Craig Merlic obtained his B.S. degree in Chemistry from the University of California, Davis in 1982. As a Fannie and John Hertz Foundation Graduate Fellow at the University of Wisconsin, Madison he earned his Ph.D. degree in Organic Chemistry in 1988. He was a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellow at Princeton University in the Department of Chemistry. He joined the faculty in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCLA in 1989. He served as Vice Chair for the Department from 1997 to 2000 and 2004 to 2008. At UCLA, he has received a National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award, a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, and an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship in addition to several teaching awards.
Professor Merlic's research focuses on applications of transition metal organometallic chemistry to organic synthesis and extends from catalysis to synthesis of new chemotherapeutic agents. He has invented new processes utilizing palladium and ruthenium catalysts, chromium arenes and carbenes, copper promoted coupling reactions, and devised an exceptionally efficient total synthesis of the calphostin family of protein kinase C inhibitors.
He created two award-winning Internet-based educational projects at UCLA. The first system, Virtual Office Hours, came online in 1995 and pioneered student-faculty communication through online question and answer sessions and delivery of instructional materials. The second project, WebSpectra, presents advanced nuclear magnetic resonance and infrared spectral problems in a unique manner and is used worldwide for teaching spectroscopy in organic chemistry.