Shu Kobayashi is currently Professor in the Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Tokyo. Professor Kobayashi received both his BS (1983) and PhD (1988) at the University of Tokyo working under the direction of Professor Teruaki Mukaiyama. He became an Assistant Professor at Science University of Tokyo (SUT) in 1987, and began his independent career in the department of Applied Chemistry, Faculty of Science, SUT in 1991 when he was promoted to Lecturer. In 1992, he became an Associate Professor at SUT, and in 1998 Dr. Kobayashi moved to his current position at the University of Tokyo.
Professor Kobayashi's research interests are extremely broad and include development of new synthetic methods, development of novel catalysts (especially chiral catalysts), organic synthesis in water, solid-phase organic synthesis, total synthesis of biologically interesting compounds, and organometallic chemistry.
Perhaps his best known work is the development of rare earth metal triflates as water-compatible Lewis acids. These Lewis acids have been employed in many synthetic reactions as catalysts. Professor Kobayashi has proposed the idea of "surfactant-type catalysts" such as "Lewis acid-surfactant-combined catalyst" to perform organic reactions in water efficiently. Professor Kobayashi has also developed many important carbon-carbon bond-forming reactions such as the aldol reaction, Michael reaction, Diels-Alder reaction, Friedel-Crafts acylation, etc. in both aqueous and organic solvents catalyzed by rare earth metal triflates. He has contributed to development of chiral tin catalysts for asymmetric aldol reactions, and chiral zirconium catalysts for asymmetric Mannich reactions, aza-Diels-Alder reactions, Strecker reactions, and allylation reactions, also in aqueous media.
Professor Kobayashi's contributions to chemistry have been recognized with many honors, including the Chemical Society of Japan Award for Young Chemists (1991), the first Springer Award in Organometallic Chemistry (1997), MIT/Wyeth-Ayerst Lectureship (2000), NPS Distinguished Lecturer (2001), IBM Science Award (2001), and Nagoya Silver Medal (2002), as well as many appointments as visiting professor and named lectureships.