Didier Bourissou - Biography#

Didier Bourissou received his PhD from Toulouse University and spent one year as research associate at the Ecole Polytechnique. Appointed as a Chargé de Recherche CNRS in 1998, he was promoted Directeur de Recherche in 2006. From 2006 to 2018, he has been Associate Professor at the Ecole Polytechnique. He has been Director of the Laboratoire Hétérochimie Fondamentale et Appliquée from 2011 to 2020.

His research interests concern new bonding situations and reactivity patterns arising from the main group elements, the transition metals and their interplay. The gained fundamental knowledge (the HOW and WHY?) is leveraged to develop new catalytic transformations (the WHAT FOR?)

In 2006, DB pioneered ambiphilic ligands and since then, he has extensively developed the concept of sigma-acceptor ligands. These Z-type ligands were considered very peculiar. The existence of TM->borane interactions was even questioned.

His group isolated many complexes with TM->LA interactions, providing a detailed picture of their nature, strength and geometric/electronic influence-

The presence of a Lewis acid ligand paves the way for cooperative catalysis with an electron flow opposite to that usually met.

Since 2014, DB has considerably advanced our knowledge of gold complexes:
  • Thanks to rational ligand design, his group has shown that gold is able to behave as a true transition metal. In particular, it can readily undergo oxidative addition-
  • This elementary step has been implemented in Au(I)/Au(III) catalytic transformations, opening new avenues in Au catalysis-
  • New bonding modes have been authenticated, including long thought-after agostic and H-bonded complexes

Another more applied research line deals with biodegradable (co)polymers:
  • Major contribution to the development of ROP organo-catalysis, evidencing in particular the efficiency of simple Brönsted acids and their bifunctional mode of action
  • Introduction of O-carboxyanhydrides as activated monomers
  • First application of Lewis pair polymerization to lactones, giving cyclic polyesters

Research networks, collaborations within Europe, supervision/training:
  • Working Group leader & member of the Scientific board of the International Research Network between France & Spain on Hetero-elements & Coordination Chemistry (HC3A)-
  • Bilateral programs: IEA-CNRS (A. Casini, Munich), PHC Aurora (M. Tilset, Oslo), PHC Van Gogh (C. Slootweg, Amsterdam)-
  • Other research collaborations: G. Erker, W. Uhl (Germany), P. Dyer, C. Russell (UK), X. Ribas, F. Cossio, H. Sardon (Spain)-
  • Hosting & training 12 European post-docs (4 Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowships, 1 from the Fonds National de la Recherche Suisse, 1 from the Research Council of Norway)
  • Hosting & training 9 master/PhD students from European Universities/research centers

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