Christopher Vanderwal

4042B Frederick Reines Hall University of California Irvine Irvine, CA 92697 (949) 824-6702
Professor of Chemistry

B.S., University of Ottawa, 1995

Ph.D., The Scripps Research Institute, 2003, Chemistry

Biography and Research: 

Professor Chris Vanderwal was born in Germany (to Canadian parents). At the age of nearly five, young Chris moved with his parents to Ottawa, Canada, where he attended school, up to and including university. He received his Bachelor of Science degree (biochemistry) from the University of Ottawa in 1995, and then moved to Montreal for an internship in the Medicinal Chemistry Department at the Merck-Frosst Centre for Therapeutic Research. He returned to the University of Ottawa for a Master of Science degree in organic chemistry, which he earned working with Professor Tony Durst. In 1998, Chris moved to sunny San Diego, where he studied under the supervision of Professor Erik Sorensen at The Scripps Research Institute. His doctoral training involved the synthesis of the cytotoxic natural product FR182877 and investigations into its biochemical mechanism of action. In addition to obtaining his Doctor of Philosophy degree at Scripps (2003), Chris also met his wife, Danielle Soenen, a classmate who received her doctorate working with Professor Dale Boger. Chris and Danielle then moved back to the cold, as he studied asymmetric catalysis with Professor Eric Jacobsen as a Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University. His work in the Jacobsen group involved the enantioselective addition of oxygen-centered nucleophiles to conjugate acceptors. Chris enthusiastically joined the Chemistry Department faculty at UC Irvine in 2005. Chris and Danielle are happy to be in sunny southern California once again, where they live with their son, daughter, dog, and turtle.

In 2011, Chris was promoted to Associate Professor of Chemistry with tenure, and was named a UCI Chancellor’s Faculty Fellow. In 2013, Chris was promoted to Professor. Among other distinctions, Dr. Vanderwal has received a NSF CAREER Award, Eli Lilly Grantee Award and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship. 

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