Speakers Bios for the October 19, 2018
Process Chemistry Symposium

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Frances H. Arnold, California Institute Institute of Technology

Frances H. Arnold is developing evolutionary protein design methods to elucidate principles of biological design and generate novel and useful enzymes and organisms.


BREAKING NEWS October 3, 2018:

Three scientists shared this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry for tapping the power of evolutionary biology to design molecules with a range of practical uses. Those include new drugs, more efficient and less toxic reactions in the manufacture of chemicals and plant-derived fuels to replace oil, gas and coal extracted from the ground.

Half of the prize and the accompanying $1 million went to Frances H. Arnold, a professor of chemical engineering at the California Institute of Technology. She is only the fifth woman to win a chemistry Nobel and the first since 2009.

The other half of the prize is shared by George P. Smith, an emeritus professor of biological sciences at the University of Missouri, and Gregory P. Winter, a biochemist at the M.R.C. Laboratory of Molecular Biology in England.

For more info, click here

Congrats Dr. Arnold!

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Robert Knowles, Princeton University

Robert Knowles has his lab interested in addressing unsolved problems in synthetic organic chemistry and asymmetric catalysis. One area of recent focus has been exploring the synthetic applications of proton-coupled electron transfer (PCET) reactions. PCETs are unconventional redox processes in which an electron and proton are exchanged together in a concerted elementary step. While these mechanisms are recognized to play a central a role in biological redox catalysis and inorganic solar energy conversion technologies, their applications in synthetic organic chemistry remain largely unexplored. Our lab aims to establish concerted PCET as a general platform for substrate activation, providing new solutions to significant and long-standing synthetic challenges in the areas of free radical chemistry, asymmetric catalysis, and organometallic chemistry.

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Eric Meggers - Phillips University Marburg

The main interest of our group revolves around exploiting structural aspects of octahedral transition metal complexes, often in combination with other features, for applications in organic synthesis (e.g. asymmetric catalysis) and the life sciences (e.g. design of enzyme inhibitors). Particularly, we are intrigued by the stereochemical complexity of the octahedral coordination geometry (up to 30 stereoisomers possible!) which provides untapped opportunities for the design of novel catalysts and compounds with unprecedented biological properties.
Currently, we are focusing on designing "chiral-at-metal" complexes for applications in asymmetric catalysis. In this novel class of catalysts, the chirality of the catalysts originates exclusively from a stereogenic metal center (only achiral ligands!). Some members of this class of catalysts, namely bis-cyclometalated iridium and rhodium complexes, are excellent tools to intertwine photochemistry with asymmetric catalysis.

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Kami L. Hull - University of Texas Austin

Kami Hull received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan under the supervision of Melanie Sanford. She went on to be an NIH postdoctoral fellow in Barry M. Trost’s laboratory at Stanford University.  In 2012, Professor Hull joined the faculty at the University of Illinois. Her research focuses on the development of and mechanistic studies on transition metal catalyzed reactions. She will join our department as a tenured Associate Professor.
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Alan Cherney - Amgen

Alan received his Ph.D. from Cal Tech and currently works at Amgen.

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Christian Harrison - Vertex

Chris received his Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia and is currently working at Vertex.
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Theodore Martinot - Merck

Theodore received his Ph.D. from the University of Florida and is currently at Merck.
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Scott Plummer - Novartis

Scott received his Ph.D. from the Indiana University of Bloomington and is currently at Novartis.

To see past speakers, click here.