Physical Sciences Breakfast Lecture Series
Every morning before heading out to school, the laboratory, or the office, most of us will take a careful look at our image in the mirror. Like you and your reflection, organic molecules can exist as mirror images of each other. These "left" and "right" hand molecules are called "enantiomers" and they have different biological activity. For example, one molecule can save lives, while its enantiomer acts as a deadly poison. Thus, chemists face an important challenge when making molecules - how do we efficiently and selectively make a molecule in preference to making its mirror image? Professor Dong's talk will introduce the concept of enantiomers, their importance in medicine, and recent developments in enantioselective synthesis from her own laboratory. In particular, she will share new ways to use catalysis to build cyclic structures of medicinal importance.
Vy Dong was born in Big Spring, Texas and grew up in Anaheim, California. She graduated magna cum laude from UC Irvine where she majored in chemistry and completed an honor's project with Professor Larry Overman. After graduation, she earned her Ph.D. at Caltech and completed postdoctoral studies at UC Berkeley. She began her independent academic career at the University of Toronto, where she was named the Adrian Brook Professor. In the summer of 2012, Vy returned to the United States to assume a professorship at her alma mater, UC Irvine. Professor Dong's research team aims to solve challenges in organic synthesis through the study and design of catalytic methods.