Two professors in the Department of Chemistry have been promoted to associate professor and awarded tenure by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
The University of Illinois Board of Trustees approved the promotion of Jefferson Chan and David Sarlah, who both joined the Chemistry at Illinois faculty in 2014.
- Jefferson Chan: Chan received his BSc in chemistry from the University of British Columbia and his PhD from Simon Fraser University with Prof. Andrew Bennet. He was a Human Frontiers Science Program Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley with Prof. Christopher Chang before beginning his independent career at Illinois where he is currently a faculty member in the chemical biology, organic and analytical areas. Chan is also an affiliate faculty member in biochemistry and associate professor at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, where he is the group leader of the Photoacoustic Imaging Theme. He won the Beckman Fellow Award, a Center for Advanced Study Fellowship, and earlier this year, was named a Helen Corley Petit Scholar by the College of LAS . One area of his research focuses on developing chemical probes to study aging-related diseases including neurological disorders and cancer. Representative work in this area is a molecular probe that can tag and track elusive cancer stem cells in both cell cultures and mice. Other areas of research include devising novel approaches for targeted drug delivery and the development of disease-biomarker responsive photoacoustic imaging probes for early diagnostic applications, biopsy-free assessment, surgical guidance, and treatment monitoring. A scholar and a teacher, Chan has been on the “Teachers Ranked as Excellent” list numerous times for his dedication to undergraduate and graduate teaching.
- David Sarlah: A professor in the department’s organic area of chemistry, Sarlah’s research focuses on the synthesis of complex, biologically active natural products and the related chemical biology to methodology development. In 2020, Sarlah was named an American Cancer Society Research Scholar, enabling Sarlah to investigate how to successfully acquire pancratistatin, a naturally occurring compound that has cancer-fighting properties found in the Hawaiian spider lily. He also won a Cancer Center at Illinois seed grant that is funding research, in conjunction with two other UIUC researchers, that focuses on “Elucidating the Role of Minor Cannabinoids on Immune Cell Activation Involved in Lung Cancer Metastatic Progression.” A scholar and a teacher, Sarlah has been named to the “Teachers Ranked as Excellent” list. His most recent awards include the 2021 Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award, the 2020 KYOTO Rising-Star Lectureship Award, and the 2020 FMC New Investigator Award. Sarlah completed his graduate studies at the Scripps Research Institute, working on total synthesis of complex natural products and his postdoctoral work at ETH Zurich with Prof. Erick M. Carreira’s group, exploring the field of asymmetric catalysis.