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2012 Smissman Memorial Lecturer

David MacMillan

David W. C. MacMillan, Ph.D. (Web Page)

  • A. Barton Hepburn Professor of Chemistry
  • James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry
  • Chair, Department of Chemistry
  • Director of the Merck Center for Catalysis at Princeton
  • Dept of Chemistry, Princeton University

Public Lecture and Award Presentation

  • Advent and Development of Organocatalysis
    4:30 P.M. Thursday, September 27, 2012
    Alderson Auditorium, Kansas Union

Scientific Lectures

  • Multi Catalysis in Chemical Synthesis
    9:30 A.M. Thursday, September 27, 2012
    Alderson Auditorium, Kansas Union
  • Photoredox Catalysis in Organic Synthesis
    11:00 A.M. Friday, September 28, 2012
    2020 Pharmacy Building


Dave MacMillan was born in Bellshill, Scotland and received his undergraduate degree in chemistry at the University of Glasgow, where he worked with Dr. Ernie Colvin. In 1990, he left the UK to begin his doctoral studies under the direction of Professor Larry Overman at the University of California, Irvine. In 1996, he moved to a postdoctoral position with Professor Dave Evans at Harvard University where his studies centered on enantioselective catalysis. He began his independent career at University of California, Berkeley in July of 1998 before moving to the California Institute of Technology in June of 2000. In 2003, he was promoted to Full Professor at Caltech, before being appointed the Earle C. Anthony Chair of Organic Chemistry in 2004. In 2006, Dave moved to the east coast of the US to take up a position at Princeton University as the A. Barton Hepburn Chair of Chemistry and Director of the Merck Center for Catalysis at Princeton University. Dave became the Princeton Chemistry Department Chair in July of 2010, and in July of 2011 became the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Chair.

The MacMillan research program is centered on chemical synthesis with specific interests in new reaction development, enantioselective organocatalysis and the rapid construction of molecular complexity. The MacMillan group currently consists of approximately 40 coworkers.

Dave was recently inducted into the Fellowship of the Royal Society (2012) and elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2012). He has received several awards including the Aldrich ACS Award for Creativity in Organic Synthesis (2011), the UC Irvine Distinguished Alumni Award (2011), the Mitsui Catalysis Award (2011), Mukaiyama Award (2007), ISHC Award in Heterocyclic Chemistry (2007), ACS Cope Scholar Award (2007), Thieme-IUPAC Prize in Organic Synthesis (2006), Elias J. Corey Award for Outstanding Original Contribution in Organic Synthesis by a Young Investigator (2005), the Tetrahedron Young Investigator Award (2005), the Corday-Morgan Medal (2005), and a Woodward Scholarship Award from Harvard University (2001).

Dave is currently editor-in-chief of the new Royal Society of Chemistry journal "Chemical Sciences" and is a member of the Chemical Communications, Tetrahedron, Tetrahedron Letters, Chemistry – An Asian Journal, Advances in Catalysis and Synthesis editorial advisory boards.

Along with Paul Reider (former worldwide head of chemistry at Amgen), Dave is a co-founder of Chiromics LLC, a new biotech company that seeks to devise new strategies for the identification of drug-like molecules. Chiromics currently has approximately ten employees.

Dave is a member of the scientific advisory board of Lexicon Pharmaceuticals and a permanent member of the RSRC board (Chemistry SAB) at Merck.

Dave is currently a scientific consultant with Merck (worldwide), Amgen (worldwide), Abbott Research Laboratories, Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceuticals, Constellation Pharmaceuticals, and Gilead Research Laboratories.

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