McGill University Department of Chemistry Analytical/Environmental Chemical Biology Chemical Physics Materials Chemistry Synthesis/Catalysis  
Synthesis/Catalysis Profs.
Arndtsen, Bruce
Auclair, Karine
Bohle, Scott
Butler, Ian
Chan, Tak-Hang
Cosa, Gonzalo
Damha, Masad
Eisenberg, Adi
Farrell, Patrick
Friščić, Tomislav
Gleason, James
Gray, Derek
Guindon, Yvan
Harpp, David
Hay, Allan
Kakkar, Ashok
Lennox, Bruce
Li, C.J.
Lumb, Jean-Philip
Marchessault, Robert
Moitessier, Nicolas
Moores, Audrey
Perepichka, Dima
Shaver, Alan
Sleiman, Hanadi
Tsantrizos, Youla
van de Ven, Theo
Jean-Philip Lumb
Jean-Philip Lumb

Assistant Professor
U1 Advisor

Prof. Jean-Philip Lumb obtained his B.A. from Cornell University in 2002,
graduating Magna Cum Laude with degrees in Chemistry and French Literature.
In 2003, he moved to the University of California, Berkeley, where he was an
ACS Organic Division Fellow in the research group of Professor Dirk Trauner.
From 2008 to 2011 he was a Ruth L. Kirschstein Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University,
working under the supervision of Prof. Barry M. Trost.
In 2011, Lumb began his independent career at McGill University in Montreal, Québec.
He holds grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC),
the Fonds de Recherche du Québec (FQRNT) and McGill University.
He is the recipient of the 2014 Thieme Journal Award for young investigators,
a Nouveaux Chercheurs Research Grant from the FQRNT,
and he is a 2014 North American New Horizons Fellow.

Office: 314
Phone: (514)398-4889
Web Page:

Lab: 340
Lab Phone: 514-398-8971

Research Themes:

Research Description:

Research in our group focuses on a range of challenges facing chemical synthesis. We have active research programs that draw upon and impact a number of areas, including:
  • 1) Total Synthesis of Natural Products

  • 2) Medicinal Chemistry

  • 3) Bioinorganic and Organometallic Catalysis

  • 4) Materials Science

  • Central to each of these programs is our fascination with the biosynthesis of natural products and natural materials. To address challenges of synthetic efficiency, our group tries to adapt biosynthetic pathways to the laboratory setting, which often forces us to address fundamental challenges of catalysis and synthetic design. Solutions stemming from these investigations provide tools to address issues of synthetic efficiency, which is a particularly pressing challenge as society strives to reach a more sustainable future. In this context, our group has active interests in:

  • 1) Minimizing the environmental impact of chemical synthesis (i.e. “green” or sustainable synthesis)

  • 2) Identifying and exploiting sustainable sources of chemical feedstocks

  • Biomimetic Total Synthesis of Natural Products

    Our group has a particular interest in complex cascade reactions, which efficiently create molecular complexity from relatively simple starting materials. To design these transformations, we draw upon biosynthetic pathways, which frequently exploit spring-loaded molecules to create multiple bonds via isomerization. Our current efforts are focused on a unified approach to the lignan family of polyphenols.

    Aerobic Catalysis

    In general, functional molecules and materials contain a greater degree of C-O, C-N and C-S bonds than their precursors. As a result, the efficiency of chemical synthesis is intimately linked to the efficiency of C-H bond oxidation. Molecular oxygen is the ideal terminal oxidant for these transformations, as it represents a sustainable source of chemical potential energy that frequently produces water as the sole by-product. In order to activate O2, our group draws inspiration from metalloenzymes, and develops simplified mimics that recreate the enzymatic active site in the absence of the protein matrix.
    Recent work in this area has focused on the dinuclear copper enzyme tyrosinase, which is responsible for the production of pigments in nearly all living organisms. Our catalyst design builds upon more than 50 years of efforts to mimic tyrosinase, and enables the first catalytic aerobic oxidation of phenols to ortho-quinones. We are currently pursuing a number of projects stemming from this initial success that span basic mechanism (organometallic and bioinorganic chemistry) as well as synthetic applications (organic synthesis).

    Mechanochemical Synthesis of Single Molecule Magnets

    Single molecule magnets are of relevance in the development of spintronic devices and have the potential to dramatically increase the storage density of digital information. Our group is focusing on a solvent free, mechanochemical synthesis of molecular magnets directly from low-valent metals and quinones. This work has spawned several projects aimed at bulk metal activation and corrosion, and couples solvothermal organic ligand synthesis with solid state metal-organic material synthesis.


  • (1) “Controlling the Catalytic Aerobic Oxidation of Phenols.” Esguerra, K. V. N.; Fall, Y.; Petitjean, L. Lumb, J. P.* J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 7662.

  • (2) “A Biomimetic Catalytic Aerobic Functionalization of Phenols.” Esguerra, K. V. N.; Fall, Y.; Lumb, J. P.* Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2014, 53, 5877.

  • Currently Teaching:
    CHEM-211W Organic Chemistry 1 Lectures
    CHEM-212W Introductory Organic Chemistry 1
    CHEM-572 Synthetic Organic Chemistry
    CHEM-629 Organic Synthesis
    801 Sherbrooke St. W. Montréal, Québec H3A 2K6 tel: 514-398-6999 fax: 514-398-3797   
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