11/05/19 - 9:45 AM to 11:00 AM
Department Seminar: Professor Valery Fokin
Seeing is Believing: From Chemistry Laboratory to the Operating Room
The research program in our laboratory has evolved from investigation of fundamental catalytic reactivity to applying the insights we gained to biomedical research. Our ability to construct new molecular architectures with desired properties depends on the efficient methods for controlled and selective formation of new chemical bonds in complex environments. Chemical transformations that reliably introduce and transform various functional groups are required for the synthesis of materials ranging from small molecule therapeutics to macromolecular multifunctional biomedical imaging and drug delivery systems. Catalytic reactions offer unprecedented potential for achieving these goals. Our studies of new reactions, the insights into their mechanism and catalyst behavior, and the resulting applications to drug discovery, cellular and tissue imaging, and cell targeting will be highlighted in the presentation.
"Discovering something new"
4 p.m Tuesday, Nov. 5
Kate & Michael Bárány Conference Room (117/119 Smith Hall)
Professor Valery Fokin is a founding member of the Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience at the University of Southern California (USC) and co-director of the Agilent Center of Excellence in Biomolecular Characterization at USC.
He has made seminal contributions to the discovery and development of practical methods for synthesizing biologically active compounds and complex molecular architectures spanning virtually all fields of molecular science and especially biomedical research. He is best known for co-discovering copper-catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition, recognized in the field as the iconic example of “click chemistry.” The potential of this chemistry was not revealed until the discovery of the aqueous copper catalysis in 2002 by Fokin. Within months, applications of his ascorbate/copper-catalyzed reaction began to appear across the chemical disciplines, quickly establishing its leading position among the most reliable means for the covalent assembly of complex molecules.
His reactions are used many times a day around the world in applications ranging from synthesis of functional materials with unprecedented degree of fidelity, to bioconjugations, to live imaging and investigation of pharmacodynamics and metabolism of drugs and drug candidates. He has co-authored more than 200 publications, which have more than 39,000 citations. In 2011, Thomson-Reuters ranked him among the world leading 10 chemists of the decade, and in 2013-18 has consistently listed him among “the world’s most influential scientists.”
He received his undergraduate education in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, and Calvin College in Michigan, and obtained his doctorate degree, focusing on organic synthesis at University of Southern California in 1998. After a brief postdoctoral stint at The Scripps Research Institute, he joined the USC faculty in 2000.