Nicola Pohl, professor of chemistry and the Joan and Marvin Carmack Chair in Bioorganic Chemistry, received her B.A. degree from Harvard College in 1991 and her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1997. Following an NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Stanford University, she joined the faculty at Iowa State University in the fall of 2000. She was a professor of chemistry and of chemical and biological engineering and held the Wilkinson Professor of Interdisciplinary Engineering at Iowa State University before moving to Indiana University in summer 2012.
Her research interests focus on developing synthetic, analytical, and automated methods—including the design of digital native reactions—to help understand and thereby exploit the differential reactivity and shapes of carbohydrates. She also leads a group of researchers in finding new ways to make and analyze sugars to dissect their important roles in plant, animal, and human biology. One of the major long-term goals of this research group is to rationally design therapeutic interventions such as vaccines and glycoproteins based on a deeper knowledge of the role of carbohydrates.
A 2019-2020 Fulbright Scholar, Nikki Pohl has been recognized for her independent work by the National Science Foundation with a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award in 2004-2009, with a Cottrell Scholar Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement in 2003-2008, by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation as a research fellow in 2005-2007, and by the American Chemical Society Division of Carbohydrate Chemistry with the Horace S. Isbell Award in 2010 and the Melville Wolfram Award in 2018. During the 2017-18 academic year, Nikki was a fellow of the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University and a visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and, currently she serves on the editorial advisory boards of Organic Letters and The Journal of Organic Chemistry, and is a permanent study section member at the National Institutes of Health.
Here on campus, Nikki is the leader of the new initiative for Women Faculty in STEM-M for the Center of Excellence for Women in Technology; she serves as a member of the College of Arts and Sciences Committee on Undergraduate Education (CUE); she is a member of the Innovation Gymnasium (I-Gym) University Committee; a member of the IU Transportation Working Group in the Office of Sustainability; and co-directs the Graduate Training Program in Quantitative and Chemical Biology, funded by the NIH.