Neil K. Garg named department Chair

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Professor Neil Garg has been named the next Chair of the UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry effective July 1, 2019.

In his announcement of the appointment Dean of Physical Sciences, Miguel Garcia-Garibay, said “I thank Neil for taking on the remarkable challenges and opportunities of leading an extraordinary Department. I am delighted that Neil will provide the leadership and vision that we need as we start the second 100 years of UCLA.”

Garcia-Garibay also thanked outgoing chair Professor Catherine F. Clarke for her service “I want to express my deepest gratitude to Cathy Clarke for her outstanding leadership and service to the Department and to UCLA during her term as Department Chair. Cathy has helped the Department move in directions that will increase its impact in both research and education as reflected by the hiring of outstanding new faculty and a large increase in the Department’s endowment, with several student fellowships and endowed faculty chairs. Cathy is also responsible for improved educational facilities, unprecedented alumni engagement, and many other distinctions that are characteristic of one of the best departments at one of the top Universities.”

An organic chemist, Garg is known for his innovative teaching techniques, and his breakthroughs in methods development, achievements in natural product total synthesis, and transformative chemical educational initiatives. 

Garg received a B.S. in Chemistry from New York University and went on to obtain his Ph.D. in 2005 from the California Institute of Technology under the direction of Professor Brian Stoltz. He then joined Professor Larry Overman’s research laboratory at the University of California, Irvine as an NIH Postdoctoral Scholar. Garg joined the faculty at UCLA in 2007. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2012, and then to Full Professor in 2013. He has served as Vice Chair for the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry (2012-2016) and has served since 2012 as Faculty-in-Residence in the UCLA undergraduate community. In 2018, Garg was appointed as the inaugural holder of the Kenneth N. Trueblood Endowed Chair in Chemistry & Biochemistry.

Garg’s recent research-related honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Thieme–IUPAC Prize, the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Merck Award, and the Elias J. Corey Award. His educational accolades include being named California’s Professor of the Year, and receiving many prizes, such as the Royal Society of Chemistry’s teaching award, and the largest university teaching prize worldwide, the Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching. Garg was recently named a Fellow of the American Chemical Society and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

The new vice chairs appointed by Garg will be announced on July 1, 2019.

To learn more about Garg and his research and educational activities, visit his group’s website.

Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry,