Nakamoto Lecture Series

  • 2019 Lecture
  • Dr. Kazuo Nakamoto
  • Previous Nakamoto Lecturers

Dr. Huw DaviesThe Department of Chemistry is pleased to announce that this year's Nakamoto Lecture will be given by Professor Huw Davies, Emory University. The lecture, "Catalyst-controlled C-H Functionalization," will be held at 4 pm on Friday, September 6, 2019 in room 121 of the Todd Wehr Chemistry Building.

Huw M. L. Davies was born in Aberystwyth, Wales, UK.  He received his B. Sc. degree from University College Cardiff, Wales (1977) and his Ph. D degree from the University of East Anglia (1980).  After a post-doctoral position at Princeton University (1980-1983), he joined the faculty at Wake Forest University (1883-1995). After being promoted to full professor he moved to the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York (1995-2008) where he held the positions of UB Distinguished Professor and Larkin Professor of Organic Chemistry.  In 2008 he moved to Emory University as the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Chemistry. 

Professor Davies’ research emphasizes the development of new enantioselective synthetic methods and their applications in total synthesis and drug discovery. A major current theme of his program is catalytic asymmetric C–H functionalization by means of rhodium-carbene induced C–H insertion. He is currently the Director of the NSF Center for Chemical Innovation for Selective C-H Functionalization, which brings together 23 faculty members from 15 universities. 

Professor Davies is actively involved in the chemical community, having served as the Executive Officer of the 2003 National Organic Symposium, the 2005 Program Chair of the Gordon Conference on Heterocyclic Compounds, the 2005 Chair of the Organic Division of the American Chemical Society, and Co-Organizer of the ACS Organic Division Assistant Professor Symposium at the Fall ACS meeting since 2006.  He is an Associate Editor for Chemical Society Reviews and has been as Associate Editor of Organic Reactions (2005-2010) and Organic Syntheses (2008-2016).  Recent awards include the American Chemical Society Cope Scholar Award (2005), Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (2007), Fellow of the American Chemical Society (2009), Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2012), 2013 eEROS Reagent of the Year Award, Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (2015), the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Award (2017), the Paul N. Rylander Award (2018) and the ACS Herbert C. Brown Award for Creative Research in Synthetic Methods (2019).

Dr. Kazuo Nakamoto

Kazuo Nakamoto was born in Kobe, Japan. He received his B.S. and D.Sc. from Osaka University and remained at Osaka as a member of the faculty for an additional four years, except for the two years which he spent at Iowa State University working in the laboratory of Robert E. Rundle as a Fulbright Scholar. In 1958 he joined the faculty at Clark University, moving to Illinois Institute of Technology in 1961 and in 1969 he became the first Wehr Professor of Chemistry at Marquette University.

Professor Nakamoto directed the research of more than 85 graduate students and postdoctoral associates and published more than 210 papers and 15 review articles. He was a pioneer in the use of metal isotopes to elucidate the involvement of metals in low frequency vibrations in metallic complexes, a discovery that helped fuel the rapid growth in the developing field of bioinorganic chemistry. He then turned his attention to biological problems and began a vigorous research program dealing with heme-related compounds. He was also amongst the first to use matrix isolation techniques to prepare and characterize unstable species, including the biologically relevant ferryl heme complexes, an important intermediate in many oxidative heme enzymes. His interest also included DNA and the process of intercalation. Using oligonucleotides synthesized to include specific sequences, he established criteria that can be used to deduce the site specificity of these compounds. He was able to differentiate between exterior (groove) binding and interior (intercalation) binding through careful vibrational analysis.

In keeping with his life-long interest in communicating the excitement of science, he authored several influential texts in the field of spectroscopy, including his very famous 2-volume work on Infrared and Raman Spectra of Inorganic and Coordination Compounds, the sixth edition of which was issued in 2009, and in 2008 coauthored a new book entitled Drug-DNA Interactions: Structures and Spectra. Remarkably, his passion for science and dedication to accomplishment were clearly manifested, even up to the final weeks of his life, as he was continually pondering new points to include in planned future editions of his books. In spite of his great scientific success, he remained a genuinely modest man who will long be missed by the many of us who knew and admired him.