TSRI Chemist Jin-Quan Yu Wins MacArthur Fellowship
Findings Illuminate How Mystery MS Drug Works
Study Suggests Disordered Protein 'Shape Shifts' to Avoid Crowding
Ashok Deniz Named Outstanding Mentor



TSRI Chemist Jin-Quan Yu Wins MacArthur Fellowship

Chemist Jin-Quan Yu of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has won a 2016 MacArthur Fellowship, sometimes called a “genius grant.”

Yu, who is the Frank and Bertha Hupp Professor of Chemistry at TSRI, will receive a $625,000 fellowship over five years from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The grant comes with no specific obligations or reporting requirements.

“Jin is an extraordinarily creative chemist,” said TSRI CEO Peter Schultz. "This is a well-deserved honor and, following the MacArthur Fellowship awarded to TSRI’s Phil Baran in 2013, is a wonderful recognition of the remarkable science being conducted here at The Scripps Research Institute. I offer my heartiest congratulations to Jin—I always knew he was a genius, but this confirms it!”

MacArthur Fellowships are awarded to individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. Individuals cannot apply for the award; they must be nominated. Typically, 20 to 30 fellows from a wide variety of fields are selected each year.

Yu’s work in the field of organic synthesis focuses on the development of new strategies and tools to accelerate catalytic C-H activation reactions.

“At a time when the science and concepts were on the wish list of dream reactions not yet feasible, Jin-Quan Yu systematically and single-handedly transformed the field, developing powerful new synthetic methods for selective C–H activation,” said Dale Boger, who is the Richard and Alice Cramer Professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry at TSRI. “He pioneered many of the first practical and robust carbon-hydrogen (C–H) bond-activation reactions now used in nearly every sector of chemical science.

“His methods have transformed how we think about making molecules, how we conduct medicinal chemistry and how tools are created for chemical biology,” Boger continued. “He is, simply, a brilliant scientist.”

Yu, a graduate of East China Normal University (1987) and University of Cambridge (1999), joined the TSRI faculty in 2007 after an appointment at Brandeis University and a Royal Society fellowship at the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom). A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Royal Society of Chemistry, Yu is the recipient of many awards and honors. For more information, see his faculty web page.

One of the nation’s largest independent foundations, the MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places and understand how technology is affecting children and society. For more information, see the websites of the MacArthur Foundation and its fellows program.

Send comments to: press[at]

Chemist Jin-Quan Yu has won a 2016 MacArthur Fellowship, sometimes called a “genius grant.” (Photo by John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.)