Woonkee Jo is a native South Korean who was born in Lebanon (1998) because his parents were missionaries in the Middle East. He received his B.S. in pure chemistry from the American University of Beirut (AUB) with high distinction in 2019 and has also minored in philosophy. He was trained for two semesters under the supervision of Prof. Bilal R. Kaafarani during his undergraduate years and has worked on the synthesis of isoindigo-based materials for electronic applications. Woonkee then applied for his PhD programme at NYUAD which gave him the opportunity to spend one year in New York to complete his coursework. As a first-year graduate student, he had rotated with Professor Dirk Trauner’s group where he focused on a total synthesis project with Dr. Andrej Shemet. As of 2020, he has permanently joined Prof. Alan Healy’s group and his research focuses on developing and optimizing a systematic method for polyketide synthesis using novel auxiliaries.
Synthesis of Evans auxiliary derivatives which enables iterative aldol reactions followed by subsequent Chiral auxiliary cleavage via N to S acyl transfer employing cysteine-derived oxazolidinones.