Oyinda Oyelaran knew she was going to follow a path of inquiry while in high school in Nigeria. After graduating from high school, she immigrated to the U.S. and spent one semester taking Advanced Placement classes in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County (NC) Schools. She attended and graduated from Salem College summa cum laude with honors in chemistry. During her time at Salem, she conducted research through the NSF-Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Programs at the University of Oregon and the University of Virginia, and at Merck Research Laboratories (MRL).
Upon graduation from Salem, she spent two years conducting research in medicinal chemistry at MRL, after which she pursued graduate studies in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University as an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship awardee and a UNCF-Merck Graduate Research Dissertation Fellow, earning her PhD in 2005. Her graduate work with Prof. Matthew Shair focused on the syntheses of ingenol and cephalostatin 1. From 2005-2006, she worked as a Technical Specialist at the Washington, D.C. office of Foley & Lardner, LLP. From 2006-2009, she was a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute in the laboratory of Dr. Jeffrey Gildersleeve. Her research in the Gildersleeve lab focused on synthesis of carbohydrate antigens and developing a carbohydrate microarray platform and process for profiling anti-carbohydrate serum antibodies. She received an NCI Director’s Intramural Innovation Award in recognition and support of her work. From 2009-2011, she was an Assistant Professor of Bioorganic Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry at Williams College, where she taught courses in organic chemistry and medicinal chemistry. Her research at Williams focused on elucidating the relationship between carbohydrate blood group antigens and susceptibility to severe malaria.
Oyinda joined the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology (CCB) at Northeastern University in 2011. She teaches Organic Chemistry I & II for majors and non-majors. She also developed and has taught a course on the medicinal chemistry of tropical diseases. She was program director of CCB’s NSF-REU site program from 2014-2016 and has been co-PI of the program since 2018.