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Exploring Challenges in the Synthesis of Pharmaceutical Drugs

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This summer, Wendell and Loretta Hess Professor of Chemistry Ram Mohan will travel to India and Hong Kong to deliver a series of post-graduate workshops on advanced concepts in organic synthesis.

His workshop “Advanced Concepts in the Synthesis of Pharmaceutical Drugs” at the Indian Institute of Technology Indore will explore the unique, real-world challenges in the pharmaceutical industry to synthesize drugs that are both commercially viable and eco-friendly. The workshop will be geared toward participants from both industry and academia. Mohan was selected to deliver this series by the Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN), a competitive program funded through the Indian government that invites experts from around the world to augment learning experiences at India’s higher education institutions.

“Typically, GIAN experts are from large, Ph.D. granting institutes worldwide, so it is especially humbling to be chosen as a foreign expert from a small liberal arts college such as IWU,” said Mohan. “It will be exciting to interact with Ph.D. students as well as college teachers wishing to update their skills.”

Mohan has also been invited by Hong Kong University’s Department of Chemistry, ranked number one in Hong Kong, to deliver a series of doctoral lectures on green chemistry, a recent initiative to develop environmentally sustainable chemical processes and products.

“Today it is not enough to make useful molecules, whether they are everyday products or life saving drugs,” Mohan explained. “It is just as important to make them in environmentally friendly ways that produce very little waste, waste that is also benign and easy to dispose. I hope that that workshop will enable students to think how they can incorporate green chemistry into their own work, and also inspire them to carry green chemistry principles into their future careers.”

A 1985 graduate of Hansraj College in Delhi, India, Mohan earned a master’s degree in organic chemistry from the University of Delhi in 1987 and a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), in 1992. Following that, he conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

In 2011, the Illinois Heartland Section of the American Chemical Society named Mohan Chemist of the Year. He received the distinguished alumni award from his alma mater UMBC in 2002, the Henry Dreyfus Teacher Scholar award in 2001, and the Pfizer Green Chemistry Award for promoting green chemistry at an undergraduate institution. His research at IWU, which has involved more than 100 students, has been funded by several grants from the National Science Foundation, Research Corporation, and the American Chemical Society-Petroleum Research Fund.

Mohan was named a Fulbright Specialist on Green Chemistry Education to Pondicherry University in India in 2015, and received a Fulbright-Nehru award to deliver lectures on the principles of green chemistry at several Indian colleges and universities during the 2012-13 academic year.

This article has been republished from materials provided by Illinois Wesleyan University. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.