Faculty Spotlight: Craig Merlic

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The department congratulates Professor Craig Merlic on his promotion to the rank of full professor.

The rank of Full Professor is the highest rank that a professor can achieve (other than a named or administrative position) and is conferred upon sustained and distinguished track record of scholarly achievement within one’s university and academic discipline.  

Professor Craig Merlic obtained his B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of California, Davis and his Ph.D. in organic chemistry as a Hertz Foundation Fellow at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. After a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellowship at Princeton University he joined the faculty in the UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Professor Merlic’s research explores applications of transition metal organometallic chemistry to organic synthesis and extends from catalysis to synthesis of new chemotherapeutic agents. His most recent work focuses on copper, iridium and palladium catalyzed cross coupling reactions. 

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Craig Merlic, left, talks with graduate student Brett Cory. 

He has published more than 70 papers in peer-reviewed journals and received a National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, and a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Petroleum Research Fund and various corporate sponsors.

He created award-winning Internet-based educational projects for course management and teaching spectroscopy in organic chemistry. These projects earned a MERLOT Award for Exemplary Online Learning Resources, a StudySphere Award of Excellence and a StudyWeb Excellence Award. In addition, he received a Hanson-Dow Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry for his in-class teaching.

Professor Merlic has been very active promoting chemical safety at UCLA and in the University of California system. He has served as the Executive Director of the UC Center for Laboratory Safety (UCCLS) since 2015 and, in that role, he headed up the investigation of the 2016 explosion in a laboratory at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.