Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Cui, Xin

Committee Member

Webster, Charles Edwin

Committee Member

Emerson, Joseph P.

Committee Member

Scott, Colleen N.

Committee Member

Creutz, Sidney

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Chemistry


Alkenes can undergo a variety of chemical reactions to form more complex molecules with a range of functional groups. This makes them useful starting materials for synthesizing a wide range of organic compounds. Chapter I provided an overview of the development history of alkenyl C−H bond activation. The early reactions of C−H compounds with metal complexes, as well as stoichiometric activation of the transition metal-activated C–H bond, were discussed. Then the first successful and efficient organometallic-catalyzed transformations of a C−H bond, the first transition metal-catalyzed vinylic C–H functionalization, and the first transition metal-catalyzed olefinic C–H functionalization under mild conditions were demonstrated. Finally, enantioselective vinylic C–H functionalization was discussed. In Chapter II, a method for enantioselective vinylic C(sp2)−H bond activation using a Ru(II) catalyst and a chiral transient directing group was developed. Chiral amine was also utilized to control the Z/E stereoselectivity. The method demonstrated a broad substrate scope with good yield, high Z/E ratio stereoselectivity, and excellent enantioselectivity. Its synthetic utility was demonstrated by the synthesis of key structural motifs of particularly useful natural products and pharmaceutical compounds. Additionally, a rare vinylic C−H bond activated ruthenic complex was isolated and determined by single-crystal X-ray diffraction. The methodology suggested in this work is expected to facilitate the further development of asymmetric vinylic C−H functionalization reactions. In Chapter III, a practical and efficient methodology for Ru(II)-catalyzed enantioselective alkenyl C–H bond functionalization of indole-substituted acrylaldehyde derivatives via the chiral transient directing group (CTDG) strategy to obtain optically active pyrrolo[1,2-a]indole derivatives was suggested. The methodology resulted in a series of optically active products with good yields (up to 80%), good stereoselectivity (up to 25.0:1 Z/E), and excellent enantioselectivity (up to 95% ee). Furthermore, synthetic transformations were explored. Chapter IV presented the first demonstration of a sequentially composed catalytic substitution reaction of alkenes for building multi-amido methylated derivatives while reserving the π- components. The process involved a simple Fe (III)-catalyst and bisamidomethane reagent, which directly and selectively transformed α-substituted styrenes into several biologically and pharmaceutically relevant N-heterocycles through tandem processes.


Financial support from Mississippi State University Office of Research and Economic Development, the Department of Chemistry, and the National Science Foundation (CAREER: CHE-1945425).

Available for download on Friday, August 15, 2025