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  • Professor Stephen L. Buchwald
    10/03/17 - 9:45 AM to 11:00 AM

    Gassman Lectureship #1: Professor Stephen L. Buchwald

    Paul G. Gassman Lectureship in Chemistry

"Palladium-Catalyzed Carbon-Heteroatom Bond-Forming Reactions for Organic Synthesis"

Cross-coupling methodology is an indispensable part of the everyday repertoire of synthetic organic chemists. Among the many possibilities, we have focused a great deal of attention on the Pd-catalyzed formation of C-N bonds (Chem. Rev., 2016, 116, 12564); a mechanistic pathway for this transformation is shown below. This methodology has been widely utilized throughout academia and industry.

Professor Buchwald's graphic for his first Gassman lecture.

Crucial to our success in the development of new and more generally applicable methods has been our discovery and use of biaryl monodentate phosphine ligands.  These have been licensed for manufacture on large scale to eight companies and are available, in many cases, on very large scale (100's of Kg produced). This methodology has been widely utilized throughout academia and industry.

The history of our work up to the most recent developments will be discussed.

Research interests

Research interests in Professor Buchwald's group include:

  • Selective modification of complex biological molecules that includes exploring new methods for rapid, efficient, and selective modification for an array of complex, biologically important molecules.
  • Development of new, highly active catalyst systems for both carbon-nitrogen (C–N) bond formation and carbon-oxygen (C–O) bond formation.
  • Development of systems for carbon−carbon bond formation achieved through mechanistic understanding, ligand design and catalyst development.
  • Development of methods for the construction of organofluorine compounds.
  • Development of safe, scalable processes for the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, which encompasses the development of new continuous flow processes.
  • Discover of new processes and applications that are catalyzed by copper(I) hydride complexes.

Professor Buchwald

Professor Buchwald received his bachelor’s degree from Brown University and his doctorate from Harvard University. He was a Myron A. Bantrell post-doctoral fellow at Caltech with Professor Robert H. Grubbs where he studied titanocene methylenes as reagents in organic synthesis and the mechanism of Ziegler-Natta polymerization.  In 1984, he began as an assistant professor of chemistry Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) He was promoted to the associate professor (1989) and to professor (1993) and was named the Camille Dreyfus Professor in 1997. In July 2015, he became associate head of the Chemistry Department.

During his time at MIT, he has received numerous honors including the Harold Edgerton Faculty Achievement Award of MIT, an Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award, the 2000 Award in Organometallic Chemistry from the American Chemical Society and a MERIT award from the National Institutes of Health. He has also been the recipient of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Distinguished Achievement Award and the CAS Science Spotlight Award, both received in 2005, and the American Chemical Society's Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry as well as the Siegfried Medal Award in Chemical Methods which Impact Process Chemistry, both received in 2006. In 2010, he received the Gustavus J. Esselen Award for Chemistry in the Public Interest. He received the 2013 Arthur C. Cope Award from the American Chemical Society. In 2014, he was the recipient of the Linus Pauling Medal Award and the Ulysses Medal (University College Dublin). In 2015, he received an honorary doctoral degree from the University of South Florida, and also received the BBVA Frontiers in Knowledge Award in Basic Sciences (2014 Award). He was recently selected to receive the 2016 William H. Nichols Medal. In 2000, he elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and, in 2008,he was elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He is the co-author of more than 435 published or accepted papers and 47 issued patents. He serves as a consultant to a number of companies and is an associate editor of Advanced Synthesis and Catalysis.

In honor of Regents Professor Paul G. Gassman

Regents Professor Paul G. Gassman died in April 1993, at the age of 57. He was internationally known in the chemical community, and left behind a legacy of achievement. During his career, he served as mentor and adviser to 85 doctoral and master’s candidates as well as dozens of postdoctoral associates and undergraduate students. Numerous awards, honors, and honorary degrees were bestowed in recognition of his contributions to research and his service to the scientific, professional, and university communities. Some of these awards include election to the National Academy of Sciences (1989) and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1992); the James Flack Norris Award in Physical Organic Chemistry (1985); Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award (1986); and the National Catalyst Award of the Chemical Manufacturers Association (1990). He served as president of the American Chemical Society in 1990. He was co-chair of the organizing committees of the National Organic Symposium (1991) and the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research meeting (1992), on the University of Minnesota campus. It was his wish that a lectureship be established to bring distinguished organic chemists to the Department of Chemistry. 

  • Event Details

    Location: 331 Smith Hall
    Host: Professors Ian Tonks & Joseph Topczewski
    • Professor Stephen L. Buchwald
    • Stephen Buchwald
    • Department of Chemistry
    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    • Cambridge