2023 Senior Foote Fellows

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Prof. Christopher Foote

Third-year organic chemistry graduate students Jacob Kim (Kwon lab), Andrew Palmer (Backus lab), and Arismel Tena-Meza (Garg lab) have been named the 2023 Senior Foote Fellows.

The Senior Foote Fellowships support our most outstanding third-year graduate students upon completion of their qualifying examination for their Ph.D. degree and the Junior Foote Fellowships support our most promising applicants to our graduate program. All Foote Fellows are chosen by the UCLA organic chemistry faculty. In addition to be honored, all Foote Fellows receive a stipend spread out between two academic years.

The 2023 Senior Foote Fellows – Jacob Kim, Andrew Palmer, and Arismel Tena-Meza.

The Christopher S. Foote Fellowship in Organic Chemistry was established in 2005 by his former co-workers and UCLA colleagues to honor UCLA organic professor Dr. Christopher S. Foote on his 70th birthday. Foote (pictured at top) and his wife, Professor Judi Smith, donated the remaining funds needed 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 the Dean of Undergraduate Education and the Founding Dean of the UCLA Herb Albert School of Music.

About the 2023 Senior Foote Fellows

Jacob Kim is a third-year PhD candidate studying organic chemistry at UCLA in Professor Ohyun Kwon’s lab. His research project involves using chiral phosphine catalysts to utilize the Staudinger/aza-Wittig reaction for asymmetric syntheses of alkaloid natural products, including (–)-strychnopivotine and (–)-vindoline. He also works as a teaching assistant in both college-level organic chemistry and synthesis lab courses. Jacob was born in Fremont, California and holds a B.S. in Chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University.

Andrew Palmer was raised in the small town of Los Olivos, California. He received his B.S. in chemistry from the University of California, San Diego, where he performed research & development at Hamari Chemicals, USA as a chemistry intern. He then worked at Neurocrine Biosciences in Del Mar, CA for three years as a process chemist, developing synthetic routes for Phase I–IIb candidates. He is currently a chemistry student in the lab of Professor Keriann Backus, where his research focuses on the development of a versatile proximity-labeling platform for deciphering protein-protein interactions involved in cholesterol transport.

Arismel Tena-Meza was born in Michoacán Mexico and raised in Salinas, California. In 2019, she received her B.A. in Chemistry from The University of California, Berkeley. There, she worked under the supervision of Professor Dean F. Toste, where she investigated bioconjugation methods. She is currently a third-year organic chemistry graduate student in Professor Neil Garg’s group. Her current graduate research focus is on asymmetric nickel-catalyzed transformations of amides and developing new synthetic methodologies that leverage unsymmetrical strained allenes.

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