Peter ObrienProf. Peter O’Brien joined the University of York in 1996 and was promoted to Professor in 2007. He is the recipient of the RSC Organic Stereochemistry Prize (2013 – for development and applications of the (+)-sparteine surrogate), a GlaxoWellcome Award (2000) and the RSC Meldola Medal (1999). He has published 125 papers and has a h-index of 32. In research since 2010, the O’Brien group have reported the first high yielding asymmetric lithiation-trapping of N-Boc piperidine, synthetic reactions showing that (+)-sparteine surrogate complexed to i-PrLi or s-BuLi in THF whereas (–)-sparteine did not (with Hilmersson), synthesis of 3-D lead-like scaffolds using N-Boc α-lithiation (with Hubbard) and the preparation of enantiomerically pure Grignard reagents. Recently, O’Brien has pioneered the use of in situ React IR spectroscopy to monitor the lithation of N-Boc heterocycles, work carried out via collaborations with Merck (USA), AstraZeneca and Lilly including the first example of real-time monitoring of N-Boc rotamer interconversion using in situ React IR (with Coldham). Currently, the group has two research themes: (i) discovery of new asymmetric α-lithiation methodology and application in medicinal chemistry; (ii) design, synthesis and evaluation of 3-D fragments for the systematic exploration of 3-D pharmaceutical space – a project supported by a pharmaceutical consortium (Astex, AstraZeneca, Lilly, Pfizer and Vernalis).


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