Bringing a Love of Research and Teaching to CSUSM
By David Ogul
“I enjoy instructing and molding the minds of our future generation because the students in the classroom today will be the researchers in the labs solving critical problems tomorrow.”
– Dr. Robert Iafe
Dr. Robert Iafe has the best of both worlds.
On the cutting edge of organic chemistry research and whose Ph.D. dissertation was titled “Palladium(II)-Catalyzed Reactions of Pinacol Vinylboronates: New Cyclization Strategies to Prepare Polyene Macrocycles and Transannular Diels-Alder Cycloaddition Substrates,” Iafe gets to meld his love of discovery with another passion – teaching – as an assistant professor at Cal State San Marcos.
“I love organic chemistry research because I get to push the frontiers of our knowledge of the chemical and physical world, and using this knowledge, we can apply it to the preparation of pharmaceuticals and materials where we can save lives or make lives easier,” Iafe said. “As for teaching, this is a passion that started in graduate school. I enjoy instructing and molding the minds of our future generation because the students in the classroom today will be the researchers in the labs solving critical problems tomorrow. I love inspiring the next-generation chemist, but the next-generation chemist needs to understand classical principles in order to develop new theories.”
Besides, Iafe still engages in research at CSUSM; his research interests are manipulating organic compounds for pharmaceutical uses. Best of all, his students are heavily involved in his projects. In fact, Iafe last year earned the Award for Outstanding Faculty Student Collaboration, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, at CSUSM.
Born in San Diego and raised in El Cajon, Iafe said he feels at home at CSUSM.
“There is a very supportive environment here,” he said. “The students are very professional and very respectful. I’m impressed every single day.”