Loyola University Chicago

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry


Organic chemistry professor receives NIH grant

Organic chemistry professor receives NIH grant


Dr. Hee Yeon Cho, assistant professor of Organic Chemistry, has received a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for $429,000 to use over the next three years. The award will support research in catalytic enantioselective synthesis of geminally-bismetallated organic compounds—a process that could lead to new innovations in synthetic and medicinal chemistry.

“In my lab, the focus is on developing new synthetic methodologies,” she explained. “The synthetic methods proposed in this grant may one day lead to important drug developments in the future.”

Receiving this grant is a tremendous achievement for Dr. Cho, who began her professorship at Loyola only a year ago in July 2015. She earned her PhD in chemistry from Boston College in 2013. Immediately following, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at University of California, Berkeley for two years.

Cho’s research group studies new organic reactions and catalysis to synthesize optically active organic compounds. Considering that the majority of medicinal agents are optically active chiral entities, easy accessibility and utility of such chiral molecules are regarded significantly important. The goal of the proposed research is to invent efficient synthetic methods for the construction of optically active geminally-bisfunctionalized organic molecules.

Dr. Cho is currently working with a team of 13 people, one postdoctoral associate and twelve undergraduate students, to cultivate this new process for making complex organic molecules.