Raymond Baker is a chemist renowned for his wide-ranging studies on the chemistry, structure and synthesis of biologically active substances. His work on the pheromones of insects uncovered several novel structures and included the discovery of the pheromone for the olive fruit fly. His synthetic work included new methods for the preparation of spiroacetals, which led to controlled syntheses of key members of the avermectin and milbemycin families.
He later concentrated on the production of substances that have uses in the field of medicine. This included work on the synthesis of muscarinic agonists as a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. He also produced many inositol polyphosphates as single enantiomers — useful for studies of cellular transduction — as well as antagonists of excitatory amino acids with the potential for the treatment of stroke.
Raymond is the co-author of the textbook Mechanism in Organic Chemistry (1971). From 1996–2002, he was Chief Executive of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. He was made a CBE for his services to science in 2002.
Executive Director Medicinal Chemistry, Merck & Co, Inc Professor of Chemistry, University of Southampton Chief Executive, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)