Myles Smith is a synthetic organic chemist and native of Cape Town, South Africa. He obtained his BSc (Hons) degree at the University of Cape Town in 2006, and subsequently undertook graduate studies at Columbia University under the direction of Scott Snyder, obtaining his PhD in 2015. Following postdoctoral work at The Scripps Research Institute and Stanford University with Phil Baran and Noah Burns, respectively, he began his independent career at UT Southwestern in 2019.

Dr. Smith’s laboratory focuses on the synthesis of complex, bioactive natural products, as well as the development of enabling tools in asymmetric catalysis. Core goals include using chemical synthesis to optimize these natural compounds for medical applications, exploring their mechanism of action, and developing catalyst platforms to provide chiral small molecules of medicinal value.

Research Interest

  • Development of new catalytic asymmetric methods.
  • Synthesis and biology of complex, bioactive natural products.


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Synthesis of (+)-Tacamonine via Stereoselective Radical Cyclization.
Smith MW, Ferreira J, Hunter R, Venter GA, Su H, Org. Lett. 2019 Oct
A convenient C-H functionalization platform for pyrroloiminoquinone alkaloid synthesis.
Smith, M. W.; Falck, I. D.; Ikemoto, H.; Burns, N. Z. Tetrahedron 2019 75 3366?3370
A 7-Step Formal Asymmetric Total Synthesis of Strictamine via an Asymmetric Propargylation and Metal-Mediated Cyclization.
Smith MW, Zhou Z, Gao AX, Shimbayashi T, Snyder SA, Org. Lett. 2017 03 19 5 1004-1007
Fe-Catalyzed C-C Bond Construction from Olefins via Radicals.
Lo JC, Kim D, Pan CM, Edwards JT, Yabe Y, Gui J, Qin T, GutiƩrrez S, Giacoboni J, Smith MW, Holland PL, Baran PS, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017 02 139 6 2484-2503
Chemical Synthesis and Self-Assembly of a Ladderane Phospholipid.
Mercer JA, Cohen CM, Shuken SR, Wagner AM, Smith MW, Moss FR, Smith MD, Vahala R, Gonzalez-Martinez A, Boxer SG, Burns NZ, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016 12 138 49 15845-15848
Pyrone Diels-Alder Routes to Indolines and Hydroindolines: Syntheses of Gracilamine, Mesembrine, and ?(7) -Mesembrenone.
Gan P, Smith MW, Braffman NR, Snyder SA, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 2016 Mar 55 11 3625-30
As simple as [2+2]
Smith, M. W.; Baran, P. S. Science 2015 349 925-926
A concise total synthesis of (+)-scholarisine A empowered by a unique C-H arylation.
Smith MW, Snyder SA, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013 Sep 135 35 12964-7
A new approach to indolo[2,3-a]quinolizidines through radical cyclization of 2-acyl-1-phenylthiotetrahydro-?-carbolines bearing pendent a,?-unsaturated esters.
Smith, M. W.; Hunter, R.; Patten, D. J.; Hinz, W. Tetrahedron Lett. 2009 50 6342?6346

Honors & Awards

  • Fourman Fellowship
  • Van Staveren Scholarship
  • NRF Scarce Skills Honours Scholarship
  • Faculty Scholarship
  • Merck Prize
  • Cameron Entrance Scholarship
  • James O. Brunt Entrance Scholarship
  • UCT Entrance Scholarship

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • American Chemical Society (2014)