Varinder Aggarwal is a renowned organic chemist who has developed new chemical methods to assemble complex, biologically important molecules. His research includes new ways of speeding up, or catalysing chemical reactions, developing new classes of reagents for iterative synthesis, and applications of these methods in medicine, such as helping to provide more effective routes to potential vaccines against tuberculosis.
Although many organic molecules occur in ‘right-handed’ and ‘left-handed’ forms, invariably just one of these is seen in living organisms. Normally, however, chemical reactions make both forms in equal amounts. Varinder’s work on asymmetric synthesis allows him to make one form selectively which has important applications in drug design and synthesis.
Varinder is a particular expert in boron chemistry, an area that was recognised through awarding the 1979 and 2010 Nobel Prizes in Chemistry. Varinder is the winner of many awards, including the RSC Perkin Medal and the RS Davy Medal He was elected to the Royal Society in 2012.