Emeritus Faculty


Research in Computational Modeling and Theoretical Chemistry

In the past twenty-five years molecular mechanics and quantum mechanical methods have become essential helpers to experimental chemists of all kinds. Modern software systems teamed with powerful computers now make possible practical representation of many aspects of chemical structure and reactivity. I help newcomers to modeling to develop good judgment in their use of these techniques, and apply some of the most powerful techniques to chemical problems.


Research: Organic chemistry of nitrogen heterocyclic compounds, especially indoles. Biological activity of organic compounds.

Professor Sundberg is primarily engaged in teaching and chemical education. Along with Francis A. Carey he is the author of “Advanced Organic Chemistry,” a two-part text, which was recently published in its fourth edition. Professor Sundberg is also interested in synthetic methodology in heterocyclic chemistry and is the author of “Indoles” in the Best Synthetic Methods Series (Academic Press, 1996).


Professor Shen was born in Peking, China in 1924. He graduated from National Central University of China in 1946, and a year later traveled to England to study organic chemistry on an Overseas Scholarship form the Chinese Ministry of Education. In 1950,  he came to the United States for a postdoctoral position at Ohio State University, followed by a research associateship at MIT. From MIT, he joined Merck & Co. in 1956. He was appointed to the U.Va.


Professor Frederick S. Richardson earned his B.S. degree at Dickinson College summa cum laude in 1961. In 1966, he received his Ph.D. at Princeton University working with Walter Kauzmann. He served in the US Army for two years before starting his NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the University of California, San Diego. In 1969, he joined the faculty in the Chemistry Department at the University of Virginia. Prof. Richardson served as chair of the department from 1983 – 87 and 1992 – 1997. In 1991, he was appointed a Commonwealth Professor. Prof.


In our research we identify natural products with interesting, often novel, structures and useful biological properties that may lead to medicinal agents for treatment of cancer, cardiovascular disorders and infectious diseases. We focus on key structural and stereochemical features present in these target natural products and devise mechanism or analogy based methodology for efficient construction of potentially useful subunits. Finally, we assemble the foregoing subunits by a combination of new and known reactions to synthesize the target substance and/or analogues thereof.


Sidney Hecht was the John W. Mallet Professor of Chemistry and a Professor of Biology at UVA from 1978 – 2008. During his thirty years he led a very productive research group in the areas of synthesis and mechanism of action of bleomycin family antitumor antibiotics, peptidyltransferase as a source of synthetic enzymes, mechanism of action/inhibition of mammalian DNA topoisomerase I, and inhibition of signal transduction at the level of p90RSK. He is the recipient of numerous awards icluding the Alfred P.


Russ Grimes was raised in Pennsylvania and is a B.S. Chemistry alumnus of Lafayette College He received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Minnesota as a student of Professor William Lipscomb, although his thesis research was conducted at Harvard University where he was a Harvard Fellow. Following postdoctoral work at Harvard and with Professor M. F. Hawthorne at the University of California, Riverside, he was a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry from 1963 to 2003, becoming a Full Professor in 1973 and serving a term as Department Chair from 1981 to 1984.


Professor Gerrans is primarily engaged in teaching and chemical education. He has taught undergraduate chemistry at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa and here at the University of Virginia.  He has held visiting professorships at the California Institute of Technology (1972), the University of Illinois (1979), the University of East Anglia, England (1986) and the University of Virginia (1990). Amongst the awards that he has received are the Convocation Distinguished Teacher’s Award (University of the Witwatersrand) and the Education Medal (South African Chemical Institute).


Francis A. Carey is a native of Pennsylvania, educated in the public schools of Philadelphia, at Drexel University (B.S. in chemistry, 1959), and at Penn State (Ph.D. 1963). Following postdoctoral work at Harvard and military service, he was appointed to the chemistry faculty of the University of Virginia in 1966. Prior to retiring in 2000, he regularly taught the two-semester lecture courses in general chemistry and organic chemistry. With his students, Professor Carey has published over forty research papers in synthetic and mechanistic organic chemistry.


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