TAN KAH KEE Science Award


The development of privileged chiral N,N'-dioxide ligands and efficient asymmetric catalysis

Abstract:Professor Xiaoming Feng and his team broke through the tradition and created a conformationally flexible chiral N,N?-dioxide ligands and catalysts with independent intellectual property rights, which were recognized as a kind of privileged chiral ligands and catalysts. The exciting results obtained from such conformationally flexible privileged ligands challenge the notion of the rigid feature of previously privileged ligands, demonstrating that rigid conformation is not a necessary condition for the privileged ligand and the conformationally flexible ligands are also of advantage. It would update the guiding principles of successful ligands and catalysts, thus stimulate further opportunity of developing ideal chiral catalysts. N,N'-dioxides are easily synthesized from cheap reagents, highly modifiable and adjustable, insensitive to water and air, and has become commercial reagents, which were named by sigma-aldrich with "Feng" as the prefix of the ligands ("Feng" represents Xiaoming Feng), and called "Feng" ligands. Meanwhile, N,N'-dioxides provide an intriguing arsenal of chiral metal complex catalysts upon coordination with a variety of metal precursors. They have been proven highly efficient for more than fifty types of asymmetric reactions, including more than 10 kinds of new catalytic asymmetric reactions with high challenge and those are previously unattainable, realizing the breakthrough from zero to one. A representative case is named as “Roskamp-Feng reaction” in Elsevier’s “Organic Synthesis Based on Name Reactions” book. The inventing new catalysts and chemical reactions opened the avenues for highly enantioselective synthesis of pharmaceutical molecules and natural products. These reactive and innovative research plays a leading role in asymmetric catalysis, which makes important contributions to the rapid development of this field, and significantly promotes the international status of China in this field.

Awardee:Professor Xiaoming Feng was born in 1963. He received his B.S. (1985) and M.S. degrees (1988) from Lanzhou University. In 1996, he received the Ph.D. degree from the Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). He was appointed as an assistant/associate professor at Southwest Normal University in 1988-1993 and then he joined Chengdu Institute of Organic Chemistry, CAS as an associate professor/full professor (1996-2000), during this period, he did the postdoctoral research at Colorado State University from 1998 to 1999, and became a full professor at College of Chemistry, Sichuan University in 2000. He was selected as a member of Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2013, a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2014, a special professor of the Chang Jiang Scholars by the Ministry of Education in 2005. He is also the winner of the National Distinguished Young Science Foundation in 2002. He was appointed as the academic leader of the national innovation research group and the innovation team of "Chang Jiang Scholars and innovation team development plan" of the Ministry of Education. He also serves as the member of the discipline evaluation group of the academic degrees committee of the State Council. Currently, he is appointed as a standing director of Chinese Chemical Society and the chairman of the chiral committee of the Chinese Chemical Society.
Professor Xiaoming Feng is dedicated to the studies of asymmetric catalysis, and has achieved important advances in the design and synthesis of novel chiral ligands and catalysts, asymmetric catalytic reactions, as well as efficient and highly selective synthesis of chiral drugs and biologically active compounds. He developed a kind of conformationally flexible chiral N,N?-dioxides and were proved to be new privileged ligands and catalysts. More than fifty types of highly efficient and selective catalytic asymmetric reactions were realized, including more than ten kinds of new catalytic asymmetric reactions with high challenge, a representative case is named as “Roskamp-Feng reaction” in Elsevier’s “Organic Synthesis Based on Name Reactions” book. He has published more than 400 papers and obtained 5 Chinese invention patents. He serves as the member of editorial committees and advisory boards of several academic journals at home and abroad. He has won numerous awards, such as the Second Prize of State Natural Science Award (China, 2012), the First prize of Natural Science of Ministry of Education (China, 2009, 2019), Future Science Prize-Physical Sciences, Scientific and Technological Progress Award in Chemistry from Ho Leung Ho Lee Foundation, Chiral Chemistry Award, SciFinder Award for Creative Organic Synthesis and Huang yaozeng Metal Organic Chemistry Award of CCS.

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