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Andrew D. Smith

Andy was born in Middlesbrough and left school to enjoy two years playing football with Aston Villa F.C. before studying for his ‘A’ levels. In 1992 he came up to Jesus College to study Chemistry at the University of Oxford, completing his undergraduate Part II project in 1996 with Professor Steve Davies.

Staying at Oxford, he gained a D. Phil under the direction of Professor Steve Davies entitled “Asymmetric Oligomerisation Strategies”. His doctoral research focused upon the development of methodology for asymmetric intra- and intermolecular consecutive conjugate addition reactions, the preparation of polyfunctional and differentially protected β-amino scaffolds and the discovery of a novel oxidative deprotection strategy.

Awarded the cross-disciplinary Weston Junior Research Fellowship (by open competition) at New College, University of Oxford in 2000 for post-doctoral studies, a successful research collaboration with Professor Steve Davies was established. During this association he participated in a variety of research topics within the realm of asymmetric synthesis, including the total synthesis of natural products, the development of stereoselective [2,3] sigmatropic rearrangements, the asymmetric synthesis of b-amino acids, ammonium directed oxidative transformations and the use of chiral auxiliaries, resulting in over ninety publications to date.

In 2005, he was awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship at the School of Chemistry, University of St Andrews and began his independent research career. He was promoted to Reader in 2010, awarded an ERC Starter Grant (Consolidator) in 2011 and promoted to Professor in 2012. He was awarded the RSC Merck Award in 2014 for “outstanding contributions to the creative assembly of enantiopure building blocks by organocatalysis” and is Director of the CRITICAT CDT in Catalysis, a joint initiative by St Andrews, Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt Universities.

The main theme of research in the ADS group is the development of new catalysts, novel catalytic reactions and innovative asymmetric synthesis methodologies for chemical synthesis. In all our research projects we aim to discover novel methods and approaches to the assembly of complex functional molecules. Current research is centred upon the use of chiral N-heterocyclic carbenes and isothioureas as asymmetric Lewis base catalysts in a variety of applications in synthesis, as well as asymmetric cascade processes. Alongside these branches of research we utilise physical organic chemistry methods to develop a mechanistic understanding of the processes we study.