Welcoming New Faculty

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The UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry would like to welcome Hosea M. Nelson, who will be joining our department as an Assistant Professor in the Organic Chemistry division.

Prof. Nelson started his academic career at City College of San Francisco before transferring to UC Berkeley, where he received a B.S. degree in Chemistry in 2004. He then joined the Panasonic Energy Solutions Laboratory as a research assistant, where he developed technologies for lithium ion batteries and methanol fuel cells. From 2007-2012 Prof. Nelson completed a Ph.D. at the California Institute of Technology as an NSF Predoctoral Fellow and a Ford Foundation Fellow. There, under the tutelage of Prof. Brian Stoltz, he completed the total syntheses of several SERCA-inhibiting naturally occurring small molecules called the transtaganolides and the syntheses of several complex biological tool molecules. Prof. Nelson is currently a UNCF / Merck Postdoctoral Fellow in Professor Dean Toste’s laboratory at UC Berkeley, where his work focuses on the utilization of chiral anion phase-transfer strategies in asymmetric catalysis.  

Broadly speaking, Prof. Nelson’s research program is focused on the development of enabling technologies for chemical synthesis and biology. His group will achieve this goal through two primary avenues of research.  

Target-Driven Organic Synthesis

As both an inspiration for the development of new organic methodology and as a means to proactively contribute to the development of medicines, the Nelson Group will pursue the synthesis of bioactive natural products.  Targets will be selected based on their biological activity and syntheses will be designed with a focus on modularity and efficiency. Ultimately, through synthetic efforts and collaborations, we hope to develop small molecules that will be widely applied in medicine and biology. 

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As a means to expand the methodology available to synthetic chemists, efforts to discover new concepts in catalysis and novel organic and inorganic transformations will be undertaken.   We are specifically interested in developing supramolecular organometallic catalysts that enable challenging stereoselective transformations.  Furthermore, we will develop methodologies that rely on the catalysis of earth-abundant main group elements and base metals. 

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Prof. Nelson will join the UCLA faculty in July 2015.