Scott Denmark, University of Illinois
Scott E. Denmark was born in New York on 17 June 1953. He obtained an S. B. degree from M.I.T. in 1975 and his graduate studies were carried out at the ETHZürich under the direction of Professor Albert Eschenmoser, culminating in a D. Sc. Tech degree in 1980. That same year he began his career as assistant professor at the University of Illinois. He was promoted to associate professor in 1986, full professor in 1987 and then in 1991 named the Reynold C. Fuson Professor of Chemistry. Professor Denmark is primarily interested in the invention of new synthetic reactions and elucidating the origins of stereocontrol in novel, asymmetric reactions. The current emphasis in his laboratories focuses on the relationship between structure, reactivity and stereoselectivity in a variety of organoelement processes. He has pioneered the concept of chiral Lewis base activation of Lewis acids for catalysis in main group synthetic organic chemistry. His group has also developed palladiumcatalyzed cross-couplings with organofunctional silicon compounds. In addition his research program encompasses the development and application of tandem heterodiene cycloadditions for the synthesis of complex natural (alkaloids) and unnatural (fenestranes, phase transfer catalysts) nitrogen containing compounds. In recent years, his group has investigated the use of chemoinformatics and machine learning to identify and optimize catalysts for a variety of organic and organometallic reactions. Professor Denmark has won honors for both research and teaching. These include: A. P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, A. C. Cope Scholar Award (ACS), Alexander Von Humboldt Senior Scientist Award, Pedler Lecture and Medal (RSC), the ACS Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry, the Yamada-Koga Prize, the Prelog Medal (ETH-Zürich), the H. C. Brown Award for Creative Research in Synthetic Methods (ACS), Robert Robinson Lecture and Medal (RSC), the ISHC Senior Award in Heterocyclic Chemistry, Paul Karrer Lectureship (Uni Zürich), the Frederic Stanley Kipping Award for Research in Silicon Chemistry (ACS), the Ryoji Noyori Prize (Society of Synthetic Organic Chemistry of Japan), e-EROS Best Reagent of the Year Award and the Paracelsus Prize (Swiss Chemical Society). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and the American Chemical Society. In 2017 he was elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2018 he became a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He has received many honorary lectureships and visiting professorships and has served on many editorial advisory boards. He edited Volume 85 of Organic Syntheses, was Editor of Volumes 22-25 of Topics in Stereochemistry and was a founding Associate Editor of Organic Letters (1999-2004). After serving on the editorial board from 1994-2003, was Editor in Chief and President of Organic Reactions, Inc. (2008-2018) and continues to serve on the Board of Directors.
REPRESENTATIVE PUBLICATIONS (out of over 400)
- Lewis Base Catalysis in Organic Synthesis (with G. Beutner), Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. 2008, 47, 1560-1638.
- On the Mechanism of Lewis Base Catalyzed Aldol Addition Reactions: Kinetic and Spectroscopic Investigations Using Rapid-Injection NMR (with B. M. Eklov, P. J. Yao, and M. D. Eastgate) J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2009, 131, 11770-11787.
- Catalytic, Enantioselective Sulfenofunctionalization of Alkenes— Development and Recent Advances (with A. Matviitsuk and J. L. Panger) Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. 2020, https://doi.org/10.1002/anie.202005920
- Why You Really Should Consider Using Palladium-Catalyzed Cross-Coupling of Silanols and Silanolates (with A. Ambrosi) Org. Process Res. Dev. 2015, 19, 982-994.
- Structural, Kinetic, and Computational Characterization of the Elusive Arylpalladium(II)boronate Complexes in the Suzuki-Miyaura Reaction (with A. A. Thomas, H. Wang, and A. F. Zahrt) J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139, 3805-3821
- Catalytic, Stereospecific Syn-Dichlorination of Alkenes (with A. J. Cresswell and S. T.-C. Eey) Nature Chemistry 2015, 7, 146-152.
- Harnessing the Power of the Water-Gas Shift Reaction for Organic Synthesis (with A. Ambrosi) Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2016, 55, 12164-12189.
- Catalytic, Enantioselective syn-Diamination of Alkenes (with Zhonglin Tao, Bradley B. Gilbert) J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 48, 19161-19170.
- Prediction of Higher Selectivity Catalysts by Computer Driven Workflow and Machine Learning (with A. F. Zahrt, J. J. Henle, B. T. Rose, Y. Wang, W. T. Darrow) Science 2019, 363, 247.
- Demystifying the asymmetry-amplifying, autocatalytic behaviour of the Soai reaction through structural, mechanistic and computational studies (with S. V. Athavale, A. Simon, and K. N. Houk) Nat. Chem 2020, 12, 412–423.