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  • Section des Units de recherche

    Report from the visiting committee Research unit: Synthse Organique et Modlisation par Apprentissage - UMR 7084 Ecole Suprieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles

    February 2008

  • Section des Units de recherche

    Report from the visiting committee Research unit: Synthse Organique et Modlisation par Apprentissage - UMR 7084 Ecole Suprieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles

    february 2008

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    Report from the visiting committee

    The research unit :

    Name of the research unit : Synthse Organique et Modlisation par Apprentissage

    Requested label : UMR

    N in case of renewal : 7084

    Head of the research unit : Pr. Janine COSSY

    University or school :


    Other institutions and research organization:



    Date(s) of the visit :

    From January 28th to 30th of 2008

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    Members of the visiting committee

    Chairman of the commitee : Pr. Antonio TOGNI, Laboratorium fr Anorganische Chemie ETH Zrich

    Other committee members Dr. Carmen NAJERA, University of Alicante - Espagne

    Pr. Reinhard BRUCKNER, Institut fr organische Chemie und Biochemie - Freiburg

    Pr. Yannick LANDAIS, Universit des Sciences et Technologies Bordeaux

    Pr. Andr B. CHARRETTE, Dpartement de chimie - Universit de Montral

    Pr. Manuel SAMUELIDES, Institut de Mathmatiques de Toulouse

    CNU, CoNRS, reprsentant : Pr. Philippe KALCK (member of CNU), Ecole Nationale Suprieure des Ingnieurs en Arts Chimiques et Technologiques Toulouse

    Pr. Florence DJEDAINI-PILARD (member of the comit national du CNRS), Universit de Picardie Jules Verne - Amiens


    AERES scientific representative: Mr Rgis REAU

    University or school representative: M. PROST, Director of ENSPCI

    D. THOULOUZE, CNAM representative

    Research organization representative (s) : M-C. LASNE, DSA CNRS

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    Report from the visiting committee

    1 Short presentation of the research unit Numbers of lab members including researchers with teaching duties, full time researchers, ingeneers, PhD,

    students, technicians and administrative assistants : 48 (3 PREX, 1 PR1, 1 PR2, 9 MCF, 1 DR2, 2 CR1, 1 CR2, 24 PhD, 3 ingeneers, and 6 technicians and administrative assistants)

    Numbers of HDR and of HDR who are PhD students avisors : 9 / 7

    Numbers of PhD students who have obtained their PhD and average lenght of a PhD during the past 4 years : 18

    Numbers of PhD students currently present in the research unit : 24 ; Numbers of PhD students with fellowships : 24

    Numbers of lab members who have been granted a PEDR : 2

    Numbers of publishing lab members : 17 / 18 researchers

    2 Preparation and execution of the visit The visit took place on January 28-30, 2008. Prior to the visit, a detailed program has been set up by the

    chairman of the committee in tight collaboration with the representative of the AERES and the directors of the to date existing five UMRs (7611+7071, 7084, 7573 and 7576) constituting the Institut de Chimie Molculaire de Paris-Centre, Organique, Inorganique et Biologique (FR 2769). The program has been sent to the involved parties in the second half of December 2007. Little adjustments had to be made during the following weeks in order to accommodate specific needs. The directors of the single UMRs have provided the committees members with detailed reports concerning the activities of their respective UMR's during the past four years. Such reports have been available, on paper and/or in electronic form, either just before the end of 2007 or by the beginning of January 2008. These reports, while containing the essential scientific information needed for the evaluation, have not been specifically conceived for the evaluation.

    The committee spent three days in Paris visiting the UMR's mentioned above. On the second day, the visit to UMR-7084 started at 9h00 with a short discussion with the Director of ESPCI and was followed by a presentation of the whole UMR by the Director of the UMR. This was then followed by the presentation of the activities of the three teams forming the UMR, given by their respective leaders. This completed the morning, which was followed by a lunch with the team leaders. The beginning of the afternoon was devoted to the detailed presentation of the research activities through posters and discussions with PhD students, the staff of permanent researchers(chargs and directeurs de recherche, matres de conferences and professeurs). In the end, a discussion with the "conseil de laboratoire" took place about the management of the laboratory. The visit ended at 18h00.

    3 Overall appreciation of the activity of the research unit, of its links with local, national and international partners

    The research teams belonging to UMR-7084 have very different topics of interest but share a common long-term focus, i.e. health care. This includes the synthesis of biologically relevant compounds, the preparation of Gd complexing agents for MRI and modelling of the biological activity using machine learning.

    The productivity of the UMR in terms of publication and patents is overall satisfying and for one team excellent. The unit has been involved in the training of 20 PhD, master and "ESPCI ingenieur" (18 per year) students. Members of the organic chemistry team are also involved in the training of technicians in industry (Sanofi-Aventis and others) through CDP-innovation, a start-up involved in consulting, training and synthesis.

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    Locally, UMR-7084 is part of the Federation Chimie Molculaire de Paris-Centre, Organique, Inorganique et Biologie" and consequently its members take part to all scientific meeting organized by the federation. All members of the organic chemistry team are members of the French chemical society and have played an important role recently in the organisation of events on behalf of this society (vide infra). The UMR also presents a large number of collaboration with foreign partners through European networks such as COST. It also has a large numbers of contractual collaborations with industry.

    The senior researchers of the UMR have accepted responsibilities, as members of various boards and committees, and amongst them, associate editor of Organic Letters, member of different editorial boards of organic chemistry journals, associate editor of journals such as Neural Computation and Theoretical Computer Science and editor for Europe of Neurocomputing. The team leaders hold various elected positions. The team leader of the Laboratoire of Chimie Organique was elected at the IUPAC committee and the presidency of the Organic chemistry division of the French Chemical Society. The leader of the electronic laboratory also occupied the presidency of the "chapitre France de la Computational Intelligence Society of the IEEE". One can also notice the organisation of various European meetings through COST networks and workshop for signal processing as well as the organisation of the "Journes de chimie organique" (2004), the most important organic chemistry meeting in France (every three years).

    4 Specific appreciation team by team and/or project by project 1) Team: " Laboratoire de Chimie Organique de l'ESPCI"

    This team is the largest in the UMR, composed by one professor, one CNRS research director, two "charg de recherch (CNRS), four "Matre de conferences".

    The productivity of the team is excellent with 103 published articles in main journals in the field, having reasonable impact factors and several key papers in high rated journals. To this, 9 chapters and the direction of 6 book editions should be added. 125 invited lectures and seminars at universities were presented, mainly by the team leader and one "charg de recherche".

    The research of this team focuses on the development of new methodologies in organic synthesis and their application to total synthesis of biologically relevant targets. The structure of complex natural products is the source of inspiration which leads to the identification of new building blocks that need to be prepared in a straightforward manner. The methodologies are then devised accordingly. These methodologies are based on the use of known organometallic reagents (Ru, Pd, Au and Ti) in novel methodologies with the aim of elaborating, based on atom economical concepts, useful building blocks for organic synthesis. These methods includes metathesis (RCM, CM, allyltitanation, Pd-catalyzed arylation, Au-mediated cycloisomerization, etc.), the use of rearrangements to elaborate new intermediates, enantioselective processes (e.g. alkylation, Michael reaction), and one-pot processes that meet the requirements of both atom- and step-economy. Amongst the main breakthroughs, one may note the development of a diastereoselective Au-catalyzed cycloisomerization of ene-ynamides.

    There are also a large number of contracts with industry (Rhodia, Sanofi-Aventis and others). This provides a good balance between fundamental and applied research. In this context, a start-up project is planned during the next four years (ACANTHE-BIOTECH). The creation of a start-up (CDP-innovation) involved in training courses for industry by the group leader is noteworthy. Courses are given in part by members of the team.

    Projects for the future involve the total synthesis of a series of complex natural products having biological activities, e.g. as antitumor agents, using known reactions and methodologies. In parallel, development of "green" methodologies including enzymatic reactions, organocatalysis and organometallic processes is envisioned. Of particular interest is the joint project betwe