Research in Professor Christina White's lab, which has led to discoveries regarding C–H activation, is highlighted in a special Chemistry World series focusing on eight "Holy Grails" of chemistry. The article explains how the White research group's work is one of a group of discoveries that has “contributed to a blossoming of the field of C–H activation.”
In 2019, White received the American Chemical Society award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry, one of the society’s highest national awards. It recognized her pioneering studies on selective functionalization of aliphatic and allylic C-H bonds to form C-O, C-N and C-C bonds and discovery of catalysts that distinguish C-H bonds based on their electronic, steric and stereo electronic properties, which can be altered to change the site of oxidation. Her methods have streamlined access to important structural motifs and have been applied by many followers in the field to modify the structure of complex molecules for late-stage diversification of potential therapeutic targets. Hear White explain her group's groundbreaking research in this video.