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The Gilbert Stork Lecture - Erick Carreira
"Surprises and Discoveries with Natural Products of Human Origin"

Presented by Erick Carreira, ETH Zürich

Hosted by Scott Snyder


Friday, April 5, 2013

Meet the Speaker at 1:30pm in room 328 Havemeyer
Tea & Cookies at 3:00pm in room 328 Havemeyer
Seminar at 3:30 in room 309 Havemeyer

The discovery and development of novel tactics and strategies for the synthesis of a wide range of molecules constitutes a major focus of my research group. Our studies in this area are necessarily interdisciplinary and interfacial, demanding effective integration of the tools, concepts, and methods of molecular recognition, inorganic, organometallic, as well as organic chemistry. An increasingly important objective in our investigations in the area of asymmetric synthesis is the discovery and development of novel processes that utilize readily available starting materials that do not require prior activation and exclude superfluous functionality.  We have also recently become involved in the design and synthesis of catalysts that enable the use of reactive intermediates prepared and best employed in aqueous media, conditions which ensure safe and convenient handling.  Such boundary conditions necessarily impose strict limits on the types of catalysts that can be considered and provide rich new avenues for study of new approaches for synthesis.  Another main objective of our program is the development of laboratory syntheses of complex natural products.  Two of the key objectives of such an endeavor are: the identification of efficient strategies for molecule assembly and the discovery of novel reactions or tactics leading to simplification and efficiency.  This approach often provides a rich forum in which to discover new chemical reactivity.  Of additional relevance is the fact that the strategies we develop allow access to non-natural analogs with potential importance to human medicine. A third component of our program aims to identify novel small molecule building blocks which make it possible to populate new regions of chemical space as well as fine-tune the underlying physicochemical properties of drug candidates in ways that are beneficial to the drug discovery process. 

Prof. Erick M. Carreira obtained a B.S. degree in 1984 from the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign under the supervision of Scott E. Denmark and a Ph.D. degree in 1990 from Harvard University under the supervision of David A. Evans. After carrying out postdoctoral work with Peter Dervan at the California Institute of Technology through late 1992, he joined the faculty at the same institution as an assistant professor of chemistry and subsequently was promoted to the rank of associate professor of chemistry in the Spring of 1996, and full professor in Spring 1997.  Since September 1998, he has been professor of chemistry at the ETH Zürich in the Institute of Organic Chemistry. Since 2011, he has been also been a Member of the Competence Center for Systems Physiology and Metabolic Diseases at ETH-Zürich. He is the recipient of numerous awards, most recently, European Research Commission Award, the ACS Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry; A. Cruishank Lecturer, Gordon Research Conferences; DSM Science and Technology Award; Tetrahedron Chair; Tetrahedron Young Investigator Award; Thieme Prize, Springer Award, American Chemical Society Award in Pure Chemistry, and Nobel Laureate Signature Award.  Professor Carreira has authored over 230 publications and 30 patents.  He has mentored in his laboratory 80 undergraduates, 65 doctoral students, and 75 post-doctoral associates.  He is an associate editor with Organic Letters, Thieme Verlag (Synfacts and Synthesis), and Organic Synthesis. Together with colleagues at ETH Zurich he has co-founded three companies:  Lipideon, SpiroChem, and Glycemicon.  He is a consultant for companies in North America, Europe, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Asia, and Africa.