Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry


Organic chemistry is the study of the structure, properties, composition, reactions, and preparation of carbon-containing compounds.



Assistant Professor

PhD Scripps Research Institute Florida (2012)
Disciplines: organic, catalysis, synthesis

Our research interests lie in the area of synthetic organic chemistry—ranging from asymmetric catalysis and mechanistic studies to total synthesis of natural products. One crucial component of our research program is developing useful transformations that can convert readily available, achiral small molecules to enantioenriched, highly valuable products and synthetic intermediates. We are also interested in applying the methods we developed to the synthesis of natural products with significant biological activities. An ultimate goal is to transfer these technologies to aid researchers in other areas of science and medicine.

Rashad Karimov

Assistant Professor

PhD Cornell University Weill Graduate School of Medical Science (2014)
Disciplines: organic, medicinal, synthesis

Our research group is interested in the synthesis, diversification, and structure-activity relationship studies of natural products for identifying new bioactive scaffolds. Methodology development is also an important part of our research program as it allows to overcome the unique synthetic challenges associated with the synthesis and late stage functionalization of complex natural products. We are particularly interested in the natural product scaffolds for the treatment of neurological disorders and infectious diseases.

Bradley Merner

S.D. and Karen H. Worley Associate Professor

PhD Memorial University of Newfoundland (2010)
Disciplines: organic, synthesis, medicinal, materials

Target-Oriented Chemical Synthesis: Our group’s research program is centered on the development of new synthetic tools and strategies for accessing complex organic molecules. Synthetic targets that are pursued include anticancer natural products, RNA-based therapeutics, medicinally relevant and constrained macrocycles, as well as hydrocarbon materials that can be employed in the bottom-up chemical synthesis of structurally uniform carbon nanostructures.

Stewart Schneller


PhD Indiana University (1968)
Disciplines: organic, medicinal

The research currently underway in our laboratory is focused on antiviral drug design and discovery for treating emerging and reemerging viral infections for which there is no suitable therapy, including vaccination. Our focus is on inhibition of terminal viral mRNA methylation based on varying the methyl donor cofactor S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet, shown above). To date, success has been found towards the flaviviruses (dengue, yellow fever), the viral hemorrhagic fever viruses (including Ebola), and the orthopox (monkey pox) viruses, among others.