New Haven, Conn. -- Yale Assistant Professor Glenn Micalizio has been named an Eli Lilly Grantee for Organic Chemistry, an award that comes with a two-year unrestricted grant of $100,000 that will be used to continue his research on ways to simplify the synthesis of complex biologically active organic molecules.
This coveted award is both an honor and gift, and includes Micalizio's participation in the 13th biennial Lilly Grantee Symposium in March 2008 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
"Lilly is highly committed to the development of promising young scientists that will be the future scientific and educational leaders in the area of organic chemistry," said Mark D. Chappell, Chair of the Organic Academic Contacts Committee of the Discovery Chemistry Research & Technologies group of Lilly Research Laboratories. "We believe that the Lilly Grantee Program is a reflection of this commitment."
Micalizio synthesizes complex biologically active molecules. His research focuses on strategies for simplifying the process by developing new ways to form carbon–carbon bonds between molecules. "Our goal is to figure out what we need to do in organic chemistry to facilitate the process of drug discovery," he said. "Overall, we are aiming to design new reactions that make it possible to discover complex small molecules with biologically important profiles."
According to Micalizio, the classic 'needle-in-a-haystack' approach to drug discovery can be influenced by dramatically altering the type of 'hay' that is screened. "We aim to shape the process by making collections of complex molecules easier to synthesize," he said.
Micalizio is defining new ways to accomplish "convergent synthesis" in which simple carbon skeletons are fused to make molecules that are more complex. His approach is to develop methods for linking frameworks together through carbon–carbon bonds. Such bond forming processes are central to organic chemistry, and provide a mechanism that both dramatically and efficiently increases a molecule's complexity.
Micalizio joined the Yale faculty in 2003 after completing his doctorate at the University of Michigan and a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University. He has also been the recipient of an American Cancer Society Research Scholar Award in 2006, a Junior Faculty Fellowship in the Natural Sciences in 2006, a Beckman Young Investigator Award in 2005 and a Lilly New Faculty Award in 2003.
Previous Yale recipients of the Lilly Grantee Award are Frederick Ziegler (1966), Michael McBride (1970), Stuart Schreiber (1983), John Wood (1996), John Hartwig (1997) and Scott Miller (1999).
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