Yoshito Kishi

Yoshito Kishi

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Yoshito Kishi is the Morris Loeb Professor of Chemistry at Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

. He is known for his contributions to the sciences of organic synthesis
Organic synthesis
Organic synthesis is a special branch of chemical synthesis and is concerned with the construction of organic compounds via organic reactions. Organic molecules can often contain a higher level of complexity compared to purely inorganic compounds, so the synthesis of organic compounds has...

 and total synthesis
Total synthesis
In organic chemistry, a total synthesis is, in principle, the complete chemical synthesis of complex organic molecules from simpler pieces, usually without the aid of biological processes. In practice, these simpler pieces are commercially available in bulk and semi-bulk quantities, and are often...


Kishi was born in Nagoya, Japan and attended Nagoya University
Nagoya University
Nagoya University is one of the most prestigious universities in Japan. It can be seen in the several rankings such as shown below.-General Rankings:...

 where he obtained both his BS and PhD degrees. He was a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard University where he worked with Robert Burns Woodward
Robert Burns Woodward
Robert Burns Woodward was an American organic chemist, considered by many to be the preeminent organic chemist of the twentieth century...

. From 1966 through 1974 he was a professor of chemistry at Nagoya University. Since 1974, Kishi has been a professor of chemistry at Harvard University.

Kishi's research has focused on the total synthesis of complex natural products. The accomplishments of his research group include the syntheses of palytoxin
Palytoxin is a very dangerous toxin; it is considered to be one of the most toxic non-peptide substances known, second only to maitotoxin in terms of toxicity in mice...

, mycolactone
Mycolactone is a polyketide-derived macrolide produced and secreted by a group of very closely related pathogenic mycobacteria that have been assigned a variety of species names including, M. ulcerans, M. liflandii , M. pseudoshottsii, and some strains of M. marinum...

s, halichondrins, saxitoxin
Saxitoxin is a neurotoxin naturally produced by certain species of marine dinoflagellates and cyanobacteria Saxitoxin (STX) is a neurotoxin naturally produced by certain species of marine dinoflagellates (Alexandrium sp., Gymnodinium sp., Pyrodinium sp.) and cyanobacteria Saxitoxin (STX) is a...

, tetrodotoxin
Tetrodotoxin, also known as "tetrodox" and frequently abbreviated as TTX, sometimes colloquially referred to as "zombie powder" by those who practice Vodou, is a potent neurotoxin with no known antidote. There have been successful tests of a possible antidote in mice, but further tests must be...

, ansamycin
Ansamycins is a family of secondary metabolites that show antimicrobial activity against many gram-positive and some gram-negative bacteria and includes various compounds, among which: streptovaricins and rifamycins...

s and many others. Kishi has also contributed to the developed new chemical reactions including the Nozaki–Hiyama–Kishi reaction.