Garry Wins ACS/Merck Award

By Wendy Plump
Friday, Feb. 4, 2022

Olivia Garry, a fourth-year graduate student in the MacMillan Lab, has been named a 2022 Merck Award winner by the American Chemical Society’s Women Chemists Committee (WCC). Garry joins seven other women under the annual award.

An in-person ceremony is planned for August 2022, when the ACS will meet in Chicago. There, Garry will present a talk on her research along with the other winners. 

Olivia Garry, an ACS WCC award winner and fourth-year graduate student in the MacMillan Lab.
Olivia Garry, an ACS WCC award winner and fourth-year graduate student in the MacMillan Lab.
Photo by the Department of Chemistry

“I am very pleased and surprised,” said Garry. “I am excited to meet the other awardees, the WCC members, and affiliated Merck scientists. I am also looking forward to presenting at the symposium and learning about the other awardees' research.”

As part of the award, Garry will be assigned a dedicated mentor from Merck to provide career guidance and advice specifically geared to women navigating the STEM fields. 

Beryl Li, now a fifth-year graduate student in the MacMillan Lab, was selected for the award in 2021. Li intends to finish up her Ph.D. this semester, after which she will join Merck’s Discovery Chemistry program in South San Francisco, CA. 

In the MacMillan Lab, Garry’s research broadly focuses on the development of new photocatalytic methodologies for application in the pharmaceutical industry. This has included the development of a new isotopic-labeling protocol to enable tracking of a potential drug's biological fate, and novel strategies to synthesize strained polycyclic scaffolds of interest to the medicinal chemistry community.

Garry received her undergraduate degree from the University of Oxford, where she worked under Ed Anderson on ynamide and yndiamide chemistry. She has also worked with Scott Denmark’s group at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign on enantioselective dichlorinations. 

Garry plans to pursue a career in the pharmaceutical industry, specifically medicinal chemistry, upon completion of her Ph.D.