Council on Undergraduate Research Honors Haverford College’s Lou Charkoudian

Lou Charkoudian, an associate professor of chemistry at Haverford College in Pennsylvania, is the inaugural recipient of the Silvia Ronco Innovative Mentor Award from the Council on Undergraduate Research. This award honors a tenure-track faculty member within 10 years of their first faculty appointment who demonstrates success in chemical sciences and whose mentoring practices have supported undergraduate research.

“This award holds a special place in my heart because it aligns so closely with my priorities,” said Dr. Charkoudian. “I work hard to create an inclusive undergraduate training environment in which we can let our authentic selves shine, chase down big dreams, lean on one another for support, and celebrate wins big and small. It honestly feels like a dream come true to receive recognition for work that fuels me with so much joy and purpose.”

Dr. Charkoudian’s lab studies how nature creates structurally complex molecules, and uses bioorganic chemistry, biochemistry, and biophysics to understand and discover new ways to make molecules. She notes that the team is currently at an exciting crossroads, “merging our innovations in system exploration and tool development to explore whether proteins from different pathways can be mixed-and-matched to unlock environmentally sustainable access to ‘unnatural natural products,’ or molecules that nature does not encode directly but can be made by strategically harnessing nature’s machinery.”

Dr. Charkoudian joined the faculty at Haverford College in 2013 and was promoted to associate professor in 2019. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Haverford College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. She holds a Ph.D. in bioinorganic chemistry from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

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