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30 under 30: Developing Lifesaving Molecules

Meet Christine Le, one of the promising young chemists attending the 2013 Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting



Courtesy of Christine Le

Each year hundreds of the best and brightest researchers gather in Lindau, Germany, for the Nobel Laureate Meeting. There, the newest generation of scientists mingles with Nobel Prize winners and discusses their work and ideas. The 2013 meeting is dedicated to chemistry and will involve young researchers from 78 different countries. In anticipation of the event, which will take place from June 30 through July 5, we are highlighting a group of attendees under 30 who represent the future of chemistry. The following profile is the eighth in a series of 30.


Name: Christine Le
Age: 24
Born: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Nationality: Candian

Current position: PhD Student at the University of Toronto
Education: BS in chemistry from the University of Western Ontario: Western Scholars, Graduated with Distinction; MS in chemistry from the University of Toronto

What is your field of research?
My research interests are focused around designing novel, efficient and environmentally benign methods to access medicinal targets using transition-metal catalysis.

What drew you to chemistry, and to that research area in particular?
My passion for research stems from a natural desire to understand the world around me on a microscopic level. Being a graduate student in chemistry affords me the opportunity to develop skills in both critical and creative thinking, and allows me to solve problems in addition to satisfying my intellectual curiosities.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years I see myself still engaged in research, but as the primary investigator, of course! As a synthetic chemist, the primary goal I would like to achieve is developing recyclable, high-activity catalysts that will find diverse applications in both industrial and academic settings. Given the constant fear of dwindling natural resources, such as rare earth metals, I believe that the solution to this problem can be found through strategic catalyst design.

What is your dream study or experiment? If you had unlimited resources, what kind of research would you conduct?
I would like to develop an efficient and site-selective method for the late-stage modification of a wide range of complex, druglike molecules. This would allow the facile (and potentially automated) synthesis of a library of molecules, which can be screened for biological activity in the hopes of discovering life-saving therapeutics.

What activities outside of chemistry do you most enjoy?
Cooking is one of my favorite pastimes. In a way, cooking is a lot like chemistry: you have to mix everything in the correct order and proportions as well as heat it to an optimal temperature—the only difference is that you get to taste your final product!

What do you hope to gain from this year’s Lindau meeting?
Attending the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting will provide me with the opportunity to meet other scientists who are similarly enthusiastic and passionate about research. In addition to making international connections, I hope to gain new and fresh perspectives relevant to my own research as well as the current research being conducted around the world. As a future participant of the meeting, I am absolutely thrilled to meet all the Nobel laureates and be immersed in an environment that values both intellectual discussion and debate.

Are there any Nobelists whom you are particularly excited to meet?
Robert Grubbs and Akira Suzuki. Both olefin metathesis and the Suzuki-Miyaura reaction have revolutionized modern organic synthesis and I am excited to discuss the progression towards their successes.

 

« Previous
7. Caroline Bischof
30 Under 30:
Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting
Next »
9. Fabian Erdel

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