Chemistry and Biochemistry

BYU Alumnus Receives Prestigious Postdoctoral Fellowship

Posted: in Alumni, Oct 16, 2014

BYU alumnus, Brad Loertscher, recently received the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

NIH, which is a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the world’s largest source of funding for medical research. 

Loertscher worked in Dr. Steve Castle’s lab while at BYU.  Castle said of the award, “This is a very prestigious and competitive fellowship. Applicants are judged both on the quality of their proposed research and on the quality of the research they performed as a graduate student.” 

Loertscher began his undergraduate studies at Utah State University and transferred to BYU-Idaho where he received his B.S. in Chemistry. He chose BYU (Provo) for his graduate studies, where he worked on the total synthesis of two natural products, Lyconadin A and Cranomycin, and graduated with a PhD in Organic Chemistry. “I think my time at BYU was great preparation for my time as a postdoc,” Loertscher said. “Sometimes I feel that there is still a lot I don’t know, but the chemistry program at BYU gave me the tools I need to succeed in my career in chemistry.”

Loertscher’s NIH funded research, which will continue for the next three years, involves the synthesis of disulfide compounds that are being tested for anticancer activity.  When asked what he is most excited for, Loertscher answered “In about a year, I hope to begin teaching part-time. I am excited for an opportunity to teach about chemistry and introduce a new generation of students to the very exciting world of organic chemistry.”

Article by Jordan Wright

Photo courtesy of Brad Loertscher