Jean M.J. Fréchet - Excerpt from the Academia Europaea Proposal for Membership#


Jean M.J. Fréchet was born in France and received his first university degree at the Institut de Chimie et Physique Industrielles (now CPE) in Lyon, France, before coming to the US for graduate studies in organic and polymer chemistry at the State University of New York, College of Forestry, and at Syracuse University. He joined the Chemistry Faculty at the University of Ottawa in Canada in 1973 and remained there until 1987 when he became IBM Professor of Polymer Chemistry at Cornell University. In 1995 he was named to the Peter J. Debye Chair of Chemistry at Cornell University. In 1997, J.M.J. Fréchet joined the Chemistry Faculty at the University of California, Berkeley and was named the Henry Rapoport Chair of Organic Chemistry in 2003 and Professor of Chemical Engineering in 2005.

His research at the interface of organic, biological and materials chemistry is directed towards functional polymers, their design, synthesis, and applications. His work includes both fundamental and mission-oriented studies with targets such as the control of macromolecular architecture, the establishment of structure-activity relationships, the design of macromolecules for catalysis, nanolithography, separation and microfluidic media, energy harvesting and conversion, and therapeutic applications.

At the University of Ottawa in 1973 he started a research program aimed at the development of functional polymers as reagents and supports for solid-phase syntheses. These synthetic approaches became widely used nearly two decades later with the advent of combinatorial chemistry.

In 1979, as a visiting scientist at IBM Research Laboratory, San Jose, J.M.J. Fréchet developed with C.G. Willson the chemical amplification method, which is now the dominant photoresist imaging technology used in the fabrication of microelectronic devices. This catalytic method enabled the faster production of much smaller electronic circuits than had been possible previously.

In the mid-80's, with his move to Cornell University, J.M.J. Fréchet continues to develop this concept, but also designed a "convergent" route that simplified the synthesis of dendrimers, architectures that belong to the newly discovered class of dendritic macromolecules. At that time his research includes both fundamental and mission-oriented studies with targets like the control of macromolecular architecture, the setting up of structure-activity relationships, the design of macromolecules for catalysis, energy harvesting and conversion, separation and microfluidic media.

At the end of the 90's, following his move to University of California @ Berkeley, J.M.J. Fréchet started investigating the use of such polymers in therapeutics. His approach to precise biocompatible dendritic carriers for the targeted delivery of anticancer drugs was successfully demonstrated with doxorubicin linked to a dendrimer: this "intelligent drug" has been licensed and is under consideration for commercial development. More recently, J.M.J. Fréchet began work on intracellular delivery of proteins, plasmid DNA, and oligonucleotides using endosomal nanoparticles, an approach that has shown great potential for application in vaccination or gene therapy.

J.M.J. Fréchet has made an enormous impact on organic chemistry, polymer chemistry, microelectronics and biomedical engineering. He has advanced polymer science on several fronts, introducing new concepts and methodologies, and running exemplarily research and development. He has co-authored more than 750 papers (inter alia statistics for journals IP>4), holds over 75 original patents. According to the Web of Science, J.M.J. Fréchet is ranked # 34 among the most cited chemists, with a total number of citations in Chemistry over 11000. His h-index is currently 64 (> 14000 citations). He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. He has received numerous honours (25), including several ACS Awards like the prestigious A.C. Cope Award.

It is beyond doubt that Jean M. J. Fréchet is a top candidate for election as a Foreign member.

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