1971 Ph.D. Organic Chemistry, Harvard University
1971-1972 Researcher, Toray Industries, Inc. (Prof. J. Tsuji, Adviser)
Due in large part to the development of new reagents, chemists today have the ability to routinely carry out syntheses which would have been impossible to carry out a few decades ago. Proton plays an important role in most enzymatic reactions. A well designed acid catalysis is an excellent candidate, as a proton substitute, for man-made organic reactions. The goal of our research is to engineer an artificial proton of a special shape that can be utilized as an effective tool for chemical reactions by harnessing the high reactivity of the metal atom towards a variety of functional groups. This concept was initially researched by examining the influence of a specially designed organometallic reagent on various organic reactions. The successful discrimination observed lead to examine a more intricate question of enantioface differentiation, which was initially reported from our laboratory and is now widely expanded in the world. During the last decade the uninterrupted expansion of Lewis and Brønsted acid catalysis research has continued in organic synthesis. New catalysis research in our laboratory is targeting more versatile, more selective, and more reactive catalysts, aiming at environmentally benign systems. Nonetheless, the full potential of acid catalysts is still not yet realized. The following topics are recently being studied in our laboratories:
 Chiral Phosphoric Acid-Catalyzed Kinetic Resolution via Amide Bond Formation, Shimoda, Y.; Yamamoto, H. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 139, 6855-6858 (2017)
 Catalytic Asymmetric Bromocyclization of Polyenes, Samanta, R. C.; Yamamoto, H. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 139, 1460-1463 (2017)
 Hydroxy-Directed Amidation of Carboxylic Acid Esters Using a Tantalum Alkoxide Catalyst, Tsuji, H.; Yamamoto, H. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 138, 14218-14221 (2016)
 Catalytic Asymmetric Synthesis of N-Chiral Amine Oxides, Bhadra, S.; Yamamoto, H. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 55, 13043-13046 (2016)
 A Powerful Chiral Phosphoric Acid Catalyst for Enantioselective Mukaiyama–Mannich Reactions, Zhou, F.; Yamamoto, H. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 55, 8970-8974 (2016)
 Design of a New Bimetallic Catalyst for Asymmtric Epoxidation and Sulfoxidation, Bhadra, S., Akakura, M.; Yamamoto, H., J. Am. Chem. Soc., 137, 15612-15615. (2015)
 Catalytic Enantioselective Nitroso Diels-Alder Reaction, Maji, B.; Yamamoto, H., J. Am. Chem. Soc., 137, 15957-15963 (2015).
 Gadolinium-Catalyzed Regio- and Enantioselective Aminolysis of Aromatic trans-2,3-Epoxy Sulfonamides, Wang, C.; Yamamoto, H., Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 54, 8760-8763 (2015).
 Chiral Bronsted Acid as a True Catalyst: Asymmetric Mukaiyama Aldol and Hosomi-Sakurai Allylation Reactions, Sai, M. Yamamloto, H., J. Am. Chem. Soc., 137,7091-7094 (2015).
 Nickel-Catalyzed Regio- and Enantioselective Aminolysis of 3,4-Epoxy Alcohols, Wang, C.; Yamamoto, H., J. Am. Chem. Soc., 137, 4308-4311 (2015).
 Tungsten catalyzed oxidation and ring opening to generate >99.9%ee product, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 136, 1222-1225 (2014).
 Ten Years Research in Chicago, Tetrahedron, 69, 4503-4515 (2013).
 Rapid and Stereochemically Flexible Synthesis of Polypropionates: Super-Silyl-Governed Aldol Cascades. Angew. Chem. 124, 1978–1982 (2012).
 Lewis Acid Catalyzed Inverse-Electron-Demand Diels-Alder Reaction of Tropones. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 131, 16628-16629 (2009).
 Dual-Activation Asymmetric Strecker Reaction of Aldimines and Ketimines Catalyzed by a Tethered Bis(8-quinolinolato) Aluminum Complex. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 131, 15118-15119 (2009).
 Cationic-Oxazaborolidine-Catalyzed Enantioselective Diels-Alder Reaction of ,β-Unsaturated Acetylenic Ketones. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 48, 8060-8062 (2009).
 Catalytic Enantioselective Pudovik Reaction of Aldehydes and Aldimines with Tethers Bis(8-quinolinato) (TBOx) Aluminum Complex. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 130, 10521-10523 (2008).
 Regioselective and Asymetric Diels-Alder Reaction of 1- and 2-Substituted Cyclopentadienes Catalyzed by a Brønsted Acid Activated Chiral Oxazaborolidine, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 129, 9536-9537 (2007).
 Asymmetric Conjugate Addition of Silyl Enol Ethers Catalyzed by Tethered Bis(8-Quinolinolato) Aluminum Complexes, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 129, 742-743, (2007).
 Design of Chiral N-Triflyl Phosphoramide as a Strong Chiral Brønsted Acid and its application to Asymmetric Diels-Alder Reaction, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 128, 9626 (2006).
 Brønsted Acid Catalysis of Achiral Enamine for Regio- and Enantioselective Nitroso Aldol Synthesis. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 127, 1080 (2005).
 Oxazaborolidine-Derived Lewis Acid Assisted Lewis Acid as a Moisture-Tolerant Catalyst for Enantioselective Diels–Alder Reactions. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Enl., 44, 1484-1487 (2005).
 Designer Catalysis: Combined Acid Catalysis for Asymmetric Synthesis. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 44, 1924-1942 (2005).
 Acyloxyborane: An activating device for carboxylic acids. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 110, 6254 (1988).
 Asymmetric hetero-Diels-Alder reaction catalyzed by chiral organoaluminum reagent. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 110, 310 (1988).
 Asymmetric cyclization of unsaturated aldehydes catalyzed by a chiral Lewis acid. Tetrahedron Lett, 26, 5535, (1985).
The Roger Adams Award, 2017
Fujiwara Prize, 2012
Noyori Prize, 2011
Member of American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2011
Grand Prize of Synthetic Organic Chemistry of Japan, 2009
ACS Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry, 2009
Honorary Member of the Chemical Society of Japan, 2008
The Japan Academy Award, 2007, Humboldt Research Award, 2007
The Karl-Ziegler Professorship, 2006
Tetrahedron Prize, 2006
Yamada Prize, 2004
Molecular Chirality Award, 2003, Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2003
Tetrahedron Chair, 2002. Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon (Japan), 2002
Max-Tishler Prize, 1998, Le Grand Prix de la Fondation Maison de la Chimie, 2002
The Chemical Society of Japan Award, 1995. Toray Science and Technology Award, 1997
Prelog Medal, 1993, Merck-Schuchardt Lectureship, 1994
IBM Science Award, 1988, Houkou Award, 1991, Chunichi Award, 1992
The Chemical Society of Japan Award for Young Chemist, 1977