Enver Cagri Izgu obtained a B.Sc. degree in chemistry from the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Turkiye, where he studied asymmetric organic catalysis with Ozdemir Dogan. Dr. Izgu then earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Minnesota under the tutelage of Thomas Hoye. During graduate research, he conducted the total synthesis of structurally complex and biologically potent natural plant products, developed synthetic methodologies, and designed chemical tools for NMR spectroscopic investigations of chiral carbinols. Intrigued by the grand challenge of understanding the emergence of cellular life, he undertook a postdoctoral position in the lab of Jack Szostak at Harvard University. There, he studied the biochemistry of genetic polymers and explored protocell models that display evolutionarily useful functions by harnessing the chemical and structural properties of small molecules, nucleic acids, peptides, and lipids.
Izgu Lab has an interdisciplinary research program with a major aim to advance biotechnology and medicine by combining synthetic organic chemistry, chemical biology, and biomaterials. Specifically, we are developing (bio)molecular tools and chemoenzymatic and bioorthogonal methods to 1) better combat infectious organisms and human pathologies, 2) generate functional membranes and nucleic acid polymers with superior traits not accessible in nature, and 3) untangle complex physiochemical processes associated with cellular dysfunctions.
Group members have the opportunity to learn a wide array of lab techniques and carry out both basic and applied research in a highly collaborative environment.
B.Sc., METU (Advisor: Ozdemir Dogan)
Ph.D., University of Minnesota (Advisor: Thomas R. Hoye)
Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital (Advisor: Jack W. Szostak)
Honors and Awards
Interstellar Initiative, The New York Academy of Sciences and Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development
The NIH / NIBIB Trailblazer Award
Charles and Johanna Busch Biomedical Grant Award
American Cancer Society, Institutional Research Grant Early Investigator Award
Arthur Klorfein Scholarship, Marine Biological Laboratory
NASA Travel Award, Gordon Research Conference for Origins of Life, Galveston
Highest Distinction, Ranked #1 in Chemistry, METU, Turkey
Young Scientists Award (National Bachelors Scholarship Program), The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey