Source: Interfolio F180

Phillippe Baran

Dr. Richard A. Lerner Endowed Chair
Department of Chemistry


Research Focus

In the 20th century the art and science of complex natural product total synthesis defined the frontiers of organic chemistry. Throughout these decades fundamental insights into reactivity and selectivity principles were achieved by these numerous synthetic endeavors. The capability and power of organic synthesis has thus experienced a dramatic increase putting today's synthetic chemists in the position to construct molecules of more or less any degree of structural complexity. The perception defining 'art' in organic synthesis has therefore changed with time and in our opinion is described best by Hendrickson when he addressed the 'ideal synthesis' as one which: 'creates a complex molecule' in a sequence of only construction reactions involving no intermediary refunctionalizations, and leading directly to the target, not only its skeleton but also its correctly placed functionality' (Hendrickson, J.B. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1975, 97, 5784).This prescient statement truly encompasses and epitomizes the 'economies' of synthesis design many years before ideas of atom, step, and redox-economy were formally galvanized. Now, in 2010, the field has reached an awe-inspiring level, with many proclaiming that synthesis has matured. But before one declares the science of synthesis an endeavor in engineering, one only needs to reflect on the inspiring ease with which Nature crafts large quantities of her most complex molecules (e.g. vancomycin and taxol). Total synthesis in this century must therefore be keenly aware of this ultimate challenge to be able to provide large quantities of complex natural products with a minimum amount of labor and material expenses. The natural consequence of pursuing such a goal is to embrace the Hendrickson dictum (vide supra). Pursuing synthesis in such a way forces the practitioner into the role of an inventor. It naturally also leads to explorations into biology since multiple collaborations can be forged with ample materials.


B.S. (Chemistry), New York University, 1997
Ph.D. (Chemistry), The Scripps Research Institute, 2001

Professional Experience

2006-2008 Associate Professor (with tenure), Chemistry, Scripps Research
2003-2006 Assistant Professor, Chemistry, Scripps Research
2001-2003 NIH Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. E. J. Corey, Harvard University

Awards & Professional Activities

2021 Bristol Chemical Synthesis Syngenta Award, Syngenta

2020 Janssen Prize for Creativity

2019 Inhoffen Medal, Janssen

2017 Manchot Research Professorship, Technical University of Munich 

2017 The National Academy of Sciences

2017 Emanuel Merck Lectureship

2016 Blavatnik National Laureate in Chemistry, New York Academy of Sciences

2016 ACS Elias J. Corey Award

2015 American Academy of Arts and Sciences

2015 College of Arts and Science Alumni Distinguished Service Award

2015 Reagent of the Year Award 

2014 Mukaiyama Award

2013 MacArthur Fellowship, MacArthur Foundation

2013 Royal Society of Chemistry Synthetic Organic Chemistry Award

2012 ACS San Diego Section Distinguished Scientist Award

2011 ISHC Katritzky Heterocyclic Chemistry Award

2010 Thieme-IUPAC Prize in Synthetic Organic Chemistry

2010 ACS Award in Pure Chemistry

2009 Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in the Physical Sciences

2007 National Fresenius Award, ACS

2007 Hirata Gold Medal

2006 Pfizer Award for Creativity in Organic Synthesis

2006 Beckman Foundation Fellow

2007 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow

2006 BMS Unrestricted "Freedom to Discover" Grant, Bristol-Myers Squibb

2006 NSF CAREER Award, National Science Foundation

2005 Eli Lilly Young Investigator Award

2005 AstraZeneca Excellence in Chemistry Award

2005 DuPont Young Professor Award

2005 Roche Excellence in Chemistry Award

2005 Amgen Young Investigator Award

2005 Searle Scholar Award

2005 GlaxoSmithKline Chemistry Scholar Award

Selected Publications

Bruckl, T.; Baxter, R. D.; Ishihara, Yoshihiro; Baran, Phil S. Innate and guided C-H functionalization logic. Accounts of Chemical Research 2012, 45, 826-839.

Mendoza, A.; Ishihara, Yoshihiro; Baran, Phil S. Scalable enantioselective total synthesis of taxanes. Nature Chemistry 2012, 4, 21-25.

Su, S.; Rodriguez, Rodrigo A.; Baran, Phil S. Scalable, stereocontrolled total syntheses of (±)-axinellamines A and B. Journal of the American Chemical Society 2011, 133, 13922-13925.

Gaich, T.; Baran, Phil S. Aiming for the ideal synthesis. Journal of Organic Chemistry 2010, 75, 4657-4673.

Newhouse, Timothy R.; Lewis, C. A.; Eastman, K. J.; Baran, Phil S. Scalable total syntheses of N-linked tryptamine dimers by direct indole-aniline coupling: Psychotrimine and kapakahines B and F. Journal of the American Chemical Society 2010, 132, 7119-7137.

Burns, Noah Z.; Krylova, I. N.; Hannoush, R. N.; Baran, Phil S. Scalable total synthesis and biological evaluation of haouamine a and its atropisomer. Journal of the American Chemical Society 2009, 131, 9172-9173.