Thomas George Back


Department of Chemistry


McGill University, 1974


McGill University, 1971

BSc (Hons)

McGill University, 1968

Contact information


Office: 403.220.6256

Web presence



Office : SB217


  • CHEM 453 - Advanced Organic Chemistry
  • CHEM 655 - Advanced Organic Synthesis

Research and teaching

Research interests

Dr. Back's research is in the general area of synthetic organic chemistry. Principal subjects of interest are:

  • The synthesis of biologically interesting target molecules, including steroidal enzyme inhibitors, azasteroids with anticancer activity, antibiotics such as the antiviral agent virantmycin and the antifungal agent Antibiotic A25822B, dendrobatid alkaloids, brassinolide and related plant growth-promoters and insect anti-feedants related to bakkenolide A. The design of novel analogues with custom-tailored properties by means of molecular modeling is also carried out in conjunction with synthetic studies.
  • The development of new synthetic methodology based on reactions of organosulfur and selenium compounds, including coupling reactions of unsaturated sulfones, reductive desulfurizations with metal borides, free-radical reactions of selenium compounds and methods for enantioselective synthesis based on chirality transfer from sulfur and selenium to carbon.

Teaching interests

Dr. Back's teaching interests include all facets of organic chemistry, from introductory to graduate level courses, with an emphasis in organic synthesis.