Tomislav Friščić, Jean-Philip Lumb win Canadian Society for Chemistry awards

Canadian Society for Chemistry confers awards annually to recognize professionals and students who have made outstanding contributions to chemical sciences
Professors ean-Philip Lumb (left) and Tomislav Friščić of McGill’s Department of Chemistry

Professors Tomislav Friščić and Jean-Philip Lumb of the Department of Chemistry have been honoured by the Canadian Society for Chemistry (CSC).

Friščić received the 2019 Award for Research Excellence in Materials Chemistry from the Canadian Society for Chemistry (CSC). The award is presented annually by the CSC to a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant who has made an outstanding contribution to materials chemistry while working in Canada.

Lumb received the 2019 Keith Fagnou Award for his work in organic chemistry. The award is presented annually to a scientist residing in Canada who has made a distinguished contribution to organic chemistry while working in Canada.

Green chemistry

Friščić and his lab are developing new, innovative approaches to chemical research and manufacturing, pursuing the hypothesis that solid-state reactions will provide cleaner, faster and more diverse chemical reactions. His research has created new opportunities and patented processes in a wide range of chemical activities, from pharmaceuticals and new materials for sequestration of greenhouse gases, to safer and cleaner routes for processing biomass, metals and critical elements.

Friščić has established himself as an internationally recognized leader in solid-state and solvent-free chemistry. His work in materials chemistry and green chemistry has garnered several prestigious awards, including Steacie Prize for Natural Sciences (2018), Rutherford Medal of the Royal Society of Canada (2018), NSERC E. W. R. Steacie Award (2017), and RSC Harrison Meldola Medal (2011).

As the 2019 winner of this prestigious prize, Friščić will be delivering a lecture in a Materials Chemistry Division Symposium at the CSC conference, as well as embarking on a lecture tour to two or more Canadian universities.

Bioinspired synthesis and catalysis

Lumb obtained his BA from Cornell University in 2002, where he was introduced to research by Bruce Ganem and Geoff Coates.

In 2003, he moved to the University of California, Berkeley to pursue a PhD with Dirk Trauner. As a graduate student, he focused on the biomimetic synthesis of complex natural products that relied on multi-step cascade reactions triggered by oxidation.

From 2008–2011 he was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University, working under the direction of Barry M. Trost. As a postdoctoral fellow, he developed an atom economic synthesis of pyrroles using palladium catalysis, and an asymmetric coupling of alkynes using palladium and copper-hydride co-catalysis. He also developed a synthetic program towards the tricholomenyns and the complex macrolide amphidinolide N.

Lumb’s training encompasses the themes of bioinspired synthesis and catalysis, which form the corner stones of his independent research career.

In 2011, he began an appointment as assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry at McGill. He was awarded tenure and promoted to the rank of associate professor in 2017, and in 2018, was awarded a Fessenden Professorship by McGill’s Faculty of Science.