Stefan A. Bienz studied chemistry at the University of Zurich. For his Diploma (received in 1983) and his Ph.D. (received in 1987) he investigated under the guidance of Manfred Hesse some ring enlargement reactions and prepared a number of macrocyclic natural products. He joined for postdoctoral studies the group of Albert I. Meyers at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, U. S. A., (1988-1989) and, in 1990, returned to the University of Zurich to start his independent research. In 1995, he became Privatdozent and in 2002 Titular Professor.
Research in this area focuses mainly on the design, the development and the applications to organic synthesis of different chiral silyl moieties.
Silyl groups are well established protective groups in organic chemistry, particularly for alcohols but also for carboxylic acids and amines. The silyl derivatives are easily prepared and cleaved, and their reactivities can usually be readily controlled with the appropriate choice of the groups attached to silicon.
A general principle for the synthesis of optically active compounds is the controlled chirality transfer from a single or several stereogenic entities to a newly formed stereogenic unit. Due to its close relationship to carbon, silicon should be well suited to act as a carrier of chiral information in a lot of synthetic transformations. So far, we have shown that both silicon-based chiral auxiliaries with silicon-centered chirality and with silicon-centered chirality (e.g. 1 resp. 2) can be prepared with high enantiomeric purity and used efficiently for diastereoselective transformations.