Elias James Corey – developer of retrosynthetic analysis

Elias James Corey – developer of retrosynthetic analysis

Category : Personalities
Published by : Data Research Analyst, Worldofchemicals.com

Biography & contributions

Elias James Corey, and American chemist and Nobel laureate is born on July 12, 1928. Elias developed a process in organic chemistry called retrosynthetic analysis, a process that simplifies the production of many complex compounds. His work i.e, retrosynthetic analysis has enabled manufacturers to make many drugs commercially available.

Elias got numerous awards and medals which include Linus Pauling Award in the year of 1973, Franklin Medal in the year of 1978, Wolf Prize in Chemistry in the year of 1986, National Medal of Science in the year of 1988, Japan Prize in the year of 1989, Nobel Prize in Chemistry in the year of 1990, Roger Adams Award in the year of 1993, Priestley Medal in the year of 2004.

Corey established a research group to pursue a wide range of experimental projects involving the structure, stereochemistry, and synthesis of complex naturally occurring organic compounds.

Corey developed the concept of retrosynthetic analysis, and with retrosynthetic analysis, a scientist can determine how a target molecule might be broken down into simpler, readily available compounds. Through this retrosynthetic analysis, which breaks down molecules in stages, making sure that at all times the parts can be reassembled is valuable because it helps chemists make complex compounds such as drugs.

Corey’s research group achieved successful syntheses of more than 100 natural products of widely differing and complex structural types. In the late 1960s, he synthesized a series of biochemically important molecules, the prostaglandins, and in the 1970s he followed with the leukotrienes, a group of biologically active fatty acids. Another remarkable achievement was the synthesis in 1988 of ginkgolide B and another important reagent which he developed is Corey-Suggs reagent or pyridinium chlorochromate.

Facts about prostaglandins

Prostaglandins are like hormones in that they act as chemical messengers, but do not move to other sites, but work right within the cells where they are synthesized. Prostaglandins are unsaturated carboxylic acids, consisting of a 20 carbon skeleton that also contains a five member ring.

Prostaglandins needed for human body for following reasons

To activate the inflammatory response, production of pain, and fever

To stimulate constriction and clotting of platelets

To increase blood flow in kidneys and leukotriens promote constriction of bronchi associated with asthma.

Facts about ginkgolide B


Ginkgolide B is extracted from Ginkgo biloba leaves, is the most potent member of the ginkgolide family of PAF-R (platelet-activating factor receptor) antagonists. Mechanistic studies suggest that Ginkgolide B speeds up PAF hydrolysis by promoting PAF-AH I α2 homodimer activity. Additionally, this compound has been reported to inhibit neutrophil degranulation in vitro.

Ginkgolide B structure is having following functional groups and ring structures

  • Central spiro[4,4]nonane (rings A & B)
  • 3 lactone rings (rings C, D, and F)
  • 1 tetrahydrofuran ring (E)
  • 6 / 5-membered rings
  • 11 stereogenic centers (4 tetra-substituted)
  • tert-Butyl group

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