Professor awarded $268,000 from National Institutes of Health for disease research
Timo Ovaska, the Hans and Ella McCollum ’21 Vahlteich Professor of Chemistry at Connecticut College, has been awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to continue research that could lead to the development of new medicines to treat a number of diseases, including cancer and bacterial and fungal infections.
The three-year, $268,096 grant gives Ovaska the opportunity to working to develop efficient methods for the synthesis of polycyclic cyclooctane-containing ring systems, many of which hold potential as lead compounds for medicines.
In 2009, Ovaska received a $207,000 grant from the NIH for the same research. Aside from the NIH grants, Ovaska’s research has received funding from American Chemical Society’s Petroleum Research Fund, Research Corporation for Science Advancement, and The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation.
The new funding will also provide stipends for nine Connecticut College students to conduct summer research with Ovaska and gain hands-on experience with advanced equipment and methods. The funding will also be used for equipment, supplies and support for a postdoctoral researcher in the Chemistry Department.
Ovaska, a member of the College faculty since 1990, has mentored more than 65 student researchers at the College, many of whom have gone on to graduate school to study chemistry or to medical school. To date, 19 of Ovaska’s students have been co-authors on his publications.
In 2010, he was the recipient of the College’s Nancy Batson Nisbet Rash Faculty Research Award, which is presented annually to a faculty member to recognize outstanding scholarly or artistic accomplishments.