Phil Baran was born in 1977 in Denville, New Jersey. He received his B.S. in chemistry in 1997 (NYU), his Ph.D. at The Scripps Research Institute in 2001, and from 2001-2003 he was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard. Phil has published over 180 scientific articles and has been the recipient of several ACS awards such as the Corey (2015), Pure Chemistry (2010), Fresenius (2006), and Nobel Laureate Signature (2003), and several international distinctions such as the Hirata Gold Medal and Mukaiyama Prize (Japan), the RSC award in Synthesis (UK), and the Sackler Prize (Israel). In 2013 he was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, in 2015 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2016 he was awarded the Blavatnik National Award. He consults for numerous companies such as Bristol-Myers Squibb (since late 2005), Boehringer-Ingelheim, AstraZeneca, DuPont and TEVA, and is a scientific advisory board member for Eisai, Abide, and AsymChem. In 2016 he was appointed as an Associate Editor for the Journal of the American Chemical Society. He co-founded Sirenas Marine Discovery (2012) and Vividion Therapeutics (2016) and in 2013 he co-authored The Portable Chemist’s Consultant, an interactive book published on the Apple iBooks store.

Research Interests

The Baran laboratory is committed to identifying areas of chemical synthesis that can have a dramatic impact on the rate of drug discovery and development. This is achieved both through the development of practical total syntheses of complex natural products and by inventing reactions which can dramatically simplify retrosynthesis. Within the former area, the lab has advocated for and demonstrated how systematically aiming for "ideal" synthesis pathways can dramatically simplify routes to a variety of molecules in alkaloid, terpene, and peptide classes. This has been accomplished through a systematic use of C-H functionalization logic, deliberate avoidance of protecting groups, and strategic consideration of molecular redox states. In the latter area, focus has been on the invention of new tools (reagents and methods) that can be widely adopted by the largest body of practicing biomedical scientists, namely those in pharmaceutical industry. Of particular interest are methods for the construction of medicinally relevant C-C, C-O, C-N, C-B, and C-X bonds directly from minimally functionalized starting materials such as olefins, carboxylic acids, or simply exposed and innately reactive C-H bonds.

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Primary Section

Section 14: Chemistry