Robert Robinson Award 2011 Winner

Lewis N Mander
The Australian National University

Awarded for major contributions to organic chemistry through his innovative work on the total synthesis of structurally complex natural products including the gibberellin family of plant growth regulators and the Galbulimima alkaloids.

About the Winner

Lew Mander was born in Auckland, New Zealand, where he completed his BSc and MSc (hons.) degrees at the University of Auckland. After moving to Australia, he obtained his Ph.D. in 1964 at the University of Sydney then undertook two years of postdoctoral studies, initially at the University of Michigan, and then at the California Institute of Technology. He returned to Australia as a lecturer in organic chemistry at the University of Adelaide then moved to the Research School of Chemistry at the Australian National University in 1975. He was appointed Professor in 1980, serving two periods as Dean (1981-85; 1992-95). He was a Nuffield Fellow at Cambridge University in 1972 and a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the California Institute of Technology in 1977 and at Harvard University in 1986. 

He has been an Eminent Scientist of RIKEN, Saitama, Japan (1995-96), and a Distinguished Alumnus Professor at the University of Auckland (1992). He has also been a visiting professor at the Universities of Sydney, Cambridge, Alberta, Colorado, and Canterbury (New Zealand). He is a Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute, the Australian Academy of Science, the Royal Society of New Zealand and the Royal Society of London. Among numerous distinctions, he has been awarded the H.G. Smith Medal of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (1981), the Flintoff Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry (1990), the Royal Society of Chemistry CIBA Award in Synthetic Organic Chemistry (1994) and the David Craig Medal of the Australian Academy of Science (2002).

Mander's current research interests continue to be the development of methods and strategies for the assembly and manipulation of biologically active complex natural products with a special interest in the Galbulimima alkaloids and gibberellin plant hormones. A major theme in his research has been the utilisation of benzenoid synthons as precursors to alicyclic systems by employing dearomatisation processes that liberate the latent functionality that is contained within such units.

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