Eric N. Jacobsen (born February 22, 1960, New York, NY) is the Sheldon Emery Professor of Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University. He is a prominent figure in the field of organic chemistry and is best known for the development of the Jacobsen epoxidation.
Jacobsen attended New York University for his undergraduate studies and the University of California at Berkeley for graduate school, earning his Ph.D. in 1986 under the tutelage of Robert G. Bergman. He subsequently joined the laboratory of Barry Sharpless, then of MIT, as an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow. He was a faculty member at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before relocating to Harvard in 1993.
His work includes investigations on selective catalysis, including the design, discovery, and study of systems that mediate fundamentally interesting and useful organic reactions. His laboratory has applied physical-organic chemistry principles to understand the transition structure geometries and molecular recognition events that control reaction selectivity. Asymmetric catalysis, selective carbon-carbon bond formation and cleavage, enzymatic oxidation, enzyme mimetics, and new approaches to catalyst design are all areas of his interest. He has developed enantioselective small-molecule catalysts whose usefulness is demonstrated by aiding the synthesis of biologically important active compounds.
Jacobsen has developed catalysts for asymmetric epoxidation, hydrolytic kinetic resolution and desymmetrization of epoxides, asymmetric pericyclic reactions, and asymmetric additions to imines.
- Harvard University Department of Chemistry and Biological Chemistry Website, Eric N. Jacobsen, last accessed December 19, 2009 (website includes photograph of Eric N. Jacobsen) 
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