Neil Garg honored with RSC 2016 Merck Award

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Professor Neil Garg wins the 2016 Merck Award for his breakthroughs in synthetic methodology & exceptional achievements in natural product synthesis. 

Since 2008 The Royal Society for Chemistry (RSC) Merck Award has been awarded annually to a researcher under the age of 45 for his or her contributions to any area of organic chemistry. 

Prof. Garg received a B.S. in Chemistry from New York University where he did undergraduate research with Professor Marc Walters. During his undergraduate years, he spent several months in Strasbourg, France while conducting research with Professor Mir Wais Hosseini at Université Louis Pasteur as an NSF REU Fellow. 

He obtained his Ph.D. in 2005 from Caltech studying under the direction of Professor Brian Stoltz. He then joined Professor Larry Overman’s laboratory at the University of California, Irvine as an NIH Postdoctoral Scholar. Prof. Garg joined the UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in 2007. He is currently serving as the Vice Chair for Graduate Education for the department.

Prof. Garg’s laboratory develops synthetic strategies and methodologies that enable the synthesis of complex bioactive molecules. His many honors include the 2016 Merck Award, a 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship, the 2016 Thieme–IUPAC Prize, the 2015 Tetrahedron Young Investigator Award for Organic Synthesis, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s 2015 California Professor of the Year award, the 2015 UCLA Herbert Newby McCoy Award, the 2015 Gold Shield Faculty Prize, and a 2015 Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award.

In his teaching, Prof. Garg emphasizes the creativity and problem-solving that organic chemistry requires, and its relevance in students’ lives. In 2015 he gave a popular 20-minute TEDxUCLA talk about his teaching techniques. Prof. Garg has spearheaded the creation of ‘B.A.C.O.N. at U.C.L.A’, an online tutorial designed to help students see the connections between organic chemistry and topics in medicine and pop culture which he is working to make available to students and educators worldwide.

To learn more about Prof. Garg and his research visit his group’s website.

News of Prof. Garg’s award was featured in UCLA Newsroom this week.