In 2014, Dr. Gregory C. Fu, SB ’85, created an endowed fund in the Department of Chemistry in honor of his UROP adviser, Professor K. Barry Sharpless. The fund will be used to provide graduate student support and/or several annual travel grants for graduate students (with a preference for those studying organic chemistry) to travel to national meetings and conferences.
“My UROP experience in the Sharpless lab, working with Dr. Joel M. Hawkins, was the highlight of my undergraduate experience at MIT,” says Dr. Fu. “Barry was an inspiration to generations of MIT undergraduates, as a UROP mentor and as a teacher in the classroom.”
Fu went to Harvard University for his graduate studies in the lab of Professor David A. Evans, followed by two years as a postdoctoral fellow in Professor Robert H. Grubbs’ lab at the California Institute of Technology.
In 1993, he was offered a junior faculty position at MIT, where he rose through the tenure track ranks to full professor in 1999. In 2007, he was named the Firmenich Professor of Chemistry.
In 2012, Professor Fu moved to Caltech to take up the position of Altair Professor of Chemistry.
Fu’s group is focused on transition-metal catalysis, with an emphasis on enantioselective reactions. In particular, his group is developing nickel-catalyzed C–C cross-coupling reactions of alkyl electrophiles, including enantioconvergent reactions of racemic electrophiles, as well as photoinduced, copper-catalyzed C–N coupling reactions of aryl and alkyl electrophiles (a collaboration with the lab of Jonas Peters).