Jin-Quan Yu
  • 2016 MacArthur Fellowship


Professor at the Scripps Research Institute. He pioneered new methods for the catalysis and functionalization of carbon-hydrogen bonds and enabling the development of versatile, novel, and beneficial chemical compounds, for this he was awarded the 2016 MacArthur Fellowship.

Education and Work Experience

1999, Ph.D. in Chemistry, University of Cambridge
2007-2010, Associate Professor of Chemistry, Scripps Research Institute
2010-2012, Professor of Chemistry, Scripps Research Institute
2012-Present, Frank and Bertha Hupp Professor of Chemistry, Scripps Research Institute

Honors and Awards

2012, Fellow of Royal Society of Chemistry
2016, MacArthur Fellowship
2017, RSC Pedler Award
2019, Member of American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Major Academic Achievements

Jin-Quan Yu is a synthetic chemist pioneering new techniques for the functionalization of carbon-hydrogen (C-H) bonds. Yu has made several significant advances in the
efficiency, specificity, and practicality of palladium-catalyzed C-H functionalization. Most recently, Yu invented a new method for activation of methylene groups, which are the most common class of C-H bonds. Using palladium catalysts bearing amino acid or quinoline (from coal tar)- derived chiral ligands, he has both drastically accelerated this process and enabled the creation of products with specific chirality. Yu’s unconventional approach to C-H functionalization is creating a paradigm shift in the logic of organic synthetic chemistry and breaking down barriers to the development of versatile compounds with enormous benefits to academic, industrial, and pharmaceutical research.