Faculty Mentors

Professor Spencer Knapp was born in Baytown, TX, and raised in Tallmadge, OH.  As a Fellow of the Ford Foundation, he received degrees in 1972 and 1975 from Cornell. Following an NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard, he came to Rutgers.  His research interests include the synthesis of natural products, enzyme inhibitors, and complex ligands, and the development of new synthetic methods.  He developed GlcNAc-thiazoline inhibitors, which serve as powerful tools for understanding the human enzymes O-GlcNAcase and N-acetylhexosaminidases (the latter associated with Tay-Sachs and Sandoff’s diseases). He developed iodolactamization and the carbonimidothioate and N-benzoylcarbamate cyclizations; and natural products synthesized include griseolic acid, siastatin B, and capuramycin. He has collaborated with over 40 Rutgers undergraduates and has 21 publications with undergraduates as coauthors.  Many of these have gone on to top graduate schools, and now hold positions in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. Courses taught include Organic Chemistry and the Honors Seminar “Science in the News."


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