Joseph "Joe" Topczewski

portrait of Professor Joseph "Joe" Topczewski

Joseph "Joe" Topczewski

Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry


Kolthoff Hall
Room 568B
225 Pleasant Street Se
Minneapolis, MN 55455

B.S. University of Wisconsin, 2007

Ph.D. University of Iowa, 2011, (David Wiemer)

Post Doctorate University of Iowa, 2011-2013 (Hien Nguyen and Daniel Quinn), University of Michigan, 2013-2015 (Melanie Sanford)

Research Interests

Organic Chemistry: synthesis, catalysis, and methodology

Inorganic & Organometallic Chemistry: synthesis, catalysis, and methodology

Chemical Biology: medicinal chemistry

We aim to invent transformative synthetic methods to reduce chemical waste generation, while simultaneously redefining how chemists approach making medicines. Today, synthesizing certain medicines generates >1,000 kilograms of chemical waste for each kilogram of drug. An increasing global demand, combined with a decreasing supply of resources, necessitates more sustainable syntheses.

Our lab discovers and optimizes innovative synthetic methods to address this 21st century challenge. Superior methods i) prevent unnecessary resource consumption, ii) minimize the generation of chemical waste, and iii) provide access to new chemical space. New chemical space contains molecular diversity with unknown potential.

Our current research focuses on i) enhancing chiral amine synthesis, ii) discovering salt-free coupling reactions, and iii) improving access to bromodomain inhibitors. These focus areas address specific longstanding synthetic challenges. Furthermore, our methods provide unique access to untapped chemical space, which we are exploring through collaboration for medicinal chemistry applications.

Professor Topczewski's organic chemistry research examples of medicinal chemistry, basic reactivity, methods, catalysis
Honors and Awards

National Science Foundation CAREER Award, 2020

Thieme Chemistry Journal Award, 2019

National Institutes of Health Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award for New and Early Stage Investigators, 2017

National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow, 2014-2015

American Chemical Society Division of Medicinal Chemistry Predoctoral Fellow, 2010-2011

A. Lynn Anderson Award for Excellence in Graduate Research, 2010

UW-Parkside Outstanding Graduate, 2007

Mailing Address

Joseph Topczewski
University of Minnesota
Department of Chemistry
B-9, 139 Smith Hall, 207 Pleasant St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455-0431