Philipp Lachenmann: DELPHI Rationale


Ernst Schering Prize 2015

The Ernst Schering Foundation has awarded the 2015 Ernst Schering Prize to Prof. Dr. David MacMillan, Chair of the Department of Chemistry at Princeton University, USA. MacMillan will receive the 50,000-euro prize for his pioneering contributions in the area of organocatalysis and organo-cascade catalysis. His research interests are centered on the field of enantio-selective catalysis, the merger of photoredox catalysis with organocatalysis or with transition metal catalysis, new reaction methodologies and the application of these new concepts to the total syntheses of natural products and pharmaceuticals. The award ceremony will be held on September 28, 2015, at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

“MacMillan's fundamental systematic approach and his brilliant conceptualization have had a major impact on launching organocatalysis as a rapidly growing and highly innovative field of research for organic chemistry,” explains Prof. Dr. Stefan H.E. Kaufmann, Chairman of the Foundation Council of the Schering Stiftung, regarding the decision of the jury.

David MacMillan’s research program is devoted to the invention of novel chemical reactions and strategies that promote the discovery of potential medicines for the improvement of human health.  In the search for just one new drug, thousands of compounds must be tested, highlighting the need for efficient and affordable ways to improve access. To address this demand, the MacMillan group has contributed to several platforms for catalysis methods that use tiny amounts of specially designed molecules, called catalysts, which promote new bond-forming reactions. Researchers in the MacMillan lab have developed numerous catalysts that are able to make new bonds rapidly and with surgical precision.  The MacMillan lab came to prominence as one of the pioneers of organocatalysis, a field that employs organic catalysts to help create new pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and fine chemicals.  In recent years, the group has established the utility of photoredox catalysis, in which visible light-activated catalysts perform unique bond-forming events under very mild conditions. The lab has combined many of these different types of catalysts in tandem or cascade processes to perform powerful reactions in which a single catalyst could not act alone.

David MacMillan was born in Bellshill, Scotland and received his undergraduate degree in chemistry at the University of Glasgow, where he worked with Dr. Ernie Colvin. In 1990, he began his doctoral studies under the direction of Professor Larry Overman at the University of California, Irvine, before undertaking a postdoctoral position with Professor David Evans at Harvard University (1996). He began his independent career at the University of California, Berkeley in July of 1998 before moving to Caltech in June of 2000 (Earle C. Anthony Chair of Organic Chemistry). In 2006, MacMillan moved to the east coast of the US to take up the position of James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor at Princeton University and he became Department Chair in 2010.

Davod MacMillan


pdf CV for download


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