are exploring the application of mechanochemical methods to a number of problems in organometallic chemistry, catalytic C-H activation (see below), and beyond.

Arynes are really fascinating, reactive molecules that can be generated under mild conditions. They don’t hang around for long, but but they can be ‘trapped’ in a huge variety of ways. When this happens, arynes create two new bonds in one step, which is very useful for building up molecules. Better still, arynes can react like this with almost any element organic chemists might be interested in. Arynes therefore have huge potential to make organic synthesis more direct and efficient. We are studying how to control arynes in new ways so their reactivity can be more selective and useful in diverse contexts.

Organic molecules contain lots of different C-H bonds. Most of these have traditionally been considered ‘inert’. C-H activation is a way of getting those ‘inert’ C-H bonds to react, for example by using carefully designed catalyst systems. These allow C-H bonds to be activated and converted to new functional groups, which can give molecules important properties. The ubiquity of C-H bonds in organic molecules makes their selective substitution one of the most direct ways of building the compounds society needs. We work on developing new C-H activation methods and on using them in new ways, including to control arynes (see above).

Join Us


We are always interested in hearing from talented, passionate chemists who want to work on projects in synthetic methodology, catalysis, organometallics and related topics.


Selected papers

Arynes and Their Precursors from Arylboronic Acids via Catalytic C-H Silylation

Karthik Devaraj, Fredric L. J. Ingner, Carina Sollert, Paul J. Gates, Andreas OrthaberLukasz T. Pilarski*
J. Org. Chem. 2019DOI: 10.1021/acs.joc.9b00221 (Abstract)

C4-H Indole Functionalisation: Precedent and Prospects

Jagadeesh Kalepu, Gandeepan Parthasarathy, Lutz Ackermann,* Lukasz T. Pilarski*
Chem. Sci. 20189, 4203-4216 (Abstract, PDF)

Young Career Focus: Interview with Lukasz Pilarski

Lukasz T. Pilarski*
Synlett 201728, A83-A85 (PDF)

Ru-Catalysed C-H Silylation of Gramines, Tryptamines and their Congeners

Karthik DevarajCarina SollertCarmen JudsPaul J. GatesLukasz T. Pilarski*
Chem. Commun. 201652, 5868-5871

Boryl (Hetero)aryne Precursors as Versatile Arylation Reagents: Synthesis through C-H Activation and Orthogonal Reactivity

Emilien DemoryKarthik DevarajAndreas OrthaberPaul J. GatesLukasz T. Pilarski*
Angew. Chem. 2015, 127, 11931–11935 (PDF)
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2015, 54, 11765–11769 (AbstractPDF)

Ru-Catalysed C-H Arylation of Indoles and Pyrroles with Boronic Acids: Scope and Mechanistic Studies

Carina SollertKarthik DevarajAndreas OrthaberPaul J. GatesLukasz T. Pilarski*
Chem. Eur. J. 2015 21, 5380–5386 (AbstractPDF)

See full list


Our group is part of the Organic Chemistry research program in the Department of Chemistry at Uppsala University’s Biomedical Centre (BMC).


Department of Chemistry – BMC
Box 576
Uppsala University
75-123 Uppsala

 lukasz dot pilarski at kemi dot uu dot se


Department of Chemistry – BMC
Husargatan 3