Laboratory of Asymmetric Catalysis

Our laboratory’s research is aimed at the development of new methodologies for synthetic organic chemistry. The central focus of our work is directed toward the use of efficient chiral catalysts that can deliver products in high enantiopurity, which is a prerequisite for present-day pharmaceutical applications. We work in three major areas: asymmetric organocatalysis, organometallic chemistry, and computational chemical modelling.

We are principally interested in new chemical reactions that can be promoted by two families of nucleophilic catalysts, namely, N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs) and phosphines. An important area of our research is the development of reactions involving a cooperative (synergistic) catalysis by a NHC/phosphine and a transition metal. Combining well-known reactivities of organometallic species with novel modes of activation offered by the nucleophilic catalysts lets us have the best of both worlds, allowing currently impossible reactions to occur. We make extensive use of modern computational methods to investigate reaction mechanisms and the origins of various selectivities displayed by catalytic processes, as well as to design new efficient chiral catalysts and fine-tune their structure.

Please visit our Group Website for more details.

Marcin Kałek, PhD
phone: +48 22 55 43730
room: 02.102


2016–present Assistant Professor
University of Warsaw, Centre of New Technologies
Jun 2015–Sep 2015 Researcher
Stockholm University, Department of Organic Chemistry
2013–2015 Postdoctoral Fellow
California Institute of Technology, Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
(with Prof. Gregory C. Fu)
2011–2013 Postdoctoral Fellow
Stockholm University, Department of Organic Chemistry
(with Prof. Fahmi Himo)
2006–2011 Ph.D. Student
Stockholm University, Department of Organic Chemistry
(with Prof. Jacek Stawinski)
Jan 2006–Sep 2006 Marie Curie Early Stage Research Training Fellow
University of Southern Denmark, Nucleic Acid Center
(with Prof. Jesper Wengel)
2002–2005 M.Sc. Student
University of Warsaw, Centre for Interfaculty Individual Studies in Mathematical
and Natural Sciences (with Prof. Jacek Jemielity)



2017 Minister of Science and Higher Education Fellowship for Outstanding Young Scientists
2012 Swedish Reasearch Council International Postdoc Fellowship
2009 AstraZeneca Nils Löfgren Memorial Award
2005 Marie Curie Fellowship for Early Stage Research Training
2004 Minister of Education Award for Outstanding Achievements during Undergraduate Studies
2002 Minister of Education Award for Outstanding Achievements during High School Education
2002 4th Place and a Gold Medal on the 34th International Chemistry Olympiad, Groningen, the Netherlands

Organocatalytic Group Transfer Reactions with Hypervalent Iodine Reagents
Ghosh, M. K., Rajkiewicz, A. A., & Kalek, M. (2019).
Synthesis, 51(02), 359-370.
Mechanistic Insight into Enantioselective Palladium-Catalyzed Oxidative Carbocyclization-Borylation of Enallenes
Qiu, Y., Mendoza, A., Posevins, D., Himo, F., Kalek, M., & Bäckvall, J. E. (2018).
Chemistry-A European Journal, 24(10), 2433-2439.
Elucidation of Mechanisms and Selectivities of Metal-Catalyzed Reactions Using Quantum Chemical Methodology
Santoro, S., Kalek, M., Huang, G., & Himo, F. (2016)
Accounts of Chemical Research, 49(5), 1006-1018.
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