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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Chemistry

First Advisor

Sarah A Green


In the literature, some transition metal salts have been used as soft Lewis acids to activate alkynes toward nucleophilic attack. For example, Pt(II), Au(I) and Pd(II) catalysts can catalyze cycloisomerization reactions of alkynyl compounds to give a variety of cyclic products. In order to expand the scope of these reactions, in chapter 2 of this dissertation, several alkynyl epoxides were isomerized to cyclic allyl vinyl ethers using PtCl2 as the catalyst. Three of these allyl vinyl ethers were hydrolyzed to 2-hydroxymorpholine derivatives and two were converted to piperidine derivatives by thermal Claisen rearrangement. In order to find more benign and inexpensive catalysts for these types of reactions, in chapter 3 of this dissertation, BiCl3 was used to catalyze the isomerization of eight enynes to pyrrolidine derivatives. This reaction was normally catalyzed by expensive noble metal catalysts, such as Pd(II), Pt(II) and Au(I). All the cyclic products are valuable intermediates in the synthesis of bioactive molecules, these soft Lewis acid catalyzed cycloisomerization may find applications in the synthesis of bioactive molecules.