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Chemistry Faculty: Kenneth Laali, Ph.D.

Dr. Kenneth Laali headshot

Presidential Professor of Chemistry

Office: Science & Engineering (Building 50), Room 3630
Lab: Science & Engineering (Building 50), Room 3634

Phone: (904) 620-1503


Education and Previous Positions

Bachelor of Science (Honors) - University of Tehran 1973

Ph.D. - University of Manchester 1977

Postdoctoral Research (1977-1985) - King's College London; University of Strasbourg; University of Amsterdam; ETH-Zurich; University of Southern California

Previous Faculty Appointment - Kent State University (1985-2009) 


Dr. Laali teaches organic chemistry lecture and laboratory, advanced organic chemistry and 4000 level electives focusing on structure and mechanism, problem solving, and organic spectroscopy.

Research Activity

Research in the Laali laboratory over the years has focused on multifaceted projects that combine synthetic, structural/mechanistic, spectroscopic, and theoretical approaches to solving diverse problems in organic chemistry. These broad-based projects encompass biological chemistry, green chemistry, and materials chemistry focus areas.

Dr. Laali's research programs are currently focused on the following areas in organic chemistry:

Current focus areas 

  • Synthesis of novel curcuminoids as potential anti-tumor drugs:
  • Organofluorine Chemistry and synthesis of fluorinated analogs of pharmaceuticals
  • Application of Ionic Liquids as novel solvents and catalysts for organic synthesis and green chemistry
  • Development of new synthetic methods and their application

Research Group

Postdoctoral Fellows, Visiting Scientists, Visiting Ph.D. Students, and Research Interns

  • Dr. Aridoss Gopalakrishnan (2009-2011)
  • Dr. Rajesh Kalkhambkar (2009-2011)
  • Dr. GKS Narayana Kumar (2011-2012)
  • Dr. Ganesh C. Nandi (2012-2013)
  • Dr. A. Srinivas Reddy (2013-2014)
  • Dr. Takao Okazaki - Visiting Scientist on sabbatical from Mie-University – Spring 2013
  • Dr. Gabriela Borosky - Visiting Scientist from University of Cordoba, Argentina - 2014
  • Dr. Arezu Jamalian - Visiting Scientist from Azad University, Tehran - Fall 2013/Spring 2014
  • Rok Prebil - Visiting Ph.D. student from Josef Stefan Institute, Slovenia - Fall 2012
  • Daniel Insuasty Delgado - Visiting Ph.D. student from Cali-Colombia - Spring 2014
  • William Greves – MChem degree student from Cardiff - 2016-2017
  • Sarah Waters-Nix; BS CHM research intern - Summer 2018
  • Luisa Fernanda, Visiting MS Research Intern from Cali-Colombia - Spring 2018
  • Yuki Segemura, Visiting MS Research Intern from Mie-University/Japan - Fall 2019 and Spring 2020

UNF Undergraduate Research Students and PostBacs (2016-2020)

  • Angela Zwarycz (recipient of a UNF undergraduate research grant)
  • Dawn Raja Somu (was voted outstanding chemistry graduate)
  • Nicholas Beck
  • Alberta Pengo
  • Yanni Moraitas
  • Michael Vento
  • Trevor Rogers (new Fall 2021)
  • Florencia Rossi (new Fall 2021)
  • Joseph Drinkwater (new Fall 2021)
  • Sebastian Correa Smits (continuing)

UNF Research Students who have since Graduated

  • Philip Azar
  • Nathan Whisman
  • Ali Zohaib
  • Jonathan Jacoway
  • Ashley Compaan
  • Sarah Waters
  • Jessica Crowe
  • James Ponder (PhD Georgia Tech; Postdoctoral Fellow in London)
  • Orlando Castro
  • Benjamin Rathman (PhD student at USF)
  • Angela Zwarycs (UF-Pharmacy Graduate Program)
  • Nicholas Beck (FSU Chemistry Graduate Program)
  • Dawn Raja Somu (FAU Chemistry Graduate Program)

Publications and Citations

Please see Dr. Laali's extensive list of research publications.  Also, see the ARKIVOC 2018 Commemorative Issue honoring Dr. Laali.  To donate in support of Dr. Laali’s ongoing research on drug discovery involving UNF students:  Use the “Designation” drop-down arrow to select “Other”. When the “Other” information box appears enter 'Laali Research Fund'.

Undergraduate Research Opportunity

Interested senior and junior students should contact Dr. Laali to discuss the prospects.

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