Laura Brown, Ph.D. received her B.S. in chemistry at Illinois Wesleyan University. During the fall of her sophomore year, she joined the research group of Professor Ram S. Mohan where her research was focused on mild and chemoselective reactions of acetals and ketals promoted by bismuth salts. She then headed to the east coast for graduate school at Boston College, where she earned her Ph.D. in organic chemistry with Professor Amir H. Hoveyda in 2008. Her graduate research was focused on the field of enantioselective catalysis, and she developed two new methods for the catalytic, enantioselective addition of alkyl nucleophiles to ketone and ketoimine substrates.
During her time at BC, she developed an interest in the chemistry and biosynthesis of natural products which led her to the laboratory of Professor Jon Clardy at Harvard Medical School, where she was awarded a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellowship. She worked jointly with Dr. Michael Fischbach, who is now an Assistant Professor at the University of California, San Francisco. Laura’s postdoctoral research was broadly focused on natural products discovery and biosynthesis. Through a combination of bioinformatic analysis, biochemical, microbiological, and modern analytical techniques, she elucidated the biosynthesis of a class of peptide-derived natural products, discovered two new natural products, produced by bacterial members of the human microbiome, and characterized a regulator of a developmental switch of an important model organism.
Throughout her graduate and post-doctoral studies, Laura maintained an interest in undergraduate education, and she had the good fortune of being provided with many meaningful teaching and mentoring opportunities. She is excited to join the teaching faculty at IU, and is looking forward to leading an active undergraduate research group, where she plans to pursue her interests in organic chemistry and the chemistry of natural products.