David William Cross MacMillan
16 March 1968
University of Glasgow (BSc)
University of California, Irvine (MSc, PhD)
Member of the National Academy of Sciences (2018)
Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2021)
|Thesis||Stereocontrolled formation of bicyclic tetrahydrofurans and Enantioselective total synthesis of eunicellin diterpenes (1996)|
|Doctoral advisor||Larry E. Overman|
|Other academic advisors||Ernest W. Colvin|
David A. Evans
|Doctoral students||Vy Dong, Tehshik Yoon, Tristan Lambert|
David William Cross MacMillan  is a Scottish chemist and the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry at Princeton University, where he was also the Chair of the Department of Chemistry from 2010 to 2015. He shared the 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Benjamin List "for the development of asymmetric organocatalysis".(born 16 March 1968)
MacMillan was born in Bellshill, Scotland in 1968 and grew in nearby New Stevenston. He attended the local state-funded schools, New Stevenston Primary and Bellshill Academy and credited his Scottish education for his success. He received his undergraduate degree in chemistry at the University of Glasgow, where he worked with Ernie Colvin.
In 1990, he left the UK to begin his doctoral studies under the direction of Professor Larry Overman at the University of California, Irvine. During this time, he focused on the development of new reaction methodology directed toward the stereocontrolled formation of bicyclic tetrahydrofurans. MacMillan's graduate studies culminated in the total synthesis of 7-(−)-deacetoxyalcyonin acetate, a eunicellin diterpenoid isolated from the soft coral Eunicella stricta. He earned his Ph.D. in 1996.
He hailed his Scottish upbringing as a reason for his winning the Nobel.
Upon receiving his Ph.D., MacMillan accepted a position with Professor David Evans at Harvard University. His postdoctoral studies centered on enantioselective catalysis, in particular, the design and development of Sn(II)-derived bisoxazoline complexes (Sn(II)box).
MacMillan began his independent research career as a member of the chemistry faculty at the University of California, Berkeley in July 1998. He joined the department of chemistry at Caltech in June 2000, where his group's research interests centered on new approaches to enantioselective catalysis. In 2004, he was appointed as the Earle C. Anthony Professor of Chemistry. He became the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor at Princeton University in September 2006.
He is considered to be one of the founders of organocatalysis. In 2000, MacMillan designed small organic molecules that can provide or accept electrons and therefore efficiently catalyse reactions. He developed catalysts that can drive asymmetric catalysis, in which a reaction produces more of the left-handed version of a molecule than the right-handed one (chirality), or vice versa. MacMillan's research group has made many advances in the field of asymmetric organocatalysis, and they have applied these new methods to the synthesis of a range of complex natural products. He developed chiral imidazolidinone catalysts. MacMillan catalysts are used in various asymmetric syntheses. Examples include Diels-Alder reactions, 1,3-dipolar cycloadditions, Friedel-Crafts alkylations or Michael additions.
|Scholia has a profile for David MacMillan (Q5237001).|