Seth Herzon appointed the Milton Harris ’29 Ph.D. Professor of Chemistry
Seth B. Herzon, newly appointed as the Milton Harris ’29 Ph.D. Professor of Chemistry, is a synthetic organic chemist.
Herzon’s research group has developed methods to recreate many different natural products — small molecules produced by plants, animals, or bacteria — in the laboratory. Many of these compounds possess biological functions: for example, some are being developed as antibiotics to treat drug-resistant bacterial infections. In a second line of inquiry, Herzon’s laboratory has made important contributions toward elucidating the molecular mechanism of gut bacteria-associated colorectal cancers. This research provides a blueprint for the design of novel therapeutic strategies to prevent colorectal cancer. In addition, a large part of his research focuses on the synthesis and preclinical evaluation of DNA-damaging agents as potential chemotherapies.
A graduate of Temple University, Herzon earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Harvard University. He conducted postdoctoral research in organometallic chemistry at the University of Illinois before beginning his academic career as an assistant professor of chemistry at Yale in 2008. Prior to his new appointment, he served as a full professor of chemistry and, since 2015, has held an additional appointment as a professor of pharmacology at the Yale School of Medicine. He is a member of the Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Developmental Therapeutics Program at the School of Medicine.
Herzon has published more than 60 peer-reviewed articles in professional journals. He has served as a scientific consultant for several corporations, including Merck, Genentech, and Novartis. His research has been funded, in part, with grants from the National Institutes of Health.
The Yale professor is the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER award. He has received fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan and the David and Lucile Packard Foundations. Among many other honors, he has received the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award from the American Chemical Society, the Thieme–IUPAC Award, the Tetrahedron Young Investigator Award, and the Elias J. Corey Award for Outstanding Original Contribution in Organic Synthesis by a Young Investigator.