Isaiah R. Speight, PhD
Updated: Apr 28
Visiting Scientist, AbbVie Inc.
Western Regional Chair, NOBCChE
Assistant Professor of Chemistry, William & Mary (Aug. 2023)
“People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan, so let’s make a plan.” -Tracey D. Woods (my mom)
“Everything you’ve learned was by surprise one way or another.” -Lupe Fiasco
Dr. Isaiah Speight is a native of Portsmouth, Virginia in the Hampton-Roads area. He earned his B.S. in chemistry in 2016 from Norfolk State University. During this time, he did undergraduate research in polymer and carbohydrate synthesis. Isaiah then moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where he completed his Ph.D. as a Provost’s Graduate Fellow at Vanderbilt University with Prof. Timothy Hanusa. During his time as a Ph.D. student, Isaiah developed new mechanochemical methods for making inorganic and organometallic compounds, resulting in three first author publications. Following his doctoral work, Isaiah became a NIGMS Postdoctoral Fellow at University of California, Irvine. His research focused on the development of new technologies for amide reduction and bond formation. Isaiah is currently a Visiting Scientist at Abbvie Inc. in New Chemistry and Continuous Improvement Group where his work focuses on green synthesis of pharmaceutical targets. Following this, Isaiah will join the faculty at William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA in August of 2023 as an assistant professor. His research group will focus on new methods of catalysis, 3D printing of mechanochemical equipment, new AR tools for chemical education, and other mechanochemical advancements. In addition to his bench work, Isaiah works very closely with the National Organization for Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE), initially serving on the Executive Board previously as their National Student Representative and currently as their Western Regional Director. Outside of his professional space, Isaiah is an avid basketball fan, anime watcher, and gamer.