Professor Merlic obtained his B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of California, Davis in 1982 and his Ph.D. in organic chemistry as a Hertz Foundation Fellow at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1988. After a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellowship at Princeton University he joined the faculty in the UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in 1989.
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. His most recent work focuses on copper, iridium and palladium catalyzed cross coupling reactions. He has published almost 70 papers in peer-reviewed journals and received a National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, and a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Petroleum Research Fund and various corporate sponsors.
He created award-winning Internet-based educational projects for course management and teaching spectroscopy in organic chemistry. These projects earned a MERLOT Award for Exemplary Online Learning Resources, a StudySphere Award of Excellence and a StudyWeb Excellence Award. In addition, for his in-class teaching he received a Hanson-Dow Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Professor Merlic has been very active promoting chemical safety at UCLA and in the University of California system. He serves as chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Safety Committee and chair of the campus-wide Chemical and Physical Safety Committee and is a member of the UCLA Safety Oversight Committee. At the University of California system-wide level, he directs an information technology group creating safety software tools for use at all ten university campuses. He received an Outstanding Product Owner award from UC Davis Information Technology Services for his leadership directing a software development team.