Graduate students Marco Messina (Maynard Group), Lucas Morrill (Garg Group), and Adam Simon (Houk Group) have been named the 2017 Senior Foote Fellows.
The Christopher S. Foote fellowship in Organic Chemistry recognizes organic students’ accomplishments in graduate studies and research as well as their performance on the Qualifying Examination for the Ph.D. degree. The recipients, who receive a stipend spread out between two academic years, are chosen by the UCLA organic faculty.
In 2005, on the occasion of UCLA organic professor Dr. Christopher S. Foote’s 70th birthday, his former coworkers and faculty at UCLA created the fellowship in his honor. Foote (pictured above) and his wife, Prof. Judi Smith, donated the funds to fully fund the endowment. Sadly, Foote passed away soon after the fellowship was established. His 43-year academic career at UCLA established Foote as one of the world leaders in the field of physical organic chemistry.
UCLA is fortunate to benefit from the continuing outstanding service and support of Smith, who was just recently named the founding dean of the UCLA Herb Albert School of Music. The Foote-Smith gift allows our department to support our most promising applicants to our graduate program as well as our most outstanding graduate students upon completion of their qualifying examination.
The 2017 Senior Foote Fellows – Organic chemistry graduate students Marco Messina, Lucas Morrill, and Adam Simon.
Messina was born in Corpus Christi, Texas. He attended Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi where he obtained a B.S. in Chemistry with a minor in Philosophy. During his undergraduate tenure, he performed research in the laboratory of Prof. Mark A. Olson, synthesizing bypiridinium-based amphiphiles and understanding their non-covalent bonding interactions and electrostatics with electron-rich molecules. He also performed research in the laboratory of Prof. Jeremiah A. Johnson at MIT as part of the MIT Summer Research Program (MSRP) where he worked towards developing a new method for the synthesis of cyclic polymers. Messina is currently a graduate researcher in the laboratories of both Prof. Heather D. Maynard and Prof. Alexander M. Spokoyny. His current research consists of synthesizing trehalose glycopolymers for use in protein stabilization and in developing novel polymerization methods utilizing boron-rich clusters as photo-oxidants.
Morrill received his B.A. in chemistry from Carleton College in Northfield, MN, where he performed undergraduate research under Profs. David Alberg and Gretchen Hofmeister. He is currently a third-year graduate student in Prof. Neil K. Garg’s laboratory. His graduate studies are focused on the total synthesis of complex natural products.
Simon received his B.S. in Chemistry with High Distinction from the University of California, San Diego, in 2014. At UCSD, Adam’s research focused on the synthesis of aminoglycoside mimetics for the development of novel antibiotics. He is currently a graduate student working with Prof. Kendall N. Houk. Simon specializes in using quantum chemical calculations for discovering the origins of stereoselectivity and mechanisms of enzymatic and organocatalyzed reactions.