Professor Stephen T. Heller
Steve hails from Seattle, Washington, where he cultivated a taste for basketball, computer repair, and (now retro) gaming. Fed up with the grey months between November and July, and a steady diet of incompetent professional sports teams, Steve migrated against the historical tide of American expansion, traveling to the City of Broad Shoulders, where he graduated from the University of Chicago in 2005 with degrees in Chemistry and Sociology. While there, Steve studied under both Professor Luping Yu, developing synthetic routes to functional conjugated oligomers, and Professor Larry Hedges, studying the role that teacher quality plays in modulating the impact of class size on student achievement in mathematics.
Unsatisfied with the blistering summer, freezing winter... and the Cubs, Steve continued his trek East in hopes of greener pastures. Instead, he moved to New Jersey, where he worked as a medicinal chemist at Merck. Along with his efforts to discover medicines for inflammatory diseases, Steve began a sustained love affair with heterocyclic architectures, beginning his independent career by developing new methods for the efficient synthesis of both familiar and boutique ring systems.
Having exhausted the ability to move East without emigrating, Steve heeded the enduring advice of the American author, Horace Greeley, and decided to go West. After careful analysis of several quality-of-life variables, including weather, availability of public transit, and not requiring 49er's fandom, Steve moved to Berkeley, California, where he joined the laboratory of Professor F. Dean Toste in 2007 to study Pd(II), Au(I), and Pt(II)-catalyzed cycloisomerizations [Ed. note: resisted the urge to make a gold rush joke], earning a M.S. in Chemistry in 2009.
Steve then continued his graduate studies with Professor Richmond Sarpong, with whom he developed novel acylation processes utilizing carbonylazole reagents, many of which are now available from Sigma-Aldrich, and total syntheses of two Erythrina alkaloids, earning his Ph.D. in 2012.
Though the Bay Area had come to feel like home, Steve then completed his migratory cycle by returning to the Pacific Northwest in the summer of 2012 to start his independent career at Willamette University, where he taught introductory, organic, and physical organic chemistry.
One morning while preparing for class, Steve noticed that moss was beginning to grow on his extremities. Alarmed, Steve sought drier climes in Los Angeles, joining the faculty at Loyola Marymount University during the summer of 2016. He refuses to cheer for the Rams.
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
Loyola Marymount University
1 LMU Drive, MS 8888
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Sigma-Aldrich Student Innovation Award
UC Berkeley Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor
NSF Predoctoral Fellow
Merck Award of Excellence