Professor Chao-Jun Li

Chemistry Professor and E.B. Eddy Chair at McGill University

Chao-Jun Li


Dr. Chao-Jun Li received his Ph.D. at McGill University (1992) and spent 1992-94 as a NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University. He was an Assistant (1994), Associate (1998) and Full Professor (2000) at Tulane University.  Since 2003, he has been a Canada Research Chair in Green Chemistry and also holds an E. B. Eddy Chair Professor at McGill University, Canada.   Currently, he serves as the Co-Chair of the Canadian Green Chemistry and Engineering Network, the Director of NSERC CREATE (Center) for Green Chemistry, and the Co-Director of the FQRNT Center for Green Chemistry and Catalysis (Quebec).  He is the Associate Editor for Green Chemistry (RSC). Dr. Li received a number of prestigious awards/honors worldwide.  These include the US NSF’s CAREER Award (1997), a US Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award (2001), and the Canadian Green Chemistry and Engineering Award (2010).  Dr. Li was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK, 2007), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (Academy of Science) (2012), and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (2012).  He has published >300 peer-reviewed articles and has given >300 plenary/keynote/invited lectures.  His current research efforts are to develop Green Chemistry for organic synthesis based upon innovative and fundamentally new organic reactions that will defy conventional reactivities and possess high “atom-efficiency”.  Well-known research developed by Dr. Li include a wide range of Grignard-type reactions in water, alkyne-aldehyde-amine coupling (A3-coupling), and cross-dehydrogenative-coupling (CDC) reactions among others.

Exploration of New Reactivities towards Future Sustainability

The efficient making of new molecules is central to any new product in the pharmaceutical, materials science, microelectronics, and biotech industries.  On the other hand, chemical manufacturing and chemical products have also affected us adversely from personal, local, national, and international scales.  As a new philosophy over the last two decades, Green Chemistry through the 12 principles of green chemistry has emerged to develop the next generation of chemical science and technologies, as well as chemical products to meet such challenges in a proactive manner both environmentally and economically.  During the past two decades, atom-economy, react mass efficiency, and E-factor have allowed us to evaluate green chemical processes.  The use of greener solvents provides another important factor in designing greener processes.  In this talk, we will discuss potential development of this field from the PI’s perspective and present some research in the PI’s laboratory.


[1]. Li, C.-J.; Trost, B. M. Green Chemistry for Chemical Synthesis. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci (USA), 2008, 105, 13197.

[2]. Li, C.-J. "Quasi-Nature Catalysis: Developing C-C Bond Formations Catalyzed by Late-Transition Metals in Air and Water"  Acc. Chem. Res. 2002, 35, 533.

[3]. Li, C.-J. “The Development of Catalytic Nucleophilic Additions of Terminal Alkynes in Water” Acc. Chem. Res. 2010, 43, 581.

[4]. Li, C.-J. “Cross-Dehydrogenative-Coupling (CDC): Explore C-C Bond Formations beyond Functional Group Transformations” Acc. Chem. Res. 2009, 42, 335.

For more information: Li Faculty Profile

A Brief List of Professor Li's Awards and Distinctions

NSF CAREER Award, 1998-2002

Outstanding Young Oversea Scientist Award (NSFC), 2001

Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award (Academic), 2001

Japan Society for Promotion of Science (Senior) Fellow, 2002

Honorary Research Professor (Chemistry Institute, Chinese Academy of Science)

Canadian Green Chemistry and Engineering Award (individual), 2010

Award of Merit, Federation of the Chinese Canadian Professionals (Ont), 2011

Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada 2012

Fellow of The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 2012