Speaker Biographies


Floyd RomesbergRomesbergHeadshot

Department of Chemistry, The Scripps Research Institute

Floyd E. Romesberg received a B.S. and M.S in chemistry from The Ohio State University, and a Ph.D. in physical organic chemistry from Cornell University. He was an NIH postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley with Peter Schultz, and in 1998 joined the faculty at The Scripps Research Institute, where he is currently Professor of Chemistry. Romesberg’s research laboratory applies organic chemistry, microbiology, non-linear optical spectroscopy, and genetics, to study different aspects of evolution. Of particular significance is his work to expand the genetic alphabet and code through the development of a third DNA base pair that relies on hydrophobicity as opposed to hydrogen bonding for selective pairing. Romesberg has been recognized by several awards including the Camille Dreyfus Teacher Scholar Award, the NSF CAREER Award, the Discover Magazine Technology Innovation Award, and the ACS Nobel Laureate Signature Award. His research has been funded by NIH, NSF, Office of Naval Research, and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Romesberg is also a scientific founder of several biotech companies, including Achaogen, Inc., RQx Inc., and Synthorx, Inc.


SigmanHeadshotMatthew Sigman

Department of Chemistry, University of Utah

Matt Sigman was born in Los Angeles, California in 1970.  He received a B.S. in chemistry from Sonoma State University in 1992 before obtaining his Ph.D. at Washington State University with Professor Bruce Eaton in 1996 in organometallic chemistry.  He then moved to Harvard University to complete an NIH funded postdoctoral stint with Professor Eric Jacobsen.  In 1999, he joined the faculty of the University of Utah where his research group has focused on the development of new synthetic methodology with an underlying interest in reaction mechanism.  His research program explores the broad areas of oxidation catalysis, asymmetric catalysis, and the relationship between structure and function in complex reactions.  He currently is the Peter J. Christine S. Stang Presidential Endowed Chair of Chemistry at the rank of Distinguished Professor.


F. Dean TosteTosteHeadshot

Department of Chemistry, University of California at Berkeley

F. Dean Toste received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in chemistry from the University of Toronto, Canada and his PhD from Stanford University in 2000 under the direction or Prof. Barry M. Trost.  Following postdoctoral studies at Caltech in the laboratories of Prof. Robert H Grubbs, he joined the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley in July of 2002 and is currently the Gerald K. Branch Distinguished Professor of Chemistry. Professor Toste’s honors include the Cope Scholar (2006), E.J. Corey (2008) and Creativity in Organic Synthesis (2015) Awards from the American Chemical Society, the Organometallic Chemistry Directed Towards Organic Synthesis (OMCOS) Award(2007) and Thieme-IUPAC Prize in Synthetic Organic Chemistry (2008) from IUPAC, the Merck Award (2010) from the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Mukaiyama Award (2011) from the Society of Synthetic Organic Chemistry Japan, the Horst-Pracejus Prize (2015) from the German Chemical Society and the Janssen Prize for Creativity in Organic Synthesis (2018).  He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada – Academy of Science (2015) and American Academy of Arts and Science (2018).


Karen WooleyWooleyHeadshot

Department of Chemistry, Texas A&M University

Karen L. Wooley is the W. T. Doherty-Welch Chair in Chemistry, a University Distinguished Professor and a Presidential Impact Fellow at Texas A&M University, where she holds appointments in the Departments of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering.  She also serves as Director of the Laboratory for Synthetic-Biologic Interactions.  Research interests include the synthesis and characterization of degradable polymers derived from natural products, unique macromolecular architectures and complex polymer assemblies, and the design and development of well-defined nanostructured materials.  The development of synthetic methodologies, fundamental study of physicochemical and mechanical properties, and investigation of the functional performance of her materials in the diagnosis and treatment of disease, as non-toxic anti-biofouling or anti-icing coatings, as materials for microelectronics device applications, and as environmental remediation systems are particular foci of her research activities.  Her academic training included undergraduate study at Oregon State University (B.S., 1988) and graduate study under the direction of Professor Jean M. J. Fréchet at Cornell University (Ph.D., 1993).  She began an academic career as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, was promoted in 1999 to Full Professor with tenure, was installed in 2006 as a James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor in Arts & Sciences, in 2007 received an appointment in the School of Medicine, Department of Radiology and in July 2009, Karen relocated to Texas A&M University.  Recent awards include the American Chemical Society Award in Polymer Chemistry (2014), Royal Society of Chemistry Centenary Prize (2014), Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (2014), Honorary Fellow of the Chinese Chemical Society (2014), Oesper Award (2015), Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2015), and both Distinguished Research and Teaching Achievement Awards from the Texas A&M University Association of Former Students (2016).  Karen currently serves as an Associate Editor for the Journal of the American Chemical Society, among many other advisory roles within the broader scientific community.


Tehshik YoonYoonHeadshot

Department of Chemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Tehshik Yoon is a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.  His formal training was obtained under the mentorship of some of the leading figures in synthetic organic chemistry, including Ph.D. research with Prof. David MacMillan, first at Berkeley and then at Caltech, followed by an NIH postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Prof. Eric Jacobsen at Harvard. Tehshik has been on the faculty at UW–Madison since 2005.  His research group has broad interests in organic synthesis and catalysis. In particular, the Yoon group has been pioneering the use of transition metal photocatalysts in synthetically useful transformations promoted by visible light. Tehshik's efforts in teaching and research have earned him a variety of prestigious of awards, including an NSF CAREER Award (2007), the Research Corporation Cottrell Scholar Award (2008), the Beckman Young Investigator Award (2008), the Amgen Young Investigator Award (2009), an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship (2009), an Eli Lilly Grantee Award (2011), the William H. Kiekhofer Distinguished Teaching Award (2013), and a Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Award from the Humboldt Foundation (2015).