Chris was born and raised in New Zealand, obtaining a BSc (Hons) from Victoria University of Wellington. He then enrolled as a graduate student at the Australian National University under the supervision of Professor Michael Sherburn, where he focused on the development and application of fundamental hydrocarbons in total synthesis. Following his graduation Chris conducted postdoctoral studies in the group of Professor Nicolai Cramer (EPFL, Switzerland), working in the areas of enantioselective CH functionalization and biomimetic natural product synthesis. Chris returned to Australia as a DECRA Fellow at the University of Adelaide, before moving to the University of Georgia (USA) in early 2021 to start as an Assistant Professor
2021: Thieme Chemistry Journals Award
2020: Daniel Walker Medal
2018: Australian Research Council DECRA Fellowship
2017: Bayer Synthetic Organic Chemistry Postdoc Workshop
2016: EPFL Fellowship
2015: Mander Award
The art and science of organic synthesis has reached a level where one can envision a synthetic route to almost any designed or natural molecule. Despite this spectacular achievement, the ability to access meaningful quantities of complex organic molecules is often impossible via current means. Traditionally, complex targets are synthesized from cheap, readily available feed-stocks, through lengthy sequences of chemical transformations. Each reaction requires expensive reagents, solvents, specialized equipment, and complex purification procedures, while also generating waste that has to be disposed of appropriately. Research in the Newton group is focused on directly addressing the problem of step-economy through the development of new reactions and strategies that enable the rapid generation of molecular complexity.
Active areas of research directed towards this means include projects centered around the Diels–Alder reaction, enantioselective CH functionalization, biomimetic natural product synthesis, and the design and application of new chiral ligands.
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