Academic Profile

Academic Profile

Assoc Prof Chi Yonggui Robin

Associate Professor
Division of Chemistry & Biological Chemistry
School of Physical & Mathematical Sciences
College of Science

Phone: (+65)65927769
Office: SPMS-CBC-06-19

  • PhD University of Wisconsin, Madison 2007
  • BSc (ApplChem) (Hons) Hong Kong Baptist University 2002

2007-2009 Postdoc., Jean M. J. Fréchet Group, Department of Chemistry, UC-Berkeley, USA
2002-2007 Ph.D., Samuel H. Gellman Group, Department of Chemistry, UW-Madison, USA
1998-2002 BSc., Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) and Tsinghua University

Selected Recognitions:
2009 Singapore National Research Foundation Fellow Research Grant Award
2008 Stereochemistry GRC Post Doctoral Award-Deed of Gift Award
2006, 2007 Abbott Laboratories Fellowship in Synthetic Organic Chemistry
2006 Vilas Fellowship (UW-Madison)
2006 McElvain Travel Award
1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 UGC Hong Kong Jockey Club Fellowship for Outstanding Mainland Students
2002 Highest cumulative GPA award in Chemistry Department (HKBU GPAs during1999-2002)
2000-2002 University President’s Honor Roll Award
2001 Mr. Wong Kwok Shuen Memorial Scholarship
2000 Mr. Lui Ming Fong Memorial Scholarship
1997 First honor prize in national high school chemistry contest (China)

Selected Publications:
-Guo, L.; Chi, Y.; A. M. ; Guzei, I. A.; Parker, B. K. ; Gellman, S. H. "Stereospecific Synthesis of Conformationally Constrained γ-Amino Acids: New Foldamer Building Blocks That Support Helical Secondary Structure", J. Am. Chem. Soc, 2009, 131, 16018-16020.

-Scroggins, T. S.; Chi, Y. Fréchet, J. M. J.” Polarity-Directed One-Pot Asymmetric Cascade Reactions Mediated by Two Catalysts in an Aqueous Bufferz”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2009, in press (VIP Paper)

-Chi, Y.; Scroggins, T. S.; Boz, E.; Fréchet, J. M. J. “Control of Aldol Reaction Pathways of Enolizable Aldehdyes with an Enzyme-Like Polymer Catalyst in Aqueous Environment”, J. Am. Chem. Soc, 2008, 130, 17287-17289.

-Chi, Y.; Scroggins, T. S.; Fréchet, J. M. J. “One-Pot Multi-Component Asymmetric Cascade Reactions Catalyzed by Soluble Star Polymers with Non-Interpenetrating Catalytic Cores”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2008, 130, 6322-6323.(Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory 2008 Research Highlights)

-Chi, Y.; Guo, L.; Kopf, N. A.; Gellman, S. H. “Enantioselective Organocatalytic Michael Addition of Aldehydes to Nitroethylene: Efficient Access to γ2-Amino Acids”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2008, 130, 5608-5609. (Highlighted: C&E News, 2008, 86, 50-51; Synfacts 2008, 6, 0648.)

-Chi, Y.; et al. & Gellman, S. H. “Practical Synthesis of Enantiomerically Pure β2-Amino Acids via Proline-Catalyzed Diastereoselective Aminomethylation of Aldehydes”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2007, 129, 6050-6055.

-Chi, Y.; Gellman, S. H. “Enantioselective Organocatalytic Aminomethylation of Aldehydes: A Role for Ionic Interactions and Access to β2-Amino Acids”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2006, 128, 6804-6805. (Highlighted: Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2006, 45, 7876-7880)

-Peelen, T. J.; Chi, Y.; Gellman, S. H. “Enantioselective Organocatalytic Michael Additions of Aldehydes to Enones with Imidazolidinones: Cocatalyst Effects and Evidence for an Enamine Intermediate”, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2005, 127, 11598-11599. (“Most-Accessed Article” in J. Am. Chem. Soc.; July-September, 2005).

-Chi, Y.; Gellman, S. H. “Diphenylprolinol Methyl Ether: A Highly Enantioselective Catalyst in Michael Addition of Aldehydes to Simple Enones”, Org. Lett., 2005, 7, 4253-4256. (Highlighted: Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2006, 45, 7876-7880)

-Chi, Y.; Peelen, T. J.; Gellman, S. H. “A Rapid 1H NMR Assay for Enantiomeric Excess of α-Substituted Aldehydes”, Org. Lett., 2005, 7, 3469-3472.
Research Interests
-Catalysis & Organic Synthesis
-Peptides, Proteins, Polymers
-Nanoscale Structures & Functional Materials

Research Grant
  • A*STAR Individual Research Grant (AME Domain) (2017-) [by A*STAR Science & Engineering Research Council (SERC)]
  • Academic Research Fund Tier 1 (2017-) [by MOE]
  • Academic Research Fund Tier 2 (2014-)
  • Academic Research Fund Tier 2 (2017-) [by MOE]
  • Academic Research Fund Tier 3 (2014-) [by Ministry of Education (MOE)]
  • NRF Investigatorship (2016-) [by National Research Foundation (NRF)]
  • NTU Internal Funding (2016-) [by Nanyang Technological University]
Current Projects
  • Biomimetic Organiocatalytic Dynamic Kinetic Resolution for Rapid and Scalable Access to Chiral Carboxylic Esters and Related Functional Molecules
  • Carbene-Catalyzed Selective Protection and Functionalization of Saccharides
  • Clean, Safe, Inexpensive, and Transition Metal-Free Approaches to Amino Acid-Type Bioactive Compounds and Animal Food Additives
  • Direct Concise Construction of Aromatic Molecules via NHC-Catalyzed Activations
  • Explorative Multi-Disciplinary Collaborative Research Merging Synthetic Chemistry and Other Areas
  • New Adventure to Metal/Organic (Cu/NHC) Cooperative Relay Catalysis
  • New Green OrganoCatalytic Methods for Atom-Economic Amide Synthesis
  • New Organic Catalysis and Applications
  • Opportunities with Carbene Organocatalysis: New Activation Modes & Metal-Free Rapid Green Access to Functional Molecules
  • Organocatalytic β-Activation of Saturated Ester: Nucleophilic β-Carbon & Beyond
  • Seed Funding
  • Seed Funding
  • Selective contact-active antimicrobial bio-macromolecules
  • Sustainable Catalysis and Chemical Synthesis
Selected Publications
  • Jiajia Cheng, Zhijian Huang, and Yonggui Robin Chi. (2013). NHC Organocatalytic LUMO Activation of α,β-Unsaturated Esters to React with Enamides. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 52, 8592-8596.
  • Zhenqian Fu, Jianfeng Xu, Tingshun Zhu, Wendy Wen Yi Leong, Yonggui Robin Chi. (2013). β-carbon activation of saturated carboxylic esters through N-heterocyclic carbene organocatalysis. NATURE CHEMISTRY, 5, 835-839.
  • Junming Mo, Liang Shen, and Yonggui Robin Chi. (2013). Direct β-Activation of Saturated Aldehydes to Formal Michael Acceptors through Oxidative NHC Catalysis. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 52, 8588-8591.
  • Junmin Zhang, Chong Xing, and Yonggui Robin Chi*. (2013). Catalytic Activation of Carbohydrates as Formaldehyde Equivalents for Stetter Reaction. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 135, 8113–8116.
  • Zhenqian Fu, Hui Sun, Shaojin Chen, Bhoopendra Tiwari, Guohui Li; Yonggui Robin Chi*. (2012). Controlled β-protonation and [4+2] cycloaddition of enals and chalcones via N-heterocyclic carbene/acid catalysis: substrate independent reaction control. Chemical Communications, 49, 261-263.

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