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P.J. Alaimo, PhD

Professor and Department Chair


Teaching and Research Interests

The Alaimo research group works to develop methods for the synthesis of biologically important heterocycles. Currently, we are investigating the synthesis of dihydropyridinones, a class of nitrogen-containing heterocycles that have captured the interest of both chemists and biologists for their potential as potent and selective antibiotics, antifungal, and anti-tumor agents. In all of our work, we strive to develop methods that are environmentally benign, while generating the desired target molecules in high yield and with high stereoselectivity.

Dr. Alaimo teaches numerous courses in introductory organic, synthetic, physical organic, and bioorganic chemistry. He also teaches a course on the science of cooking that includes demonstrations by many of the top chefs from restaurants in Seattle.


As an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, Dr. Alaimo studied both chemistry and philosophy, earning his B.S. degree in 1994. He conducted undergraduate research under the direction of Prof. Brian P. Coppola, investigating regiodirecting effects in 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition reactions used in the synthesis of munchnones and imidazolium oxides. PJ earned his Ph.D. degree working with Prof. Robert G. Bergman at UC Berkeley (1994 – 1999). His graduate research was at the interface of physical organic and inorganic chemistry, studying the reaction mechanism of organometallic complexes undergoing unusual C-H bond activation reactions. Dr. Alaimo spent 1999 – 2004 as a Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation fellow and as an American Cancer Society fellow studying chemical genetics in the labs of Prof. Kevan Shokat at UC San Francisco. There he designed, synthesized, and tested PI (phosphatidylinositol) 3-kinase inhibitors, which are used to decode the cellular signaling pathways of this important enzyme class. PJ began his career at Seattle University as an assistant professor of chemistry in 2004; he was promoted to associate professor in 2010, and to full professor in 2015.