The Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois
Carl Shipp Marvel Lecturer 2009-10 - Jean M. J. Frechet
Jean Fréchet was born in France and received his first university degree at the Institut de Chimie et Physique Industrielles in Lyon (France), before moving to the US to earn Ph.D. degrees in organic chemistry from the State University of New York, College of Forestry, and from Syracuse University. After joining the University of Ottawa in Canada, he switched field from carbohydrate chemistry to work in the emerging area of polymer-supported reactions. In 1979 he joined IBM San Jose as a visiting scientist and co-invented the concept of chemical amplification for microlithography with C. Grant Willson. In 1987, with support from the IBM Corporation, he moved to Cornell University as the IBM Professor of Polymer Chemistry, then the Peter J. Debye Chair of Chemistry. At Cornell he started work on dendrimer chemistry and also co-developed with Frantisek Svec the new concept of monolithic polymeric separation media. In 1997, Jean Fréchet joined the Chemistry Faculty at the University of California, Berkeley where he holds the Henry Rapoport Chair of Organic Chemistry and is also Professor of Chemical Engineering and a Scientific Director of the Molecular Foundry, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Today, Fréchet’s research is at the interface of organic, biological, and polymer chemistry focusing on functional macromolecules, their design, synthesis, and applications. A variety of topics ranging from the design of materials for energy harvesting and conversion to polymers for targeted drug delivery and immunotherapy are being explored. A member of the US National Academy of Science and the US National Academy of Engineering, he has authored about 800 scientific papers and holds over 70 United States patents as well as numerous foreign patents. In recent years Fréchet has been instrumental in starting several small companies in the materials and health areas and has also been active as a Venture Partner in several venture capital funds.