Professor Emeritus
Gilbert 339

Jim WhiteEducation:
Cambridge University, BA, 1959
University of British Columbia, MSc, 1961
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, PhD 1965

Fellow of the American Chemical Society, 2011
Oregon Academy of Science Outstanding Scientist Award, 2006
Medical Research Foundation of Oregon Discovery Award, 2004
Aurthur C Cope Senior Scholar Award, American Chemical Society, 2003
Wyeth-Ayerst Research Award, Columbia University, 2000
Centenary Medal, Royal Society of Chemistry, UK, 1999
FA Gilfillan Memorial Award, Oregon State University, 1996
ScD, Cambridge University, 1995
Guggenheim Fellowship, 1988-1989
Milton Harris Award for Basic Research, Oregon State University, 1987
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Fellowhip, 1983
Sigma Xi Research Award, Oregon State University Chapter 1981
National Institutes of Health Research Career Development Award, 1976-1981
Eli Lilly Grant Award, 1968-1969
National Institutes of Health Predoctoral Fellowship, MIT 1964-1965
Cabot Solar Energy Fellowship, MIT 1962-1963
Devon County Scholarship, Cambridge University, 1956-1959

Research Website:

Organic & Bioorganic Website:

Research Interests:
Our recent research has focused on two major areas of organic synthesis.   The first involved development of a new series of metal-salen catalysts for asymmetric synthesis based upon cis 2,5-diaminobicyclo[2.2.2]octane as a chiral scaffold.   Salen ligands incorporating this scaffold are found to sequester a wide variety of transition and non-transition metals, and the complexes formed have been shown to catalyze asymmetric versions of hetero-Diels-Alder cycloaddition, the Nozaki-Hiyama-Kishi reaction, the Henry reaction, sulfa-Michael conjugate addition, the Conia-ene cyclization and alkene cyclopropanation, all with very high catalytic efficiency and excellent enantioselectivity.
A second area of research is carried out jointly with investigators at other institutions and is focused on the application of synthetic routes developed in our laboratory to targets that are relevant to current drug discovery efforts in important disease areas such as cancer.   Two ongoing projects of this nature are (1) synthetic modification of the macrolide zampanolide for treatment of metastatic prostate cancer (in collaboration with Prof Qiao-Hong Chen at California State University, Fresno, and (2) investigation of new routes to eribulin mesylate (Halaven) for treatment of metastatic breast cancer (in collaboration with Yonsung Chemical Co., Seoul, Korea).      

Representative Publications:

  • Shaw, S.; White, J.D. “Regioselective and Enantioselective Addition of Sulfur Nucleophiles to Acyclic ,,,-Unsaturated Dienones Catalyzed by an Iron(III)-Salen Complex,” Org. Lett., 2015, 17, 4564-4567.
  • White. J.D.; Li, Y.; Kim, J.; Terinek, M. “Cyclobutane Synthesis and Fragmentation.   A Cascade Route to the Lycopodium Alkaloid (-)-Huperzine A,” J. Org. Chem., 2015, 80, 11806-11817.
  • Suttisintong, K; White, J.D. “Synthesis of Two Subunits of the Macrolide Domain of the Immunosuppressive Agent Sanglifehrin A and Assembly of a Macrolactone Precursor.  Application of Masamune anti-Aldol Condensation,” J. Org. Chem. 2015, 80, 2249-2262.
  • Shaw, S.; White, J.D. “A New Iron(III)-salen Catalyst for Enantioselective Conia-ene Carbocyclization,” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2014, 136, 13578-13581.
  • White, J.D.; Shaw, S. “A New Cobalt-salen Catalyst for Asymmetric Cyclopropanation.   Synthesis of the Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor (+)-Synosutine,” Org. Lett., 2014, 16, 3880-3883.
  • Avery, M.A.; Choudhry, S.C.; Dhingra, O.P.; Gray, B.D.; Kang, M.C.; Kuo, S.-c; Vedananda, T.R.; White, J.D.; Whittle, A.J. “Total Synthesis of Macrodiolide Ionophores Aplasmomycin A and Boromycin via Double Ring Contraction,” Org. Biomol. Chem., 2014, 12, 9116-9132.
  • White, J.D.; Shaw, S. “Iron Catalyzed Enantioselective Sulfa-Michael Addition: A Four-step Synthesis of the Anti-asthma Agent Montelukast,” Chem. Sci. 2014, 5, 2200-2204.
  • White, J.D.; Jana, S. “Studies on the Synthesis of Providencin.   Construction and Assembly of Two Major Subunits,” J. Org. Chem. 2014, 79, 700-710.
  • White, J.D.; Li, Y. “Synthesis of the ABCD Ring System of Vinca Akaloids Using Tandem Intramolecular [2+2]-Photocycloaddition-retro-Mannich Fragmentation,” Heterocycles, 2014, 88, 899-910.
  • Wright, C.; Holmes, J.; Nibler, J.W.; Hedberg, K.; White, J.D.; Hedberg, L.; Weber, A.; Blake, T.A. “High-resolution Infrared and Electron Diffraction Studies of Trimethylenecyclopropane ([3]-Radialene),” J. Phys. Chem. A 2013, 117, 4035-4043.