Paul Anastas

Director, Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering
Member of Yale faculty since 2007


The objective of our research is to achieve increased understanding of the molecular basis of sustainability. Through an elucidation of the properties and interactions that lead to adverse consequence in the human body or in the biosphere, whether toxicological or physical, we can begin to address some of the concerns associated with chemicals in society. The design framework of the Principles of Green Chemistry seeks to optimize synthetic pathways and product design around minimum toxicity and material/energy inefficiency.

One of the specific focus areas of research interest is pursuing the generation of heuristic design rules for the construction of molecular structures of reduced hazard. By understanding the detailed mechanism of action of toxicity, it is possible to manipulate the properties regulating pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics in ways that reduce or eliminate the target biological endpoint. This framework is being applied to targets of high concern such as endocrine disruptors, persistent and bioaccumulating substances, and engineered nanostructures.

In process design of green chemistry systems, we seek to explore new chemical systems that accomplish efficient transformations and separations through the use of integrated synthetic and molecular engineering techniques.


B.S. University of Massachusetts, 1984
Ph.D. Brandeis University, 1989


Sustained Superior Performance Award, 1990
EPA Assistant Administrator’s Awards, 1991
Presidential Point of Light Award, 1991
Sustained Superior Performance Award, 1991
EPA Bronze Medal for Outstanding Service, 1993
Two EPA Bronze Medals for Outstanding Service, 1994
EPA Bronze Medal for Outstanding Service, 1995
First Annual Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics Award for Outstanding Branch Chief, 1995
EPA Silver Medal - Design and Development EPA’s Green Chemistry Program, 1997
Vice-President’s Hammer Award – Green Chemistry Program, 1998
EPA Bronze Medal - Development of Green Chemistry Expert System, 1999
Nolan and Gloria Sommer Award - Distinguished Contributions to Chemistry, 1999
Joseph Seifter Award for Scientific Excellence in Risk Assessment, 1999
Vice President’s Hammer Award: Acute Exposure Guideline Levels Program, 2000 
Honorary Professor, Queens University, Belfast, N. Ireland, 2001
Greek Chemical Society Award for Contributions to Chemistry, 2002
Erskine Scholar, University of Canterbury, New Zealand, 2002
Special Professor, Universitat of Vic, Barcelona, Spain, 2002
Inaugural Canadian Green Chemistry Medal, Montreal, Canada, 2004
“Scientific American 50” Award in Science and Technology, 2005
The Heinz Award, Environment, 2006
Bayer Distinguished Lectureship, 2007
Honorary Doctorate of Science in Chemistry, Queens University, Belfast, Ireland, 2007
John Jeyes Lectureship, UK Royal Society of Chemistry, 2007
Council of Scientific Society Presidents, 2008 Leadership in Science Award, 2008
Named to the “Nifty 50” Top Scientists by the U.S. Science and Engineering Festival, 2010
5th Annual Borlaug Lecturer, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, 2010
Oppenheim Lecture, University of California at Los Angeles, 2011
Weber Distinguished Lecture in Energy and Environmental Sustainability, U. Michigan, 2011
Rachael Carson Award, Natural Products Association, 2011
Wöhler Prize, Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker (GDCh), 2012
Edward O. Wilson Biodiversity Technology Pioneer Prize, ACM, 2012

Recent Publications

K. Barta, G. Warner, E.S. Beach, & P.T. Anastas. Depolymerization of organosolv lignin to aromatic compounds over Cu-doped porous metal oxides. Green Chemistry 2014, 16 (1), 191-196.

A. Bloomfield, S. Sheehan, S. Collom, R. Crabtree, P.T. Anastas. A heterogeneous water oxidation catalyst from dicobalt octacarbonyl and 1,2-bis(diphenylphosphino)ethane. New Journal of Chemistry 2014, 38 (4), 1540-1545.

J. Kostal, A. Voutchkova-Kostal, P. Anastas, & J.B. Zimmerman. Identifying and designing chemicals with minimal acute aquatic toxicity. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA2014.

G. Warner, T.S. Hansen, A. Riisager, E.S. Beach, K. Barta, & P.T. Anastas. Depolymerization of organosolv lignin using doped porous metal oxides in supercritical methanol. Bioresource Technology 2014, 161:78-83.

E.S. Beach, Z. Cui, P.T. Anastas, M. Zhan, & R.P. Wool. Properties of Thermosets Derived from Chemically Modified Triglycerides and Bio-Based Comonomers. Applied Sciences 2013, 3 (4), 684-693.

E.S. Beach, B.R. Weeks, R. Stern, & P.T. Anastas. Plastics additives and green chemistry. Pure and Applied Chemistry 2013, 85 (8), 1611-1624.

S.L. Collom, P.T. Anastas, E.S. Beach, R.H. Crabtree, N. Hazari, & T.J. Sommer. Differing Selectivities in Mechanochemical versus Conventional Solution Oxidation using Oxone. Tetrahedron Letters 2013, 54 (19), 2344-2347.

A. Kermanshahi pour, J. Zimmerman, & P. Anastas. Microalgae-derived chemicals: opportunity for an integrated chemical plant. In Natural and Artificial Photosynthesis: Solar Power as an Energy Source., Razeghifard, R. eds., Wiley, Inc, 2013.

A.M. Riederer, A. Belova, B.J. George, & P.T. Anastas. Urinary Cadmium in the 1999–2008 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Environmental Science & Technology 2013, 47 (2), 1137-1147.

I. Cote, P.T. Anastas, L.S. Birnbaum, R.M. Clark, D.J. Dix, S.W. Edwards, & P.W. Preuss. Advancing the Next Generation of Health Risk Assessment. Environmental Health Perspectives 2012, 120, 1499-1502.

T.S. Hansen, K. Barta, P.T. Anastas, P.C. Ford, & A. Riisager. One-pot reduction of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural via hydrogen transfer from supercritical methanol. Green Chemistry 2012, 14, 2457-2461.

A.M. Voutchkova-Kostal, J. Kostal, K.A. Connors, B.B. W, P.T. Anastas, & J.B. Zimmerman. Towards rational molecular design for reduced chronic aquatic toxicity. Green Chemistry 2012, 14, 1001-1008.

Z. Cui, E.S. Beach, & P.T. Anastas. Modification of chitosan films with environmentally benign reagents for increased water resistance. Green Chemistry Letters and Reviews 2011, 4, 35-40.

Z. Cui, E.S. Beach, & P.T. Anastas. Green chemistry in China. Pure and Applied Chemistry 2011, 83, 1379-1390.

P. Foley, A. Phimphachanh, E.S. Beach, J.B. Zimmerman, & P.T. Anastas. Linear and cyclic c-glycosides as surfactants. Green Chemistry 2011, 13, 321-325.

A.M. Voutchkova, J. Kostal, J.B. Steinfeld, J.W. Emerson, B.W. Brooks, P.T. Anastas, & J.B. Zimmerman. Towards rational molecular design: derivation of property guidelines for reduced acute aquatic toxicity. Green Chemistry 2011,13, 2373-2379.

P. Foley, N. Eghbali, & P.T. Anastas. Advances in the methodology of a multicomponent synthesis of arylnaphthalene lactones. Green Chemistry 2010,12, 888-892.

A.M. Voutchkova, L.A. Ferris, J.B. Zimmerman, & P.T. Anastas. Toward molecular design for hazard reduction-fundamental relationships between chemical properties and toxicity. Tetrahedron 2010, 66, 1031-1039.

Research Interests