Lee Group – University of Copenhagen

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Lee Group

This is the Nano-Science Center webpage of the Lee group, which is located at the Department of Chemistry (Organic Chemistry Section, Nanoscience Center) University of Copenhagen, Denmark. We are aiming to develop new catalytic methodologies for organic syntheses using state-of-the-art functionalized materials, contributing to society and scientific communities by providing solutions for current global issues.

For more information, click here visit the Lee Groups own website.



More than 13 gigatonnes of CO2 are released annually into the atmosphere as a result of fossil fuel combustion, causing climate changes and ocean acidification. In addition to carbon-capturing processes, CO2-functionalization using a catalytic process is an ideal solution towards creating more valuable resources to compensate the input energy
in the conversion process. This work implies that industrial waste, namely CO2 can be transformed to industrially useful chemicals, serving as a fuel source.

Asymmetric Catalysis and Origin of Life

Chirality on sp3-hybridized carbon is the fundemental resource for diversity and selectivity in Nature's many fascinating operations. We are highly focused on the developement of unprecedented asymmetric catalytic protocols. Furthermore, our methodology developement will be beneficial to understand the origin of chirality on Earth, which is one of the profound "unnatural" events on our planet. By taking advantage of knowledge in organo- and organometallic asymmetric catalysis, we will provide ground-breaking synthetic methodolgy for constructing from small to large and complex molecules in enantioselective fashion.

Novel Fluorination using Alkaline Metal Fluorides

Fluorine is the most electronegative element in the periodic table. This inherent atomic property renders various fascinating applications of fluorine atom in organic synthesis and material chemistry, particularly for the agrochemical and pharmaceutical industries. Moreover, the application of radio-active F[18] in PET imaging is of tremendous interest due to its huge impact in clinical oncology. Thermally-stable engineered solvents can promote the fluorination reaction using potassium fluoride with unprecedented selectivity towards SN2-products with high selectivity.

Catalytic Application of Functionalized Materials

Organic reations have been demonstrated under mostly homogeneous conditions. However, heterogeneous solid materials exhibit significant advantage, i.e. recyclability and high stability, therefore useful for many real-world applications. In our laboratory, we will tackle fundemantly important organic reactions using functinoalized state-of-the-art materials, for example, metal-organic frameworks (MOF), inorganic metal nanoparticles, functionalized polymers, in combination with high-performance organo- and organometallic catalysts.


The increasing scarcity of potable water (drinking water) has been dramatically emphasizing the importance of seawater desalination as a primary means to obtain an ample and safe fresh water supply. Recent global climate changes are seemingly accelerating the unpredictability of
secure water supply sources—even in developed countries—threatening society’s sustainable growth. Seawater is a seemingly limitless water source, but obtaining energy-efficient desalination processes is a formidable challenge. Our group aims at facile desalination processes using functionalized organic materials, organic porous polymers, and membrane systems.


A Microporous Amic Acid Polymer for Enhanced Ammonia Captures

Ji-Woong Lee, G. Barin, G. W. Peterson, J. Xu, K. A. Colwell, J. R. Long*

ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2017, DOI:10.1021/acsami.7b02603.

Asymmetric Cation-Binding Catalysis

M. T. Oliveira, Ji-Woong Lee*

ChemCatChem 2017, 9, 377-384.

Hydrogen-bond promoted nucleophilic fluorination: concept, mechanism and applications in positron emission tomography

Ji-Woong Lee, M. T. Oliveira, H. B. Jang, D. W. Kim,* S. Lee,* D. Y. Chi,* C. E. Song*

Chem. Soc. Rev. 2016, 45, 4638-4650.

Textile Catalysts—An unconventional approach towards heterogeneous catalysis

T. Mayer-Gall,* Ji-Woong Lee, K. Opwis, B. List, J. S. Gutmann

ChemCatChem 2016, DOI: 10.1002/cctc.201501252.

Reversible trapping and reaction acceleration within dynamically self-assembling nanoflasks

H. Zhao, S. Sen, T. Udayabhaskararao, M. Sawczyk, K. Kucanda, D. Manna, P. K. Kundu, Ji-Woong Lee, P. Král, R. Klajn*

Nature Nanotech. 2016, DOI: 10.1038/NNANO.2015.256

Investigation of Cationic Claisen-type Electrophilic Rearrangements of Amides

M. Padmanaban, L. C. R. Carvalho, D. Petkova, Ji-Woong Lee, A. S. Santos, M. M. B. Marques*, N. Maulide*

Tetrahedron 2015, 71, 5994-6005

Parts-per-million Level Loading Organocatalysed Enantioselective Silylation of Alcohols

S. Y. Park, Ji-Woong Lee, C. E. Song*

Nature Commun. 2015, 6:7512, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms8512

Dual-Responsive Nanoparticles that Self-Assemble under the Simultaneous Action of Light and CO2

Ji-Woong Lee, R. Klajn*

Chem. Commun. 2015, 51, 2036-2039

Organotextile Catalysis

Ji-Woong Lee, T. Mayer-Gall, K. Opwis,* C. E. Song, J. S. Gutmann, B. List*

Science 2013, 341, 1225-1229.

Organocatalytic Enantioselective Decarboxylative Aldol Reaction of Malonic Acid Half Thioesters to Aldehydes

H. Y. Bae, J. H. Sim, Ji-Woong Lee, B. List*, C. E. Song*

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2013, 52, 12143-12147

Bifunctional Organocatalyst for Methanolytic Desymmetrization of Cyclic Anhydrides: Increasing Enantioselectivity by Catalyst Dilution

H. S. Rho, S. H. Oh, Ji-Woong Lee, J. Y. Lee, J. Chin,* C. E. Song*

Chem. Commun. 2008, 1208-1210

Deracemization of a-Aryl Hydrocoumarins via Catalytic Asymmetric Protonation of Ketene Dithioacetals

Ji-Woong Lee, B. List*

J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 18245-18248

Scalable Organocatalytic Asymmetric Strecker Reactions Catalysed by a Chiral Cyanide Generator

H. Yan, J. S. Oh, Ji-Woong Lee, C. E. Song*

Nature Commun. 2012, 3, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2216

Self-association Free Bifunctional Thiourea Organocatalysts: Synthesis of Chiral -Amino Acids via Dynamic Kinetic Resolution of Racemic Azlactones

J. S. Oh, Ji-Woong Lee, T. H. Ryu, J. H. Lee, C. E. Song*

Org. Bimol. Chem. 2012, 10, 1052-1055

A Chiral-Anion Generator: Application to Catalytic Desilylative Kinetic Resolution of Silyl-Protected Secondary Alcohols

H. Yan, H. B. Jang, Ji-Woong Lee, H. K. Kim, S. W. Lee, J. W. Yang, C. E. Song*

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2010, 49, 8915-8917

Toward Understanding the Origin of Positive Effects of Ionic Liquids on Catalysis: Formation of More Reactive Catalysts and Stabilization of Reactive Intermediates and Transition States in Ionic Liquids

Ji-Woong Lee, J. Y. Shin, Y. S. Chun, H. B. Jang, C. E. Song,* S.-g., Lee*

Acc. Chem. Res. 2010, 43, 985-994

Self Association-Free Dimeric Cinchona Alkaloid Organocatalysts: Unprecedented Catalytic Activity, Enantioselectivity and Catalyst Recyclability in Dynamic Kinetic Resolution of Racemic Azlactones

Ji-Woong Lee, T. H. Ryu, J. S. Oh, H. Y. Bae, H. B. Jang, C. E. Song*

Chem. Commun. 2009, 7224-7226

Oligoethylene Glycols as Highly Efficient Mutifunctional Promoters for Nucleophilic-Substitution Reactions

V. H. Jadhav, S. H. Jang, H.-J. Jeong, S. T. Lim, M.-H. Sohn, J.-Y. Kim, S. Lee,* Ji-Woong Lee, C. E.Song,* D. W. Kim*

Chem. Eur. J. 2012, 18, 3918-3924

A Highly Reactive and Enantioselective Bifunctional Organocatalyst for Methanolytic Desymmetrization of Cyclic Anhydrides: Preventing Catalyst Aggregation

S. H. Oh, H. S. Rho, Ji-Woong Lee, J. E. Lee, S. H. Youk, J. Chin,* C. E. Song*

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2008, 47, 7872-7875

Bis-Terminal Hydroxyl Polyethers as All-Purpose, Multifunctional Organic Promoters: A Mechanistic Investigation and Applications

Ji-Woong Lee, H. Yan, H. B. Jang, H. K. Kim, S.-W. Park, S. Lee,* D. Y. Chi,* C. E. Song*

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2009, 48, 7683-7686

Hydrogenation of Arenes by Dual Activation: Reduction of Substrates Ranging from Benzene to C60 Fullerene under Ambient Conditions

R. R. Deshmukh, Ji-Woong Lee, U. S. Shin,* J. Y. Lee, C. E. Song*

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2008, 47, 8616-8617.

A Polymer-Supported Cinchona-based Bifunctional Sulfonamide Catalyst: a Highly Enantioselective, Recyclable Heterogeneous Organocatalyst

S. H. Youk, S. H. Oh, H. S. Rho, J. E. Lee, Ji-Woong Lee, C. E. Song*

Chem. Commun. 2009, 2220-2222

Activation of Lewis Acid Catalysts in the Presence of an Organic Salt Containing a Non-Coordinating Anion: Its Origin and Application Potential

J. H. Kim, Ji-Woong Lee, U. S. Shin, J. Y. Lee, S.-g. Lee, C. E. Song*

Chem. Commun. 2007, 4683-4685


Ji-Woong Lee (C.V.)

Assistant Professor 
Email: jiwoong.lee@chem.ku.dk

Martin Juhl

Ph.D. Student
Email: martin.juhl@chem.ku.dk

Joseph Venner

Master Student
Email: ndm227@alumni.ku.dk

Dr. Xinyi Ren

Email: xinyi.ren@chem.ku.dk

Joonas Jokivartio

B.Sc. Erasmus Student
Email: joonas.jokivartio@hotmail.com

Betty Alfirizky Kustiana 

Master Student
Email: zxf342@alumni.ku.dk

Benjamin Regen-Pregizer

Master Student
Email: benjamin.regen-pregizer@gmx.net


Mohamed Desoky

Email: mohmed.desoky@gmail.com

Dasol Hwang

Email: dasol@chem.ku.dk

Dr. Esben Paul Krogh Olsen

Email: esben_olsen@hotmail.com

Mads Georg Rasmussen

Email: mads_gr@hotmail.com

Dr. Pramod Kumar EK

Email: pkumnair@gmail.com


We are looking for highly motivated, creative and talented group members of PhD,  MSc and Bachelor students. Contact Ji-Woong for further information.

Available positions:

  • Bachelor Research Projects/M.Sc. Program (Department of Chemistry/Nano-Science Center)
  • Internship
  • Ph.D. Program*
  • Postdoctoral Researcher*

*Currently we do not have fellowships to support Ph.D. program and postdoctoral researchers. However, it is encouraged to contact Ji-Woong for an application of individual funding opportunities (domestic and/or international).