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Named Lectureships

The Department of Chemistry is proud to host several sponsored Named Lectures as part of our Frontiers in Chemistry Lecture Series. The lectures are generally held on a Friday at 2:00p.m. (PST) unless otherwise noted. All lectures are held in the W.M. Keck Foundation Amphitheater located on the 1st floor of the Beckman Center for Chemical Sciences building here at TSRI.

If your compnay is interested in sponsoring a Named Lecture, or if you would like more information, please contact our Named Lectures & Symposia coordinators:

Mishelle McClanahan-Shinn | Administrative Manager                           
Direct line: 858-784-2738                                                                                

Chemistry Seminar Administrative Assistant
Direct line: 858-784-2400

Named Lectures & Symposia
Department of Chemistry | The Scripps Research Institute
10550 N. Torrey Pines Road, BCC405 | La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: (858) 784-2400 | Fax: (858) 784-2469


Upcoming Named Lectures:

Bristol-Myers Squibb Lectures in Synthetic Organic Chemistry
Friday, April 6, 2018

Introductions by Professor Jin-Quan Yu

2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Dr. Ke Chen, Chemical & Synthetic Development, Bristol-Myers Squibb

“Taming Down Those Nitrogens: Design and Development of the Commercial Synthesis of a Novel Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor”

Dr. Ke Chen received her undergraduate education at Beijing University in China, 1997-2011, followed by her Ph.D. in Chemistry at the Unversity of Rochester in 2006 under Professors Robert Boeckman, Jr. & Michael A. Calter. She then joined the laboratory of Professor Phil S. Baran at The Scripps Research Institute as a postdoctoral fellow, 2006-2009. Dr. Chen joined Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2009 as a Research Investigator where she is currently a Principal Scientist in the Chemical & Synthetic Development group.

3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Jan-E. Bäckvall 
Professor, Stockholm University, Sweden

Biomimetic Catalysis in Green Organic Transformations

Prof.  Jan-E. Bäckvall graduated from the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm in 1971, completing his Ph.D. from the same in 1975. He spent the next year as a postdoc with K.B. Sharpless at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He became Assistant Professor in 1976 and Associate Pro­fessor in 1977 at the Royal Institute of Technology. In 1986, he moved to Uppsala University as a Full Professor and in 1997 he moved to his current position as Professor at Stockholm University. Prof. Bäckvall is a Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, Academia Europaea, and European Academy of Sciences. He was a member of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry from 2008-2016. He is a member of a number of Editorial Boards for scientific journals and is the Chairman of the Editorial Board of Chemistry – A European Journal.

He is renowned for his contribution to organopalladium chemistry and catalytic oxidation reactions where he has done mechanistic work and developed new reactions. He has also pioneered the development of efficient systems for dynamic kinetic resolution of alcohols and amines based on combined metal and enzyme catalysis. More recently the enantioselectivity of enzymes was improved by directed evolution. The Bäckvall group has also developed a variety of useful aerobic biomimetic oxidation reactions. In these reactions electron-transfer mediators are employed to facilitate low-energy electron transfer similar to that occurring in natural systems. Recent applications of the latter topic involve palladium-catalyzed oxidative carbocyclizations.

BMS Lectures Flyer

Boehringer Ingelheim Lectures
Friday, June 1, 2018

Introductions by Professor Jin-Quan Yu

2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Jeff Song, Ph.D. 
Director, Chemical Development Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc

Development of Scalable and Cost-Effective API Synthesis through Chemical Innovation"

Dr. Jeff Song received his undergraduate education at Nankai University in Tianjin, China, 1989-1992. After a brief stay at Rice University in Houston, TX, he moved to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1993 obtaining his Ph.D. in 1998 under Prof. Satoru Masamune. He subsequently joined the Dept. of Chemical Development at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals in Ridgefield, CT, where he is currently a Director overseeing several functions including the Catalysis Group, as well as, the Kilolab Group. Dr. Song’s research areas encompass natural product synthesis, asymmetric synthesis of chiral biologically active compounds and efficient methodologies for heterocycle synthesis. He has authored and co-authored >80 research papers, review articles and book chapters including some “Most-Cited” and “Most-Accessed” papers. Some of his work has received media attention and been highlighted in Chemical and Engineering News. Additionally, Dr. Song holds >15 patents on efficient synthesis of pharmaceutical agents.

3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Professor Gregory C. Fu
Norman Chandler Professor of Chemistry, California Institute of Technology

Nucleophilic Substitution Reactions: A Radical Alternative to SN1 and SN2 Reactions

Professor Greg Fu received a B.S. degree in 1985 from MIT, where he worked in the laboratory of Prof. K. Barry Sharpless. After earning a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1991 under the guidance of Prof. David A. Evans, Prof. Fu spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow with Prof. Robert H. Grubbs at Caltech. In 1993, he returned to MIT, where he served as a member of the faculty from 1993–2012.  In 2012, he was appointed the Altair Professor of Chemistry and is currently the Norman Chandler Professor of Chemistry at Caltech.
The current research interests of the Fu lab include metal-catalyzed coupling reactions and the design of chiral catalysts. In particular, the group is focused on the development of nickel-catalyzed enantioselective cross-couplings of alkyl electrophiles and on photoinduced, copper-catalyzed carbon–heteroatom bond-forming reactions (collaboration with the laboratory of Prof. Jonas Peters).
Prof. Fu received the Corey Award of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in 2004, the Mukaiyama Award of the Society of Synthetic Organic Chemistry of Japan in 2006, the Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry of the ACS in 2012, and the H. C. Brown Award of the ACS in 2018. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2007) and of the National Academy of Sciences (2014). Prof. Fu serves as an associate editor of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

BI Lectures Flyer


Novartis Chemical Sciences Lectureship
Friday, September 28, 2018

2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Chaitan Khosla
Professor, Departments of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, and (by courtesy) Biochemistry
Director, Stanford ChEM-H

Please check back for additional speaker information and lecture flyer.


Scripps Lilly Symposium
Friday, October 12, 2018

Please check back for our confirmed speaker information and lecture flyer.



Past Named Lectures:

Genentech Chemistry Lecture
Friday, October 13, 2017

1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. (PST)
W.M. Keck Foundation Amphitheater
4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Eastern)
VTC to TSRI-Florida campus, Classroom B159
Introduction by Professor Phil Baran

Thomas Maimone, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Chemistry, UC Berkeley

“Synthetic Studies Toward Complex Natural Products”

Tom Maimone was born and raised in Warsaw, NY. He began undergraduate studies at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo and, after two years, transferred to the University of California, Berkeley where he obtained his B.S. degree with high honors in chemistry in 2004. While at Berkeley, Prof. Maimone conducted undergraduate research in the laboratory of Professor Dirk Trauner.

In the fall of 2005, he began doctoral studies at The Scripps Research Institute under the guidance of Professor Phil Baran. While at TSRI, Prof. Maimone completed total syntheses of the alkaloids hapalindole U and ambiguine H, and was part of the team that completed the first laboratory synthesis of the complex diterpene vinigrol.

In the fall of 2009, Prof. Maimone moved to MIT to pursue postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Professor Steve Buchwald where he worked in the area of palladium-catalyzed carbon-oxygen and carbon-fluorine bond formation.

In July 2012, Prof. Maimone returned to UC, Berkeley where he is an assistant professor in the department of chemistry focusing on natural products chemistry research.

Hosted by:  Professor Dale Boger, Chair, and Professor Phil Baran


Bristol-Myers Squibb Lectures in Organic Synthesis
Friday, June 2, 2017

Introductions by Assistant Professor Keary Engle

2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Thomas M. Razler
Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Bristol-Myers Squibb

Adventures in Atropisomerism

Thomas Razler received his B.Sc. in chemistry from the University of Delaware and then went on to Johnson and Johnson Research & Development in Immunology Medicinal Chemistry working on synthesized small molecule inhibitors to inhibit PDE5 and p38 MAP Kinase targets. He then obtained his Ph.D. in total synthesis from University of Pennsylvania in 2006 working in the labs of Amos Smith on an improved synthesis of Phorboxazole A and the synthesis of de-novoPhorboxazole analogues.

Thomas has been at Bristol-Myers Squibb since 2006, currently the Associate Director, Integrated Development Team Lead – Oncology, working to develop efficient total syntheses and processes of developmental small molecules for Ph1 - Ph3 and commercialization. He is also currently working as an Integrated Development Team Leader (IDT – Chemistry, Formulation, Regulatory, and Quality) of small molecule oncology assets. In 2013, he received the BMS Chemistry Leadership Award – Development of a Novel Strategy and Synthesis to Control Atropisomerism.

3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
F. Dean Toste
Department of Chemistry, UC Berkeley

Organic Reactions Inspired by the Organometallic Chemistry of Gold

F. Dean Toste received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in chemistry from the University of Toronto, Canada and his D. from Stanford University in 2000. Following postdoctoral studies at Caltech, he joined the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley in July of 2002, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2006 and Full Professor in 2009. Professor Toste’s honors include the Cope Scholar (2006), E.J. Corey (2008) and Creativity in Organic Synthesis (2015) Awards from the American Chemical Society, the Organometallic Chemistry Directed Towards Organic Synthesis (OMCOS) Award (2007) and Thieme-IUPAC Prize in Synthetic Organic Chemistry (2008) from IUPAC, the Merck Award (2010) from the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Mukaiyama Award (2011) from the Society of Synthetic Organic Chemistry Japan and the Horst-Pracejus Prize (2015) from the German Chemical Society.

Hosted by: Professor Dale Boger, Chair, and Professor Phil Baran


Novartis Chemical Sciences Lectures
Friday, February 10, 2017

Introduction by Assoc. Professor Ryan Shenvi

2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Valentina Molteni, Ph.D.
Director of Discovery Chemistry, Genomics Insitute of the Novartis Research Foundation

“Pan-Kinetoplastid Growth Inhibitors: Towards One Cure for Multiple Diseases”

Dr. Molteni received her Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Milan in Italy and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California San Diego. She is currently Director of Medicinal Chemistry at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF) where she leads a group of about 30 medicinal chemists involved in the discovery and development of novel drugs. In her medicinal chemistry career, first at Dupont Pharmaceutical and then at GNF since 2002, Dr. Molteni has been involved in many drug discovery programs delivering development candidates for a variety of indications including infectious, respiratory, cardiovascular, liver diseases and regenerative medicine and oncology. In addition, her group is interested in identifying and implementing new technologies to improve the drug discovery process.

Friday, June 16, 2017 (rescheduled date due to inclement weather)

Introduction by Assoc. Professor Ryan Shenvi

2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Professor Scott Miller
Irenee Dupont Professor of Chemistry, Yale University

Searching for Selective Catalytic Reactions in Complex Molecular Environments

Scott J. Miller received his B.A. (1989), M.A. (1989) and Ph.D. (1994) from Harvard University, where he worked in the laboratory of Professor David Evans as a National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellow. Subsequently, he traveled to the California Institute of Technology where he was a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Robert Grubbs. He joined the faculty at Yale University in 2006. In 2008, he was appointed as the Irénée DuPont Professor of Chemistry, and, in 2009, the Chairperson of the Chemistry Department, concluding in 2015. Presently, he serves as the Divisional Director of Science at Yale University.

Professor Miller’s research program focuses on problems in catalysis. His group employs strategies that include catalyst design, the development of combinatorial techniques for catalyst screening, and the application of these approaches to the preparation of biologically active agents.  Three particular interests of his laboratory include (a) the selective functionalization of complex molecules, (b) the exploration of potential analogies between synthetic catalysts and enzymes, and (c) the discovery of molecules that are effective antibiotics despite increasing resistance challenges.

Hosted by:    Professor Dale Boger, Chair, and Professor Phil Baran 


Boehringer Ingelheim Lectures
Friday, May 13, 2016

2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Chris Senanayake, Ph.D.
”Important Asymmetric and Catalytic Transformations for Drug Development"

Dr. Senanayake’s research interests focus on the development of new asymmetric methods for the synthesis of bioactive molecules and heterocycles and on catalytic, enzymatic, and mechanistic studies. He has published and lectured in the area of practical asymmetric synthesis and many disciplines of organic chemistry how to develop drugs on an economical, greener and practical manner in large-scale operation for rapid development of drugs.  He is the co-author >350 papers, patents, book chapters and review articles in many areas of synthetic organic chemistry, drug development and design of improved chemical entities.

3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Professor Eiichi Nakamura
“Atomic Resolution Electron Microscopy: A New Tool for Organic Chemists”

Eiichi Nakamura was born in Tokyo (The University of Tokyo Hospital), and graduated from Tokyo Institute of Technology earning his B.S., and his Ph.D. in 1978. After a postdoctoral stint at Columbia University, he worked first at his alma mater and moved to the University of Tokyo in 1995. He is currently Professor of Physical Organic Chemistry in the Faculty of Science, and, from April 2016, will become "Molecular Technology Innovation" Endowed Chair Professor in the President's Office and in the Faculty of Science of the University of Tokyo.

Nakamura has worked in a diverse field of synthetic and physical chemistry of organic and inorganic matters with focus on their functions, e.g., organoelectronic devices. Having completed the synthesis of several natural products in the 1980s, he shifted his interest to de novo design and synthesis of functional unnatural organic compounds including organofullerenes and new pi-conjugated systems. A solar cell technology that he developed some time ago will be commercialized in 2016. He introduced atomic resolution transmission electron microscopy for chemistry research; inter alia, studies on the link between the molecular world and the real world. Both the solar cell and the electron microscopy works started in 2004 during the period of Nakamura Functional Carbon Cluster ERATO Project supported by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST).

In recognition of his research, Nakamura received several awards including Young Chemists Award (Chemical Society of Japan, 1984), The Japan IBM Science Prize (1993), The Chemical Society of Japan Award (2003), Humboldt Research Award (2006), The Medal of Honour with Purple Ribbon given in the name of the Emperor of Japan (2009), The Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award of ACS (2010), The 55th Fujiwara Award (2014), and Centenary Prize 2014, Royal Society of Chemistry (2014).

Hosted by:  Professor Jin-Quan Yu


Abbvie Mini-Symposium
Monday, April 4, 2016

2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Violeta L. Marin, Ph.D.
“Chemical Detectives: From Affinity Capture MS to Ligand Directed GLiCo Click for Drug Target Identification”

Dr. Violeta Marin received her B.S. in Chemistry (1997) and M.S. – Physical Organic Chemistry (1999) from University of Bucharest, Romania. Marin received her Ph.D. in Bioorganic Chemistry in 2005 Carnegie Mellon University. She did a postdoctoral program at University of Chicago under the guidance of Milan Mrksich. Violeta joined Abbott in 2008. She is presently a Sr. Scientist II Research Scientist in Discovery and Chemistry Technologies in the Global Pharmaceutical Research and Development Division of AbbVie where she works in the Molecular Probes Group.

3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Professor Stuart L. Schreiber
"Chemistry Towards Novel Mechanism-of-Action (nMoA) Compounds in Microbial Therapeutics Discovery"

Schreiber is one of four co-founders of the Broad Institute, serving as the Director of the Center for the Science of Therapeutics. Schreiber is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, the Morris Loeb Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University, and has been a member of the National Academy of Sciences since 1995. Schreiber’s research integrates chemical biology and human biology to advance the science of therapeutics. He is known for having developed systematic ways to explore biology, using small molecules and for his role in the development of the field of chemical biology. He discovered principles that underlie information transfer and storage in cells. His work has contributed to diversity-oriented synthesis (DOS) and discovery-based small-molecule screening in an open data-sharing environment. His research has been reported in over 500 publications. Four new anti-cancer drugs that target proteins discovered in the Schreiber laboratory have been approved by the U.S. FDA. A small-molecule dimerizer drug (AP1903) reversed the effects of graft-versus-host disease in acute leukemia patients receiving hematopoietic stem cells engineered to express caspase-9 fused to a drug-responsive, FKBP12-based dimerization domain (NEJM, 2011). Schreiber extended chemical biology principles to medicine by participating in the founding of four biotech companies, each of which has devised novel therapeutic agents that are being tested in human clinical trials or used as FDA-approved drugs: Vertex Pharmaceuticals, ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, ARIAD Gene Therapeutics, and Infinity Pharmaceuticals. More recently, he co-founded Forma Therapeutics and H3 Biomedicines.

Hosted by: Professor Phil Baran & Professor Benjamin Cravatt


Bristol-Myers Squibb Lectures
Friday, February 12, 2016

2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
David Leahy, Ph.D.
“Evolution and Development of a Commercial Route for CGRP Antagonist BMS-927711”

3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Kevan Shokat, Ph.D.
“Non-traditional Strategies for Drugging Traditional Targets”

Professor Kevan Shokat is a pioneer in the development of chemical methods for investigating cellular signal transduction pathways - with a particular focus on protein kinases and lipid kinases. He uses a combination of chemical synthesis and protein engineering to create uniquely traceable and regulatable kinases, allowing the function of over 100 different kinases to be uncovered across all disease areas.

Kevan is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, where he also served as Department Chair from 2010-2014, at the University of California, San Francisco. He is also Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. After receiving his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at UC Berkeley with Prof. Peter Schultz, and post-doctoral work in immunology at Stanford University with Prof. Chris Goodnow, Kevan began his independent research career at Princeton University where he was promoted to Associate Professor in four years. He has received numerous awards such as Fellow of prestigious research foundations such as the Pew Foundation, Searle Foundation, Sloan Foundation, Glaxo-Wellcome Foundation, and Cotrell Foundation. He received the Eli Lilly Award and inducted into the National Academy of Sciences (2010), Institute of Medicine (2011), and American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2011).

Hosted by: Professor Floyd Romesberg


Roche Lecture
Tuesday, November 24, 2015

2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Brian M. Stoltz, Ph.D.
Professor of Chemistry, California Institute of Technology
“Complex Natural Products as a Driving Force for Discovery in Organic Synthesis”

Professor Brian M. Stoltz obtained his B.S. degree in Chemistry from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1993, and earned his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at Yale University in 1997 under the tutelage of Professor John L. Wood working in area of indolocarbazole total synthesis.  He then completed a two-year stint with Professor Elias J. Corey at Harvard University as a NIH Postdoctoral Fellow (1998–2000) where he developed the first total synthesis of a number of nicandrenones. Stoltz accepted a position as Assistant Professor at the California Institute of Technology in 2000 and quickly moved up the ranks to Full Professor.

Stoltz is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Camille and Henry Dreyfus New Faculty and Teacher-Scholar Awards, a NSF CAREER Award, the Research Corporation Research Innovation and Cottrell Scholars Awards, an A. P. Sloan Research Fellowship, an ACS Arthur C. Cope Scholar, the ACS E. J. Corey Award, and the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (PECASE) from the White House. In 2006, he was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and from 2008–2012 was a KAUST GRP Investigator. Additionally, Professor Stoltz was recognized by the Caltech Graduate Student Council with a Classroom Teaching Award and a Mentoring Award in 2001 and by the Associated Students of the California Institute of Technology for their 30th Annual Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2006. Stoltz was awarded the 2009 Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in the Physical Sciences for Chemistry related to the Total Synthesis of Biologically Active Natural Products from Tel Aviv University and the Tetrahedron Young Investigator Award in Organic Chemistry for 2010. Most recently, he was named the recipient of the 2015 Mukaiyama Award by the Society of Synthetic Organic Chemistry, Japan, for the discovery and development of new reactions and processes for the synthesis of complex natural products and non-naturally occurring bioactive structures.

Hosted by: Professor Ryan Shenvi


Novartis Lectures
October 23, 2015

2:00 p.m. to 2:50 p.m.
Dr. James Sutton, Ph.D.
“Interdisciplinary Science: Discovery and Progress of CSF-1R Inhibitors”

James C. Sutton received his B.S. in Chemistry at Western Washington University (1990), and his Ph.D. from Stanford University (1997) under the guidance of Professor Paul Wender working on the total synthesis of Taxol.  Dr. Sutton joined Bristol-Myers Squibb in 1996 and subsequently joined Novartis in 2005, where he currently an Associate Director and Group Leader.

3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Professor Gary A. Molander, Ph.D.
University of Pennsylvania
“Single Electron Transformations to Enable Cross-Couplings”

Professor Gary A. Molander obtained a B.S. with Distinction from Iowa State University (1975) under the guidance of Prof. Richard Larock, after which he carried out his Ph.D. studies and postdoctoral work at Purdue University (1975-80) with advisor Prof. Herbert C. Brown. Molander completed further postdoctoral work (1980-81) with Prof. Barry M. Trost, University of Wisconsin, Madison, before accepting an academia appointment at the University of Colorado, Boulder (1981-99). In 1999, Prof. Molander moved to the University of Pennsylvania where he is currently the Hirschmann-Makineni Professor of Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania.

He has received numerous and honors including the ACS Herbert C. Brown Award for Creative Research in Synthetic Methods (2015), Boron in the Americas Frontier Award (2014), Council for Chemical Research, Research Collaboration Award (2013), ACS Fellow (2010), Purdue University Department of Chemistry Outstanding Alumni Award (2009), Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching (UPenn) (2006), ACS Philadelphia Section Award (2003), and the ACS Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award (1998), Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship (1987-91).

Hosted by:     Professor Jin-Quan Yu