Dr. Eric N. Jacobsen is the Sheldon Emery Professor of Chemistry at Harvard University where he has been a faculty member since 1993. Before moving to Harvard, he was at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign University, achieving the rank of Associate Professor.
Dr. Jacobsen is a world leader in the discovery and application of catalytic reactions for organic synthesis. In 1990, he solved a long-standing problem in chemistry with the discovery of the first useful method for asymmetric epoxidation of unfunctionalized olefins. This reaction, implemented through his discovery of simple yet effective chiral manganese catalysts, has proven useful and reliable on both laboratory and industrial scale to provide products with high enantioselectivity. He has also discovered effective catalysts for a variety of other important asymmetric reactions, including aziridination, hetero-Diels-Alder, conjugate addition, imine hydrocyanation, and epoxide ring-opening reactions. His cobalt-catalyzed hydrolytic kinetic resolution represents the most widely used method for preparation of chiral terminal epoxides, and is practiced around the world on multi-ton scale. Dr. Jacobsen's research group is involved in mechanistic and synthetic chemistry, development of new methods for organic synthesis, with emphasis on asymmetric catalysis, physical-organic studies of reactivity and recognition phenomena in homogeneous catalysis, and stereoselective synthesis of natural products.
Dr. Jacobsen has received numerous professional fellowships and awards and is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has authored over 150 publications and more than 15 patents. He serves as an advisor to numerous companies, including Merck, PTC Therapeutics, Amgen, Daiso, Cubist and Firmenich.