Professor Dieter Enders Receives Distinguished Japanese Award

Copyright: RWTH Aachen

RWTH professor Dieter Enders is to receive the 2014 Ryoji Noyori Prize awarded by the Society of Synthetic Organic Chemistry, Japan (SSOCJ). The prize is named after professor Ryoji Noyori, who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2001. Upon his appointed to RWTH Aachen in 1985, Enders became Director of the Institute of Organic Chemistry. Today, the renowned chemist is Senior Professor at RWTH Aachen.


The press release of the SSOCJ lauds Dieter Enders as a pioneer in the field of asymmetric synthesis, who has developed broadly applicable chiral auxiliaries, such as SAMP/RAMP, and demonstrated their efficiency in numerous natural product syntheses. Furthermore, he has made seminal other contributions to the field of organocatalysis.

Research in Organic Synthesis and Organocatalysis

The research activities of Dieter Enders and his team in organic synthesis focus on the development of methods for highly stereo-selective bond formation and their application in natural product and agent synthesis. With the help of these technologies, Enders achieved to create substances with a defined spatial structure. Even though such compounds with a pair of structures that are mirror images of each other, so-called enantiomers, occur in nature, they have significantly distinct characteristics.

In 2012, Enders received an ERC Advanced Grant for his recent work on asymmetric organocatalytic domino reactions. The research field of organocatalysis has been developing extremely rapidly and today can be seen as the third pillar of catalysis, besides biocatalysis and metal catalysis. Organocatalytic domino reactions enable a very environmentally-friendly and economically favorable method of catalysis that is currently generating high expectations in the chemical industry.

Career and Awards

After completing his doctoral degree at Gießen University in 1974, Enders went to Harvard University, Cambridge, USA, to pursue postdoctoral research. After receiving his post-doctoral qualification (habilitation) from Gießen University in 1980, he became a professor of organic chemistry at the University of Bonn. After his appointment to RWTH Aachen, he became spokesperson for the DFG-funded Collaborative Research Center “Asymmetric Synthesis with Chemical and Biological Methods” and the DFG Transregional Research Project “Stereoselective Synthesis of Bioactive Compounds.” Upon his retirement, Enders was appointed Senior Professor at RWTH Aachen University.

Dieter Enders has already received several prizes and awards for his pioneering work in the fields of asymmetric synthesis and organocatalysis, including the Leibniz Prize of the German Research Foundation (1993), the Jamada Prize (Japan, 1995), the Max Planck Research Prize (2000), the Emil Fischer Medal of the German Chemical Society (2002), the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award of the American Chemical Society (2008), and the Robert Robinson Award der Royal Society of Chemistry (UK, 2010).

The Ryoji Noyori Prize

The Ryoji Noyori Prize is awarded to researchers with outstanding achievements in asymmetric synthetic chemistry. Both in Japan and worldwide, the award is considered a very high honor, not least due to the outstanding reputation of past and present award winners.

Source: Press and Public Relations