The Canadian Society for Chemistry has honoured Michael Organ, professor in the Department of Chemistry, with the 2016 R.U. Lemieux Award. The award is presented to an organic chemist who has made a distinguished contribution to the field and is currently working in Canada. It is named after the late Raymond Lemieux, a Canadian chemist and pioneer in carbohydrate chemistry and the application of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to determine the configuration of organic compounds.
Organ’s research is focused on developing new methods of synthesizing natural products and compounds of pharmaceutical interest. He is well known for pioneering the concept of microwave-assisted, continuous flow organic synthesis, as well as creating a new family of catalysts (coined PEPPSI) that has been commercialized and is now used widely in the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals. In addition, he has made notable discoveries related to structure of specific organozincs (compounds that contain carbon and zinc) as they relate to the “Negishi Reaction” (a metal-based reaction discovered by Nobel Laureate Ei-ichi Negishi).
Organ founded two spin-out companies based on his discoveries and has been running them successfully since 1998. He is a Xerox Foundation Fellow, a Merck-Frosst Canadian Academic Development Program Fellow, a JSPS Fellow (Japan), and an Agilent Laboratories Fellow.
As the recipient of the R.U. Lemieux Award, Organ will deliver a lecture at the Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition in June 2016 in Halifax.