C.J. Li

C.J. LiProfessor (E.B. Eddy Chair)
Canada Research Chair (Tier I) in Green/Organic Chemistry

Co-Director, FQRNT Centre for Green Chemistry and Catalysis
Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (Academy of Science)
Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS)
Fellow of the American Chemical Society (ACS)
Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK)
Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada (CIC)
Fellow of the World Academy of Sciences (TWAS)
Fellow of the European Academy of Sciences
B. Sc. (Zhengzhou University, 1983)
M.S. (Chinese Academy of Sciences, 1988)
Ph. D. (McGill University, 1992)
NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow (Stanford University, 1992-94)
Visiting Faculty, UC Berkeley (2002)
Professor (Assistant, Associate, Full) (Tulane University, 1994-2003)


(US) NSF CAREER Award, 1998-2002

Outstanding Young Oversea Scientist Award (NSFC), 2001

(US) Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award (Academic), 2001

Japan Society for Promotion of Science (Senior) Fellow, 2002

Honorary Research Professor (Chemistry Institute, Chinese Academy of Science)

Honorary Professor, University of Nottingham, UK

Canadian Green Chemistry and Engineering Award (individual), 2010

Award of Merit, Federation of the Chinese Canadian Professionals (ont), 2011

R. U. Lemieux Award  (CSC), 2015

Alfred Bader Award (CSC), 2018

Killam Fellow of the Canadian Council of Arts (2018)

Catalysis Award (CIC, 2020)

Humboldt Research Award (2021)

CIC Medal (2022)

Contact Information

Office: OM 436A
Phone: (514)398-8457
Email: CJ.Li [at] McGill.CA
Lab: OM 440
Lab Phone: (514)398-6224
Web Page: Li Group Website

Research Themes


Research Description

  1. Green Chemistry
  • Green solvents: our lab is one of the pioneers in the use of water for organic reactions.
  • Green synthesis: our lab has developed a broad range of new reactions for Green Chemistry towards organic synthesis that greatly shorten synthetic steps, which include: 1) Grignard-type reactions in water, 2) Aldehyde-Alkyne-Amine coupling (A3-reaction), 3) Cross-Dehydrogenative-Couplings (CDC reaction), and 4) Hydrazone as Organometallic Reagent Equivalent (HOME).
  • Catalytic conversion of small molecules (methane, CO2, and N2) into high valued products.
  • Catalytic conversion of biomass (lignin and sugar) into high valued products.


  1. Photochemistry
  • Self-assembling induced light emissions: we developed fluorescence sensors for various metals ions (K+, Na+, Li+, Cs+, Hg+2, Ln+3, Pb+2) via Self-Assembling induced Fluorescence Enhancement (SAFE) in solution.
  • Light-enabled late-stage functionalization of complex molecules via C-H bond: amino acids, peptides, and pharmaceutical agents.
  • New photo-catalysts development: we have patented several classes of novel photo-catalysts (late-stage functionalization tool-kit, tunable photo-redox catalyst, universal two-in-one photo-catalyst for transition metals etc).

Green synthesis, Light-harvesting, energy storage, biomass conversions, CO2 conversions.

Our lab is focusing on exploring new fundamental reactions that can drastically shorten synthetic steps, more directly transform renewable biomass and abundant feedstocks (CO2 and methane) into high valued products, and harvest solar light by chemical means and utilize photo-energy as energy input for chemical conversion.

Currently Teaching

CHEM 462 Green Chemistry 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

CHEM 512 Catalysis, Concepts and App 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

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