Quantitative Structure-Selectivity Relationships in Enantioselective Catalysis: Past, Present, and Future

Andrew F. Zahrt, Soumitra V. Athavale, Scott E. Denmark

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The dawn of the 21st century has brought with it a surge of research related to computer-guided approaches to catalyst design. In the past two decades, chemoinformatics, the application of informatics to solve problems in chemistry, has increasingly influenced prediction of activity and mechanistic investigations of organic reactions. The advent of advanced statistical and machine learning methods, as well as dramatic increases in computational speed and memory, has contributed to this emerging field of study. This review summarizes strategies to employ quantitative structure-selectivity relationships (QSSR) in asymmetric catalytic reactions. The coverage is structured by initially introducing the basic features of these methods. Subsequent topics are discussed according to increasing complexity of molecular representations. As the most applied subfield of QSSR in enantioselective catalysis, the application of local parametrization approaches and linear free energy relationships (LFERs) along with multivariate modeling techniques is described first. This section is followed by a description of global parametrization methods, the first of which is continuous chirality measures (CCM) because it is a single parameter derived from the global structure of a molecule. Chirality codes, global, multivariate descriptors, are then introduced followed by molecular interaction fields (MIFs), a global descriptor class that typically has the highest dimensionality. To highlight the current reach of QSSR in enantioselective transformations, a comprehensive collection of examples is presented. When combined with traditional experimental approaches, chemoinformatics holds great promise to predict new catalyst structures, rationalize mechanistic behavior, and profoundly change the way chemists discover and optimize reactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1620-1689
Number of pages70
JournalChemical reviews
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 12 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)


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