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Yoonsu Park in our group has drawn the attention of the world's science community as being consecutively selected as an up-and-coming chemist. Dr. Park was named as one of finalists of 2019 CAS Future Leaders on May 15. CAS is a division of ACS. Marking the 10th anniversary, CAS Future Leaders program aims to expand the professional networks of outstanding PhD students and postdoctoral researchers from around the world who are shaping the future of scientific information and innovation. Dr. Park is one of the 29 finalists and the only awardee from South Korea. 


Dr. Park also put his name on the finalists' list of 2019 Reaxys PhD Prize on July 30. The prize is known for being awarded to the best of the best early-career scientists. The 45 finalists are invited to the Reaxys PhD Prize Symposium and participate in special events and presentations of their research. The finalists receive lifelong membership in the Reaxys Prize Club, an exclusive international network of chemists from all research areas and career paths.


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▲ 2019 Reaxys PhD Prize, Dr. Yoonsu Park


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▲ Dr. Yoonsu Park (left) with Professor Sukbok Chang (right)


Dr. Park’s recent work (Science, 2018, 359, 1016) reported a novel strategy to synthesize ring-shaped cyclic molecules, highly sought-after by pharmaceutical and chemical industries, and known as gamma-lactams. This study describes how these five-membered rings can be prepared from inexpensive and readily available feedstock hydrocarbons, as well as from complex organic molecules, such as amino acids and steroids. Gamma-lactams find several applications in medicinal, synthetic, and material chemistry. In addition, his latest paper (Nat. Catal.20192, 219) presented a group of new chiral iridium catalysts for the selective synthesis of chiral lactams. Thoughlactams are key building blocks in many pharmaceutical agents, for example penicillin – a notable lactam-based antibiotic, there have been few efficient ways to single out only one molecule from a pair of the symmetric mirror images. The new catalysts allowed the researchers to bias synthesis in favor of producing one product over the other with 99 percent selectivity. These achievements are among 11 research papers he has published during the last five-year doctoral studies.


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