2021 Alfred R. Bader Award for Student Innovation

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Graduate student Rachel Knapp (Garg group) has been selected as one of the four winners of the 2021 Alfred R Bader Award for Student Innovation. 

Knapp was chosen for the award in recognition of her “exemplary work in the field synthetic methodology, especially as applied to a more efficient synthesis of antivirals treating COVID-19”.

This award recognized Knapp’s work to identified an alternative route to synthesize pyrrolo[2,1-f][1,2,4]-triazin-4-amine, the nucleobase found in remdesivir, an FDA approved antiviral compound for the treatment of COVID-19. The project was a result of a collaboration between the Garg group, the Sarpong group (UC Berkley), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Knapp will present her research and receive the award at the Bader Award Chemistry Symposium being held as a virtual event November 4, 2021 at 7:00 a.m. PST. 


A 5th year organic chemistry graduate student in Professor Neil Garg’s group, Knapp’s research interests include medicinal chemistry and utilizing unconventional building blocks, such as amides and strained intermediates, in chemical synthesis.  Knapp received her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Loyola University Chicago in 2017.  She was part of a team of three UCLA Chemistry & Biochemistry graduate students who received the department’s 2020 Education Innovation Award for creating and teaching a successful online summer course.  When she graduates, Knapp plans to join Eli Lilly as a medicinal chemist at the La Jolla site.

The Bader Awards are given by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany (formerly Sigma-Aldrich) in honor of the company’s co-founder to recognize student chemists whose innovations have the potential to advance science today and spark progress into the future.

Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu.