COSAM News Articles 2022 October Chen receives $1.87M NIH grant to research new chemical reactivities of organoboron compounds

Chen receives $1.87M NIH grant to research new chemical reactivities of organoboron compounds

Published: 11/01/2022

By: Maria Gebhardt

Ming Chen

Ming Chen

Ming Chen, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, is the sole primary investigator of a highly competitive $1,876,283 award from the National Institutes of General Medical Sciences, or NIGMS, part of the National Institutes of Health, or NIH.

“I am excited to research novel reactivities of organoboron compounds to explore the new chemical space and study their potential applications,” said Chen.

This Maximizing Investigators' Research Award, or MIRA, provides Chen, an early stage investigator, with more stability and flexibility through this NIH funding, so he can concentrate on cutting-edge research over the next five years.

Chen’s research program focuses on synthetic organic chemistry, specifically on asymmetric catalysis with organoboron compounds.

“This grant from the NIH for early-stage investigators will help us to pursue exciting research projects to decipher novel reaction pathways of organoboron compounds and investigate their medical applications,” Chen said.  

“This NIH award gives us the opportunities to make an impact on human health,” he added.

Chen received postdoctoral trainings at the University of California-Berkeley, a doctorate degree from the very selective Scripps Research, a master’s degree from Brown University and a bachelor’s degree from Nanjing University or Nanda, a member of the elite C9 League of Chinese universities.

Chen Research Group

Chen Research Group

Chen is also a passionate mentor in the lab. His research group includes postdoctoral associates, graduate and undergraduate students.

“These self-driven students are eager to learn more about asymmetric catalysis and organic synthesis. The research experience will help them to become mature scientists and be ready for future challenges,” said Chen.

Chen has been able to build upon his success over the last six years at Auburn University. He received two intramural grants from Auburn. In 2021, he earned an impressive $650,000 National Science Foundation CAREER Award.

After receiving the NSF CAREER award, Chen explained, “Everyone wants a better quality of life for their children, parents and even grandparents,” Chen added. “Advancements and innovations in drug discoveries allow scientists to help others. At the macro-level, chemists are trying to develop new technologies aiming to improve lives and help people. There is no greater work than making our communities a better place for everyone.”

Chen was selected by the American Chemical Society, Division of Organic Chemistry to contribute to the 2020 Young Academic Investigator’s Symposium. In 2021, he was awarded a Thieme Chemistry Journal Award and Emerging Investigator Award.  He was also selected as a 2021 Chem Comm Emerging Investigator through the Royal Society of Chemistry.

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