Steve Ley is currently the BP (1702) Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, and Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, England. He studied for his PhD at Loughborough University working with Harry Heaney and then carried out post doctoral work in the USA with Leo Paquette at Ohio State University. In 1974 he returned to the UK to continue post doctoral studies with Sir Derek Barton at Imperial College. He was appointed to the staff at Imperial College in 1975, in 1990 he was elected to the Royal Society (London), and in 1992 he moved to Cambridge.
Steve Ley's work involves the discovery and development of new synthetic methods and their application to biologically active systems. The group has published extensively on the use of iron carbonyl complexes, organoselenium chemistry, and biotransformations for the synthesis of natural products. So far over 35 major natural products have been synthesized, and the group is also developing new methods and strategies for oligosaccharide assembly and combinatorial chemistry.
Professor Ley's work has been recognized by many awards which include the Hickinbottom Research Fellowship, the Corday Morgan Medal and Prize in 1982, the Pfizer Academic Award, the Royal Society of Chemistry Synthesis Award for 1989, the Tilden Lectureship and Medal, the Pedler Medal and Prize, the Simonsen Lectureship and Medal, and the Aldolf Windaus Medal of the German Chemical Society and Gngen University. In 1994 he received the Royal Society of Chemistry Natural Products Award, the Paul Janssen Prize for Creativity in Organic Synthesis in 1996, the RhPoulenc Lectureship and Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 1998, and the Glaxo-Wellcome Award for Outstanding Achievement in Organic Chemistry. Recently he was awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry Haworth Memorial Lectureship, Medal and Prize, and The Royal Society Davy Medal. He is presently the Chairman of the Novartis Foundation Executive Committee and is the President of the Royal Society of Chemistry.