Kendall N. Houk

Saul Winstein Distinguished Research Chair in Organic Chemistry, UCLA (USA)

K. N. Houk received his A.B., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees at Harvard, working with R. B. Woodward on experimental tests of orbital symmetry selection rules.  In 1968, he joined the faculty at Louisiana State University, moved to the University of Pittsburgh in 1980, and to UCLA in 1986.  From 1988-1990, he was Director of the Chemistry Division of the National Science Foundation.  He was Chairman of the UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry from 1991-1994 and became the Saul Winstein Chair in Organic Chemistry in 2009. Since 2016, he has been the Saul Winstein Distinguished Research Chair in Organic Chemistry at UCLA. Professor Houk is an authority on theoretical and computational organic chemistry.  He has published over 1200 articles in refereed journals and is among the 100 most-cited chemists, with an h-index of 123.

Professor Houk was a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar and an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow.  He received the L.S.U. Distinguished Research Master Award in 1968, the von Humboldt Foundation U.S. Senior Scientist Award in 1981, the Akron ACS Section Award in 1984, and an Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award from the ACS in 1988.  He was the 1991 recipient of the ACS James Flack Norris Award in Physical Organic Chemistry and was the 1998 winner of the Schrödinger Medal of the World Association of Theoretical and Computational Chemists (WATOC).  He was the Faculty Research Lecturer at UCLA, received the Bruylants Chair from the University of Louvain-la-Neuve in Belgium in 1998, and received an honorary doctorate (Dr. rer. nat. h. c.) from the University of Essen in Germany in 1999.  He has been an Erskine Fellow in New Zealand, a Lady Davis Fellow at the Technion in Haifa, Israel, and a JSPS Fellow in Japan.  He was named Honorary Professor at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, in 2014.  He won the Tolman Medal of the Southern California Section of the ACS in 1999.  He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2002 and the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Sciences in 2003.  He was the 2003 winner of the ACS Award for Computers in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences.  He is a Fellow of the AAAS, the ACS, and of the WATOC. He was awarded the Arthur C. Cope Award of the ACS in 2009, was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2010, became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2012, and was awarded the Robert Robinson Award of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2012.  He received the UCLA Society of Postdoctoral Scholars Mentoring Award and the UCLA Glenn T. Seaborg Medal in 2013.

Glenn Micalizio

New Hampshire Professor, Dartmouth College (USA)

Professor Micalizio trained as a Fellow of the Helen Hay Whitney Foundation in the laboratories of Professor Stuart L. Schreiber at Harvard University (2001-2003), received his PhD at the University of Michigan (2001) after graduate studies in the laboratories of Professor William R. Roush, and completed undergraduate studies at Ramapo College of NJ (1996).  Prior to joining the Dartmouth Faculty in 2013, Professor Micalizio was an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute (2008-2013), and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Yale University (2003-2008).  His research is focused on invention within the field of synthetic organic chemistry, aiming to establish new reaction methods and synthesis strategies that enable discovery in medicine and biomedical science.

Among the awards that Professor Micalizio has receive include:  Lilly New Faculty Award, Lilly Grantee Award, Boehringer Ingelheim New Investigator Award, American Cancer Society Research Scholar Award, Beckman Young Investigator Award, Sanofi Visions in Chemistry Award, University of Michigan Kasimir Fajans Award.  Earlier Awards as a graduate student include: Rackham Predoctoral Fellow, Roche Award for Excellence in Organic Chemistry, American Chemical Society Division of Organic Chemistry Predoctoral Fellow.

Franz-Peter Montforts

Professor Emeritus, University of Bremen (Germany)

Professor Montforts received his diploma in Chemistry from the University of Muenster in 1972 and then received his Ph.D. under the direction of Professor Burchard Franck, also at Muenster, in 1974.  Following that, Professor Montforts joined the laboratory of Professor Albert Eschenmoser at the ETH Zurich in Switzerland as a DFG postdoctoral fellow. After completing his habilitation in organic chemistry at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University of Frankfurt in 1983, Professor Montforts joined the faculty at the University of Frankfurt in 1979 as an assistant professor and then moved to the University of Bremen as a full professor in 1986 where he stayed in his retirement in 2015. Among the awards received and positions held by Professor Montforts include:  William P. and Dewilda N. Harris German/Dartmouth Distinguished Visiting Professor (2008 and 2102), Johann Gottfried Herder Visiting Professor at the University of Science and Technology (Hanoi, Vietnam) in 2015, Liebig Fellowship (1978), Siemens Medal for excellent young researchers (1981), and the Liebig Award (1983).

The main focus is directed to total and partial synthesis of linear and cyclic tetrapyrroles. Novel naturally occurring hydroporphyrinoid pigments like bonellin, heme d1 and sirohydrochlorin are typical representatives of this class of compounds. For achieving construction of these macro heterocycles new methods for preparation of monocyclic pyrrolic building blocks had to be developed. Artificial congeners of these natural tetrapyrrolic pigments were synthesized with respect to applications for artificial photosynthesis, photodynamic therapy and immobilization on metals and metal oxides.

Al Padwa

William P. Timmie Professor of Chemistry, Emory University (USA)

Albert Padwa was born in New York City. He received both his B.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University. Following an NSF postdoctoral position at the University of Wisconsin, he was appointed as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the Ohio State University. He moved to SUNY Buffalo as Associate Professor and was promoted to Professor in 1969. Since 1979, he was appointed the William Patterson Timmie Professor of Chemistry at Emory University. Al’s research interests have encompassed heterocyclic chemistry, alkaloid synthesis, tandem organometallic chemistry, and organic photochemistry.

Among other awards, he has been the recipient of an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, a John S. Guggenheim Fellowship, an Alexander von Humboldt Senior Scientist Award, a Senior Award in Heterocyclic Chemistry from the International Society of Heterocyclic Chemists and an ACS Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award. He served as the Chairman of the Organic Division of the ACS and as President of the International Society of Heterocyclic Chemistry. He is currently one of the Associate Editors for Organic Reactions. His hobbies include climbing tall mountains and building Calder like mobiles.

Amos Smith

Rhodes-Thompson Professor of Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania (USA)

Amos B. Smith, III, born in Lewisburg, PA in 1944, received Bucknell University’s first combined B.S.-M.S. degree in chemistry (1966) under the direction of Professor Harold W. Heine. After a year in Medical School at the University of Pennsylvania, he entered Rockefeller University, completing his Ph.D. degree (1972) and a year as a Postdoctoral Associate with Professor William C. Agosta.  In 1973 he joined the Department of Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania where he is the Rhodes-Thompson Professor of Chemistry, and a Member of the Monell Chemical Senses Center. From 1988-1996 he was Chair of the Department. In addition, Professor Smith served as the inaugural Editor-in-Chief of Organic Letters (1999-2018). His research interests, recorded in over 700 peer reviewed publications, include organic synthesis of architecturally complex natural products, bioorganic and medicinal chemistry and materials science.

Professor Smith’s achievements have been recognized with the ACS Cope Scholar Award (1991); the ACS Ernest Guenther Award (1993); the ACS Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry (1997); the Centenary Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry (2002); the Yamada Prize, Tokyo, Japan (2003); the first Provost’s Award for Distinguished Teaching and Mentoring Ph.D. Students (2004); the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon from the Government of Japan (2004); election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2007); Inaugural Fellow, American Chemical Society (2009), an Honorary Ph.D. from Queens University, Belfast, Ireland (2009); an Honorary Professorship, Jiangsu Normal University, Xuzhou, China (2012); the Paul Gassman Award, Organic Division, American Chemical Society (2014); The William H. Nichols Medal, New York Section of the American Chemical Society (2014); The Philadelphia Drug Discovery Institute Award, Doylestown, PA (2015); The Allan R. Day Award, The Philadelphia Organic Chemist Club and the Department of Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania (2015); and The Perkin Prize for Organic Chemistry, The Royal Society of Chemistry, UK (2015).

Victor Snieckus

Bader Chair Emeritus; Director of Snieckus Innovations, Queens University (Canada)

Victor Algirdas Snieckus was born in Kaunas, Lithuania and spent his childhood in Germany during World War II.  Training: U. of Alberta (B.Sc.), strongly influenced by the iconoclastic teacher, Rube Sandin; U. California, Berkeley (M.Sc.), appreciation of physical organic chemistry under D.S. Noyce; U. Oregon (Ph.D.), discovering his passion for organic synthesis under the excellent mentor, Virgil Boekelheide; National Research Council, Ottawa, postdoctoral tenure with the ardent Ted Edwards. Appointments: U. of Waterloo, Assistant Professor, 1966; Monsanto/NRC Industrial Research Chair, 1992-1998; Queen's University, 1998-2009, inaugural Bader Chair in Organic Chemistry.  He continues fundamental research as Bader Chair Emeritus as well as Director of Snieckus Innovations, an institute for synthesis of small molecules for the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries.  He still plays hockey and wishes he had not given up the clarinet.

Selective awards: Arthur C. Cope Scholar (2001, one of 4 Canadians), Order of the Grand Duke Gediminas (2002, from the President of Lithuania), Arfedson-Schlenk (2003, Geselschaft Deutscher Chemiker), Bernard Belleau (2005, Canadian Society for Chemistry), Givaudan-Karrer Medal (2008, U. Zurich), Honoris causa (2009, Technical U. Tallinn, Estonia), Global Lithuanian Leader (2012).  Research: The Snieckus group has contributed to the development and application of the directed ortho metalation reaction (DoM) and used it as a conceptual platform for discovery of new efficient methods for the regioselective synthesis of polysubstituted aromatics and heteroaromatics.  The directed remote metalation (DreM) reaction and DoM – linked transition metal catalyzed cross coupling (especially Suzuki-Miyaura) were first uncovered in his laboratories.  These have found broad application in agrochemical and pharmaceutical industry, e.g. fungicide TAKE-ALL (Monsanto), anti-AIDS Sustiva, anti-inflammatory Losartan (Bristol-Myers Squibb).