Eric Jacobsen was born on February 22, 1960 in Manhattan. He was raised in New York City, and he obtained his BS degree from NYU in 1982. As an undergraduate, he carried out research in the laboratories of Prof. Yorke Rhodes. His PhD work was done at Berkeley in the field of organometallic chemistry under the direction of Bob Bergman. In 1986, he returned to the East Coast for an NIH postdoctoral fellowship at MIT with Barry Sharpless. In 1988, he began his independent career at the University of Illinois, where he was promoted to associate professor in 1991. He moved to Harvard University as full professor in the summer of 1993, and he was named the Sheldon Emery Professor of Organic Chemistry in 2001. He currently directs a research group of 20 graduate students and postdocs at Harvard. He is a member of the BOD and SAB of Rhodia ChiRex, and he is also a consultant at Merck, Sepracor, and Versicor.
Eric Jacobsen's research interests lie in the discovery, mechanistic elucidation, and application of new reactions of practical value, with special emphasis on asymmetric catalytic processes. The awards he has received include the NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award (1990), the Packard Fellowship (1991), the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (1992), the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship (1992), the Cope Scholar Award (1993), the Fluka "Reagent of the Year" Prize (1994), the Thieme-IUPAC Prize in Synthetic Organic Chemistry (1996), the Baekeland Medal (1999), and the ACS Award for Creativity in Synthetic Organic Chemistry (2001).