Brian Northrop: Assistant Professor Joins Chemistry Department

Brian Northrop, assistant professor of chemistry, will teach Principles of Chemistry in Fall 2009. (Photo by Bill Burkhart)

Brian Northrop, assistant professor of chemistry, will teach Principles of Chemistry in Fall 2009. (Photo by Bill Burkhart)

Brian Northrop has joined the Chemistry Department as the assistant professor of chemistry.

His research focuses on the design, synthesis and analysis of new organic materials utilizing molecular recognition, self-assembly and dynamic covalent chemistry.

“I wanted to work at a school that has a strong emphasis on teaching and the liberal arts, but I also really enjoy doing high-level research in chemistry and Wesleyan allows me to do both,” Northrop says. “Wesleyan is unique in it’s size and strengths, and I’m very excited to be here.”

Northrop graduated from Middlebury College in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and minors in physics and math. After working in the flavor laboratory at Nestlé in New Milford, Conn., Northrop started graduate school at the University of California, Los Angeles, finishing with a Ph.D in 2006. There, he used experimental and theoretical techniques to study a variety of problems in physical organic and organic materials such as sigmatropic rearrangements, mechanically-interlocked molecules, molecular motors, self-assembly and dynamic covalent chemistry.

Through a National Science Foundation-sponsored Materials Creation Training Program, Northrop spent an additional five months at Bell Laboratories/Lucent Technologies (now Alcatel-Lucent) investigating organic semiconductors.

He was a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at the University of Utah between 2006-09, focusing his research on the design and synthesis of metal-organic supramolecules via coordination-driven self-assembly.

Next fall, he will teach Principles of Chemistry I (CHEM 145) with Stewart Novick, professor of chemistry. He’s also developing a course on materials chemistry and nanoscience, which he will teach in the spring.

Northrop is the co-author of more than 35 articles published in prominent chemistry journals. His papers titled “Introduction of Heterofunctional Groups onto Molecular Hexagons via Coordination-Driven Self-Assembly,” “Geometry Directed Self-Selection in the Coordination-Driven Self-Assembly of Irregular Supramolecular Polygons” and “Synthesis of Six-Component Metallodendrimers via [3+3] Coordination-Driven Self-Assembly,” were all published in the Journal of Organic Chemistry in 2009.

Aside from developing the new course and setting up his lab, Northrop plans to immerse himself in the Wesleyan community.

“I’d like to take advantage of the many additional opportunities Wesleyan provides, such as the film and art events, and watching hockey and football games,” he says.

Outside the lab, Northrop enjoys downhill skiing, hiking, racing triathlons and spending time with his wife, Elizabeth, and their four-month-old daughter, Darcey.