Stern Hires New Organic Chemistry Professor Following Mintzer’s Departure

By: Ruthie Klein  |  May 9, 2017

chem prof

A new full-time chemistry professor, Dr. Ran Drori, will be starting at Stern College in the upcoming fall semester in the place of longtime professor Dr. Evan Mintzer. Drori is a post-doctoral researcher at New York University, and will be teaching Biochemistry and Organic Chemistry, which are both mandatory for the Biochemistry and Chemistry majors and commonly taken by pre-med students.

Rapp said that the selection committee was “pleased to receive interest from an outstanding group of candidates.” The selection involved a national search to screen candidates in the post-doctoral phase of their career. She described hiring more full-time faculty as enabling Yeshiva University to “offer more courses, provide more research opportunities, and overall better serve the needs of our students.”

Even prior to learning which chemistry course Drori would be teaching, students expressed pleasure at this development. According to several biology and chemistry majors, chemistry courses at Stern are considered primary weed-out courses—in other words, designed to pick out the best candidates for medical school through “survival of the fittest.” Some hope the new course will be easier than others in order to boost the morale of younger undergraduates hoping for careers in medicine and other sciences. Said an anonymous junior, “I hope this new professor teaches a rigorous, informative course while also encouraging young women interested in the sciences to pursue their goals and help them get the support that they need if they are struggling.”

Drori is a “first rate researcher and teacher who is a leading expert in the field of ice crystallization and antifreeze binding proteins,” explained Dr. Chaya Rapp, the current chair of the Biochemistry and Chemistry departments at Stern and longtime professor of its General Chemistry course. “His research spans the fields of chemistry, biochemistry and biophysics and so we anticipate that it will appeal to a broad range of students. He is a great communicator with a contagious enthusiasm for science.”

Dr. Drori described his research to The Observer as involving “a family of remarkable proteins that bind to the surface of ice crystals and inhibit their growth. These unique proteins, which are termed antifreeze proteins, allow fish, insects and other organisms to survive at sub-freezing temperature. Using advanced microscopy, I plan to study how plants respond to low temperatures and ice formation, with an ultimate goal to develop frost-resistant plants.”

Drori’s hiring fills a vacancy from the departure of Adjunct Assistant Professor of Chemistry Dr. Evan Mintzer, who had been teaching at Stern since 2007. Mintzer has served as the Deputy Chair of Chemistry and Physics at Touro’s Lander College for Arts and Sciences since September 2014, where he will be continuing in a reportedly upgraded position.