Dept to Welcome 43 grad students; Sorensen new Director of Grad Studies

By Wendy Plump
Friday, May. 13, 2022

The Department of Chemistry is pleased to welcome the new 2022/2023 graduate student cohort, in which 43 students have decided to matriculate, beginning this summer and fall.

In addition, the Department announces that Erik Sorensen will be the new director of graduate studies as of July 1. Sorensen, the Arthur Allan Patchett Professor in Organic Chemistry, succeeds Robert Knowles, who has held the post since 2019.

Erik Sorensen, the new Director of Graduate Studies, teaching in Taylor Auditorium.
Erik Sorensen, the Department's new Director of Graduate Studies, teaching in Taylor Auditorium. 
Photo by C. Todd Reichart

“I’d like to acknowledge and thank Rob for three excellent years as our director of graduate studies, a role that demands tact, wisdom, and a lot of extra work,” said Department Chair Gregory Scholes, the William S. Todd Professor of Chemistry. “As for Erik, he’s always been one of our best teachers and relishes being in the classroom. Now, an even wider swath of students will have the privilege of getting to know him and his inimitable passion for chemistry.”

Sorensen received his B.A. in chemistry from Syracuse University and his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego. He started his independent career at The Scripps Research Institute, and in 2003 moved his research group to Princeton.

“I consider it a very high honor to have been asked to serve as our next director of graduate studies,” said Sorensen. “I’ve always valued my role as teacher and mentor in the graduate program, and I am very proud of that program. Now, I am more than delighted to have this opportunity to maintain and perhaps even expand on its excellence.”

The Sorensen Lab works in the field of complex chemical synthesis pursuing questions about the structural origins of architecturally unique natural products, and evaluating hypotheses about the chemical basis of the biological activities of natural products and non-natural molecules.

Click here to watch a video interview on Sorensen's work and his philosophy of teaching.