It is an absolute thrill to be selected to receive the Janssen Prize for Creativity in Organic Synthesis. I am proud to be associated with Janssen Pharmaceuticals and humbled to be included alongside the list of previous awardees. I look forward to returning to Belgium to participate in BOSS XVI.
F. Dean Toste was born in 1971 in Terceira, Azores, Portugal, but soon moved to Canada. While at the University of Toronto, he majored in Chemistry and Biochemistry and went on to obtain a M.Sc. in Organic Chemistry in 1995. He then moved to Stanford University where he completed his Ph.D. in 2000 under the guidance Professor Barry Trost. After a post-doctoral appointment with Professor Robert Grubbs at the California Institute of Technology, he took a position as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley in 2002. In 2006, he was promoted to Associate Professor and is currently Gerald K. Branch Distinguished Professor of Chemistry. Research in his group is primarily aimed toward the development of catalysts, catalytic reactions, reagents and methods for chemical synthesis. Prof. Toste and his coworkers were instrumental in the past decades advancement in the field of homogeneous catalysis with gold. As part of these studies, the Toste group has investigated the use of chiral counterions, including with cationic gold complexes, as a paradigm for asymmetric catalysis and applied these discoveries to the development of chiral anion phase transfer catalysis. In addition, Prof. Toste and his collaborators have explored supramolecular catalysts for organic reaction, developed novel methods for merging homogeneous/heterogeneous catalysis and tools for their in situ study, described processes for the conversion of biomass to fuels and chemicals and, most recently, reported a method for selective functionalization of biomolecules. In addition to the Janssen Prize (2018), Professor Toste’s honors include the Nobel Laureate Signature Award (2002), Cope Scholar Award (2006), E.J. Corey Award (2008) and the Creativity in Organic Synthesis Award from the American Chemical Society, BASF (2007) and Mitsui (2014) Catalysis Awards, the Organometallic Chemistry Directed Towards Organic Synthesis (OMCOS) Award (2007) and Thieme-IUPAC Prize in Synthetic Organic Chemistry (2008) from IUPAC, the Merck Award (2010) from the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Mukaiyama Award (2011) from the Society of Synthetic Organic Chemistry Japan and the Horst-Parcejus Prize (2015) from the German Chemical Society (GDCH). In 2015 he was elected fellow of the Royal Society of Canada – Academy of Science.