Canada Student Merit Award Recipient, Alex Akhundov

07 February 2024

Alex Akhundov - Canada Student Merit Winner 2023Alex Akhundov is a 2023 Canada Student Merit Award winner. He achieved this award for obtaining the highest standing of his class in the fourth and final year of his degree. Here is a brief biography of the winner.

Alex began his undergraduate studies at York University in 2019 as a recipient of the International Entrance Scholarship of Distinction. While there, Alex first spent two years working with Prof Ryan Hili on a medicinal chemistry project in the field of epitranscriptomics, developing small molecule inhibitors of a protein that binds modified RNA. He then joined the lab of Prof Christine Le to work in synthetic organic methodology, developing a stereoselective reaction to synthesise fluorinated lactams using difluorocarbene reagents. Alex graduated with his HBSc degree in chemistry in 2023, as the recipient of the Canadian Society for Chemistry Silver Medal, the American Chemical Society Outstanding Senior Organic Chemistry Student Award, and the Society for Chemical Industry Canada Student Merit Award.

Alex then started his PhD studies in organic chemistry as a Neubauer Family Distinguished Doctoral Fellow at the University of Chicago in 2023. His future research interests lie with exploring novel paradigms of reactivity, exploiting unique reactive intermediates and studying their mechanisms to develop new chemical reactions and strategies for constructing organic molecules. Alex decided to pursue the discipline of organic chemistry due to its intriguing blend of artistic creativity and analytical problem solving.

Alex was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, and has also lived in Uzbekistan, Romania, Canada, and the United States of America. Outside of science, Alex is a former dual-sport competitive athlete, having run the 400 m sprint at the European Youth Olympics and played at the FIBA Junior European Basketball Championship. He is also a passionate music fan and musician, mainly playing the drums and guitar, and also enjoys working in the visual arts, primarily through photography.

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