• Enver Cagri Izgu
  • Assistant Professor
  • Research Synopsis: Synthesis, catalysis, and chemical biology of organic molecules. Design and application of functional polymers of both biological and non-biological nature. Bio-orthogonal methods for diagnosis and treatment of human diseases.
  • Phone: (848) 445-4361



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.


Research Synopsis

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., Middle East Technical University, 2002-2006 (Advisor: Ozdemir Dogan)

Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 2006-2012 (Advisor: Thomas R. Hoye)

Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital, 2012-2017 (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



Izgu Research Group

Cancer Institute of New Jersey

Rutgers Center for Lipid Research