Kwong Fuk Yee

  • Senior Research Fellowship in 2013 at Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  • Fellowship in 2000 at Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Professor Kwong Fuk Yee is Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Prof Kwong has made notable achievements in the field of organic catalysts for constructing bonds in aromatic compounds.

Catalysts are reagent that speed up the rate of chemical reaction, or allow the occurrence of reactions that would not otherwise proceed spontaneously at the desired temperature. They are essential in the manufacturing of complex molecules for pharmaceutical drugs or in the agrochemical industry, where the ability to manipulate chemical compounds to ‘build’ a desired molecule is important. It is also therefore desirable that the catalysts are themselves easily produced from readily commercially available components.

Prof Kwong works on catalysts for cross-coupling reactions, which includes the formation of aromatic bonds between carbon atoms (C-C) and other common atoms (C-X) such as nitrogen and oxygen. Prof Kwong has expanded the methodologies for catalyst design, and in the process built a library of such catalysts, thus providing a resource which can be used by the wider academic community and industry. In particular, Prof Kwong’s work on phosphines has reported high efficiency rates for catalysis. His work on rhodium catalysts has also achieved excellent selectivity.

During the period of his Croucher Senior Research Fellowship, Prof Kwong aims to develop a modular approach to the synthesis of phosphine ligands with a focus on inexpensive compounds such as indoles and bromophenols. Having shown vinyl acetate to be a promising electrophile with strong commercial applications, his work also aims to vary the electrophiles and nucleophiles used in cross coupling reactions.

Prof Kwong completed his PhD in Chemistry at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and worked at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as a Croucher Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow. He returned to Hong Kong as a Research Associate and Group Manager at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and was appointed as a Lecturer in 2004 and assumed his current position as Associate Professor in 2010.