Pioneered the synthesis of organic molecules
Deslongchamps received his BSc in Chemistry from the University of Montreal in 1959. After completing his doctoral studies at the University of New Brunswick (1964), he worked at Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts in the laboratories of Nobel prize-winner R. B. Woodward, who was trying to synthesize Vitamin B-12. After Deslongchamps moved to the University of Sherbrooke, he pioneered advances in the fabrication of complex organic chemicals, a key contribution to many areas of science, as well as to the search for more effective drugs. At the age of 26 he synthesized ryanodol, a very complex molecule. He also synthesized the twistane molecule and accomplished the total synthesis of agarofuran, hinesol and occidentalol, all during a four year period. More recently, Deslongchamps has found a fast and elegant method of producing the antibiotic erythromycin A, which he hopes will assist the pharmaceutical industry in constructing new molecules. His discovery of the role of stereoelectronic effects in controlling certain organic reactions has become a fundamental concept of organic chemistry, actually changing the way scientists look at molecules. He has won many awards, including a Steacie Fellowship, the Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering (NSERC) and the Prix Marie-Victorin.
Sources: Robert M. Cory, personal communication; Contact (NSERC newsletter), Spring, 1993; Canadian Who’s Who 1993; Canadian Encyclopedia, 2000 ed.
Portrait Source: Government of Quebec website
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