Reaxys PhD Prize

More than a prize. A vision.

No other award will impact your development as a scientist like the Reaxys PhD Prize. Integral to Reaxys Inspiring Chemistry activities and backed by an Advisory Board of internationally accomplished and authoritative chemists, receiving this award boosts your career and leads to new opportunities. With application submission from over 400 academic institutions worldwide, the Reaxys PhD Prize is the most important international prize for young chemists.

The 45 finalists and winners of the Reaxys PhD Prize:
Selecting the Winners
The Winners of the Reaxys PhD Prize are talented PhD students or recent graduates conducting original and innovative research in synthetic chemistry with demonstrated excellence in methodology and approach. They will be selected and announced in September at the PhD Prize Symposium.

Selection criteria include:
  • Originality, innovation
  • Importance to the field
  • Applicability
  • Rigor of approach and methodology
  • Quality and clarity of published work
  • Supporting evidence of accomplishments (I.e., supervisor’s letter of recommendation, publication list)

The review and decision process is managed by the Chairs of the Review Board:

Prof Tony Barrett - Imperial College, London, UK
Prof Dr Martin Jansen - Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research, Stuttgart, Germany
Prof Eiichi Nakamura - University of Tokyo, Japan
Prof Ged Parkin - Columbia University, United States
Prof Barry M. Trost - Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA
Prof Henry N. C. Wong - Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

2015 Reaxys PhD Prize - 45 Finalists

We are delighted to announce the 45 finalists for this year’s Reaxys PhD Prize. We had another very solid year with almost 450 submissions from around the world, including many of top research groups. As in previous years the finalists have been selected after an extensive and thorough external review process. And have been supported throughout by the coordinators Professors Barrett, Jansen, Nakamura, Parkin, Trost and Wong.

This year the Reaxys PhD Prize Symposium will be held in Hong Kong, on the 7th and 8th of September. The highlight of the symposium will be presentations from the very top finalists and the selection of the 3 winners based upon their presentation and review scores.

2015 Finalists

Jonathan Bauer from the Strohmann group, Dortmund University of Technology.

Representative paper entitled: From an α-Functionalized Silicon-Stereogenic N,O-Silane to a Monomeric and Tetracoordinate tBuLi Adduct with Lithium-Centered Chirality published in Angewandte Chemie, 2014

Keith Bentley from the Wolf group, Georgetown University.

Representative paper entitled: Stereodynamic Chemosensor with Selective Circular Dichroism and Fluorescence Readout for in Situ Determination of Absolute Configuration, Enantiomeric Excess, and Concentration of Chiral Compounds published in Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2013

Nicholas Bruno from the Buchwald group, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Representative paper entitled: Design and preparation of new palladium precatalysts for C–C and C–N cross-coupling reactions published in Chemical Science, 2013

Matthew Burns from the Aggarwal group, University of Bristol.

Representative paper entitled: Assembly-line synthesis of organic molecules with tailored shapes published in Nature, 2014

Cecilia Casadei from the Raven and Moody groups, Leicester, and the Blakeley group, Grenoble.

Representative paper entitled: Neutron cryo-crystallography captures the protonation state of ferryl heme in a peroxidase published in Science, 2014

Pavla Eliasova from the Čejka group, Charles University.

Representative paper entitled: The Assembly-Disassembly-Organization-Reassembly Mechanism for 3D-2D-3D Transformation of Germanosilicate IWW Zeolite published in Angewandte Chemie, 2014

Patrick Fier from the Hartwig group, University of California Berkeley.

Representative paper entitled: Selective C-H Fluorination of Pyridines and Diazines Inspired by a Classic Amination Reaction published in Science, 2013

Meng Gao from the Lei group, Wuhan University.

Representative paper entitled: Synthesis of Pyrroles by Click Reaction: Silver-Catalyzed Cycloaddition of Terminal Alkynes with Isocyanides published in Angewandte Chemie, 2013

Alvaro Gutierrez Bonet from the Martin group, Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ).

Representative paper entitled: Fe-Catalyzed Regiodivergent [1,2]-Shift of α-Aryl Aldehydes published in Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2013

William Hart-Cooper from the Bergman and Raymond groups, University of California Berkeley.

Representative paper entitled: The effect of host structure on the selectivity and mechanism of supramolecular catalysis of Prins cyclizations published in Chemical Science, 2014

Hiroki Hayashi from the Ishihara group, Nagoya University.

Representative paper entitled: High-turnover hypoiodite catalysis for asymmetric synthesis of tocopherols published in Science, 2014

Jian He from the Yu group, Scripps Research Institute.

Representative paper entitled: Ligand-Controlled C(sp3)–H Arylation and Olefination in Syntheses of Unnatural Chiral α-Amino Acids published in Science, 2014

Tomohiro Higashino from the Osuka group, Kyoto University.

Representative paper entitled: Möbius Antiaromatic Bisphosphorus Complexes of [30]Hexaphyrins published in Angewandte Chemie, 2010

Yunzhe Jiao from the Jones group, University of Rochester.

Representative paper entitled: Rhodium-Carbon Bond Energies in Tp'Rh(CNneopentyl)(CH2X): Quantifying Stabilization Effects in M-C Bonds published in Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2013

Andrew Jupp from the Goicoechea group, University of Oxford.

Representative paper entitled: Phosphinecarboxamide: A Phosphorus-Containing Analogue of Urea and Stable Primary Phosphine published in Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2013

Eric Keske from the Crudden group, Queen's University.

Representative paper entitled: Double single-crystal-to-single-crystal transformation and small-molecule activation in rhodium NHC complexes published in Angewandte Chemie, 2011

Alexander Kilpatrick from the Cloke group, University of Sussex.

Representative paper entitled: Bis(pentalene)di-titanium: a bent double-sandwich complex with a very short Ti–Ti bond published in Chemical Communications, 2013

Sandra King from the Herzon group, Yale University.

Representative paper entitled: Total Syntheses of (–)-Acutumine and (–)-Dechloroacutumine published in Angewandte Chemie, 2013

Peter Korevaar from the Meijer group, Eindhoven University of Technology.

Representative paper entitled: Pathway complexity in supramolecular polymerization published in Nature, 2012

Matthew Langton from the Beer group, University of Oxford.

Representative paper entitled: Halogen bonding in water results in enhanced anion recognition in acyclic and rotaxane hosts published in Nature Chemistry, 2014

Hsin-Yu Lee from the Wong group, National Taiwan University.

Representative paper entitled: Immunogenicity Study of Globo H Analogues with Modification at the Reducing or Nonreducing End of the Tumor Antigen published in Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2014

Gang Li from the Norton group, Columbia University.

Representative paper entitled: Evidence for Formation of a Co–H Bond from (H2O)2Co(dmgBF2)2 under H2: Application to Radical Cyclizations published in Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2012

Lauren Longobardi from the Stephan group, University of Toronto.

Representative paper entitled: Frustrated Lewis Pair Activation of an N-Sulfinylamine: A Source of Sulfur Monoxide published in Angewandte Chemie, 2015

Javier López Andarias from the Martín group, Universidad Complutense de Madrid.

Representative paper entitled: Controlling the crystalline three-dimensional order in bulk materials by single-wall carbon nanotubes published in Nature Communications, 2014

Titus Masese from the Uchimoto group, Kyoto University.

Representative paper entitled: High energy density rechargeable magnesium battery using earth-abundant and non-toxic elements published in Scientific Reports, 2014

Chiara Musumeci from the Samorì group, University of Strasbourg.

Representative paper entitled: Nanoscale Electrical Investigation of Layer-by-Layer Grown Molecular Wires published in Advanced Materials, 2014

Kelli Ogawa from the Boydston group, University of Washington.

Representative paper entitled: Metal-Free Ring-Opening Metathesis Polymerization published in Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2015

Steven O'Sullivan from the Murphy group, University of Strathclyde.

Representative paper entitled: Metal-Free Reductive Cleavage of C-N and S-N Bonds by Photoactivated Electron Transfer from a Neutral Organic Donor published in Angewandte Chemie, 2014

Henry Pepper from the George group, University of Adelaide.

Representative paper entitled: Biomimetic Total Synthesis of (±)-Merochlorin A published in Angewandte Chemie, 2013

Brandon Rosen from the Baran group, Scripps Research Institute.

Representative paper entitled: Total Synthesis of Dixiamycin B by Electrochemical Oxidation published in Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2014

Tanmoy Saha from the Talukdar group, Indian Institute of Science Education & Research, Pune.

Representative paper entitled: Hopping Mediated Anion Transport through a Mannitol-Based Rosette Ion Channel published in Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2014

Alexander Schoedel from the Zaworotko group, University of South Florida.

Representative paper entitled: A Family of Porous Lonsdaleite-e (lon-e) Networks Obtained through Pillaring of Decorated Kagomé Lattice Sheets published in Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2013

Sivaprakash Sengodan from the Kim group, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST).

Representative paper entitled: Layered oxygen-deficient double perovskite as an efficient and stable anode for direct hydrocarbon solid oxide fuel cells published in Nature Materials, 2015

Indranil Sinha from the Mueller group, University of Muenster.

Representative paper entitled: A Highly Stabilizing Silver(I)-Mediated Base Pair in Parallel-Stranded DNA. published in Angewandte Chemie, 2015

John Tellis from the Molander group, University of Pennsylvania.

Representative paper entitled: Single-electron transmetalation in organoboron cross-coupling by photoredox/nickel dual catalysis published in Science, 2014

Shigenobu Umemiya from the Hayashi group, Tohoku University.

Representative paper entitled: Pot Economy in the Synthesis of Prostaglandin A1 and E1 Methyl Esters published in Angewandte Chemie, 2013

Daiki Umeyama from the Kitagawa group, Kyoto University.

Representative paper entitled: Reversible Solid-to-Liquid Phase Transition of Coordination Polymer Crystals published in Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2015

Shin-nosuke Uno from the Urano group, University of Tokyo.

Representative paper entitled: A spontaneously blinking fluorophore based on intramolecular spirocyclization for live-cell super-resolution imaging published in Nature Chemistry, 2014

Amit Vernekar from the Mugesh group, Indian Institute of Science.

Representative paper entitled: An antioxidant nanozyme that uncovers the cytoprotective potential of ​vanadia nanowires published in Nature Communications, 2014

Thorsten vom Stein from the Leitner group, RWTH Aachen University.

Representative paper entitled: Highly Versatile Catalytic Hydrogenation of Carboxylic and Carbonic Acid Derivatives using a Ru-Triphos Complex: Molecular Control over Selectivity and Substrate Scope published in Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2014

Xiao-Ye Wang from the Pei group, Peking University.

Representative paper entitled: A Straightforward Strategy toward Large BN-Embedded π‑Systems: Synthesis, Structure, and Optoelectronic Properties of Extended BN Heterosuperbenzenes published in Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2014

Jens Willwacher from the Fürstner group, Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung.

Representative paper entitled: Catalysis-Based Total Synthesis of Putative Mandelalide A published in Angewandte Chemie, 2014

Tomohiro Yasukawa from the Kobayashi group, University of Tokyo.

Representative paper entitled: Polymer-Incarcerated Chiral Rh/Ag Nanoparticles for Asymmetric 1,4-Addition Reactions of Arylboronic Acids to Enones: Remarkable Effects of Bimetallic Structure on Activity and Metal Leaching published in Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2012

Chenjie Zeng from the Jin group, Carnegie Mellon University.

Representative paper entitled: Structural patterns at all scales in a nonmetallic chiral Au133(SR)52 nanoparticle published in Science Advances, 2015

Taotao Zou from the Che group, University of Hong Kong.

Representative paper entitled: Gold(III) Complexes Containing N-Heterocyclic Carbene Ligands: Thiol “Switch-on” Fluorescent Probes and Anti-Cancer Agents published in Angewandte Chemie, 2013


Submission Requirements

To submit an application, you must meet the following rules and requirements:
  1. The Reaxys PhD Prize is open to students currently in a PhD program or who completed their PhD after January 1 of current year.
  2. Consideration is given to all areas of chemistry; however, areas of synthetic chemistry (e.g., organic, inorganic, organometallic, coordination, medical, materials, and polymer chemistry) are emphasized.
  3. Applications from only one candidate per research group can be accepted.
  4. Completed applications must be submitted via our website and must consist of:

      A. An example of an accepted, peer-reviewed article that primarily showcases your work.
      B. Your CV (resumé)
      C. A letter of recommendation from your PhD supervisor. The letter should include:

        An overview of your qualifications and details about your achievements during your PhD studies.
        A description of your role in the research submitted, highlighting specifically your contribution to the paper included in the application.

Previous Finalists and Winners of the Reaxys PhD Prize

Read about the research of these exceptional chemists who are pushing the boundaries and defining the future of chemistry.

2014 Winners:

Dawen Niu - 2014 Reaxys PhD Prize Winner Changxia Yuan - 2014 Reaxys PhD Prize Winner

Zoey Herm

Dawen Niu

Changxia Yuan

Article: Separation of Hexane Isomers in a Metal-Organic Framework with Triangular Channels

Journal: Science, 2013

PhD University: University of California, Berkeley

Supervisor: Prof Jeffrey Long

Article: The aromatic ene reaction

Journal: Nature Chemistry, 2014

PhD University: University of Minnesota

Supervisor: Prof Thomas Hoye

Article: Metal-free oxidation of aromatic carbon–hydrogen

Journal: Nature, 2013

PhD University: University of Texas at Austin

Supervisor: Prof Dionicio Siegel

2014 Finalists:

Liam Ball
Richard Brimioulle
Allan Jay Cardenas
William Chance
Fanny Cherblanc
Fabio Denis Romero
Bernd Elsler
Chao Feng
Tomohiro Fukushima
Lydia Gilday
Craig Gorin
Paul Gormisky
Nicholas Green
Zoey Herm
Stephen Ho
Takahiro Horibe
Shaowei Hu
Todd Hyster
Nicholas Isley
Xavier Just-Baringo
Ji-Woong Lee
Hee Nam Lim
David Liptrot
Qingquan Lu
Mukesh Mahajan
Steve McKerrall
Haruki Mizoguchi
Sanjog Nagarkar
Dawen Niu
Haruka Omachi
Kasper Pedersen
Peter Rayner
Michael Schedler
Scott Semproni
Samudra Sengupta
Kohei Takahashi
Arnau Verdaguer Casadevall
Anna Wagner
Xi Wang
Baihua Ye
Xie Yinjun
Changxia Yuan
Taiga Yurino
Martin Zahel
You-Quan Zou

2013 Winners :

Martin Donakowski

Max Hansmann

Johannes Heppekausen

Article: The role of polar, lamdba (Λ)-shaped building units in noncentrosymmetric inorganic structures.

Journal:Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2012

University:Northwestern University

Supervisor:Prof Kenneth R. Poeppelmeier

Article:Mechanistic Switch in Dual Gold Catalysis of Diynes: C(sp3)–H Activation through Bifurcation — Vinylidene versus Carbene Pathways

Journal:Angewandte Chemie, 2013

University:University of Heidelberg

Supervisor:Prof A. Stephen K. Hashmi

Article:Optimized Synthesis, Structural Investigations, Ligand Tuning and Synthetic Evaluation of Silyloxy-Based Alkyne Metathesis Catalysts

Journal:Chemistry a European Journal, 2012

University:Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung

Supervisor:Prof Alois Fürstner

2013 Finalists:

Sergey Adonin
Christopher M. Bates
Parijat Borah
Andrew Cairns
Christopher Caputo
Pradip Chakraborty
Hiroaki Chiba
Daniel Cohen
Laurent Debien
Fabian Ehret
Albert Fahrenbach
Daishi Fujita
Ke Gao
Chuan He
Kenji Hirai
Yohei Ishida
Andreas Kaiser
Tzu-Pin Lin
Wei Lv
Emma McInturff
Bill Morandi
Shunsuke Oishi
Sebastian Pike
Xin Qian
Daniel Robbins
Dragos Rosca
Ramya Sambasivan
Santanu Sarkar
Sebastian Schmidt
Mette Schmøkel
Mika Shiramizu
Katsuhiko Takeuchi
Gaël Ung
Kevin Williamson
Gene Wong
Yuzhou Wu
Xu Xue
Xiaoyu Yang
Da-Gang Yu
Rong Zeng
Gen Zhang
Shaoguang Zhang

2012 Winners:

Gregory Hamilton
Debashis Mandal
Craig Stivala
Article: A Powerful Chiral Counterion Strategy for Asymmetric Transition Metal Catalysis
Journal: Science, 2007
University: University of California, Berkeley
Supervisor: Prof. Dean Toste
Article:Synthesis of Dragmacidin D via Direct C–H Couplings
Journal:Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2011
University: Nagoya University
Supervisor: Prof. Kenichiro Itami
Article: Highly Enantioselective Direct Alkylation of Arylacetic Acids with Chiral Lithium Amides as Traceless Auxiliaries
Journal:Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2011
University:University of California, Santa Barbara
Supervisor: Prof. Armen Zakarian

2012 Finalists:

Crisita Atienza Marie-Gabrielle Braun Sarah Bronner
David Bunck Yunfei Cai Mesut Cakmak
Andy Chapman Stefan Benson Nicholas Evans
Charles Frazier Niankai Fu Fang Gao
Thomas Gøgsig Durga Prasada Rao Hari Phillip Inglesby
Tomohiro Iwai Justin Kim Andrew Kyle
Paraskevi Lagaditis Chi Chung Lee Alastair Lennox
Zhi Li Felicitas Lips Min Lu
Jie Luo Matthew MacDonald Steffen Müller
Kei Murakami Kyungsu Na Yuki Naganawa
Wesley Sattler Joerg Schrittwieser Tae Ho Shin
Kenji Sumida Basker Sundararaju Takayuki Tanaka
Ryo Tanaka Philipp Winter Miao Yu
Wei Zhang Fangrui Zhong Zhiwei Zuo

2011 Winners:

Vikram Bhat
Steven Malcolmson
Dixit Parmar
Article: Total Synthesis of N - Methylwelwitindolinone D Isonitrile
Journal, Year: Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2011
University: University of Chicago
Supervisor: Prof. Viresh Rawal
Article: Highly Efficient Molybdenum - Based Catalysts for Enantioselective Alkene Metathesis
Journal, Year: Nature, 2008
University: Boston College
Supervisor: Prof. Amir Hoveyda
Article: Reductive cyclisation cascades of lactones using SmI2-H2O
Journal, Year: Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2011
University: University of Manchester
Supervisor: Prof. David Procter

2011 Finalists:

Jenefer Alam Robert Andrews Abdulkader Baroudi
Alan Burns Matthew Cain Justin Chalker
Changle Chen Karl Collins Lei Fang
Anastasia Hager Xiaoyu Han Shenshen Hu
Masayuki Iwasaki Pankaj Jain Liqun Jin
Ronen Kreizman Christian Andreas Kuttruff Florian Löbermann
Andreas Lorbach Liang-Qiu Lu Ting Ma
Michael Muratore Timothy Newhouse Weidong Rao
Urs Rauwald Alexander Reznichenko Sarah Ryan
Subhas Samanta Corinna Schindler Christopher Serpell
Xiao Shen Zhuangzhi Shi Andrey Solovyev
Johannes Sprafke Haichao Xu Charles Yeung
Elena Zaborova Jason Zbieg Qi Zhang
Haiyan Zhao Jun Feng Zhao Qianghui Zhou

2010 Winners:

Thomas Maimone
Hiroyuki Miyamura
Robert Phipps
Article: Total Synthesis of Vinigro
Journal: Journal of the American Chemical Society
University: The Scripps Research Institute
Supervisor: Prof. Phil S. Baran
Article: Aerobic Oxidation of Alcohols at Room Temperature and Atmospheric Conditions Catalyzed by Reusable Gold Nanoclusters Stabilized by the Benzene Rings of Polystyrene Derivatives
Journal: Angewandte Chemie
University: University of Tokyo
Supervisor: Prof. Shu Kobayashi
Article: RA Meta-Selective Copper-Catalyzed CH Bond Arylation
Journal: Science
University: University of Cambridge
Supervisor: Prof.Matthew Gaunt

2010 Finalists:

Victoria Blair Justin Chalker Justin Christy
Nicholas Deprez Guangbin Dong Alessandro D'Urso
Brett Fors Xiao Fu Takeru Furuya
Stefan Graber Yuan Han Takanori Iwasaki
Liqun Jin Michael Katz Florian Kessler
Bala Krishna Juluri Ravi Kumar Rohit Kumar Sharma
Connor Martin Teresa Martinez del Campo Megan Matthews
Paul Mcgonigal David Michaelis Evan Miller
Thomas Moss Devon Mundal Julia Neumann
Tobias Seiser Ponminor Senthil Kumar Lauren Sirois
Christof Sparr Jason Spruell Yuto Sumida
Kosuke Suzuki Giulia Tagliabue Jason Thomas
Hirofumi Ueda Akira Ueda Oleg Vechorkin
Dieter Weber Peter Wich Akira Yada