Isabel Larraza

Isabel Larraza, Chemistry professor
Professor of Chemistry

At North Park since: 2011 

Dr. Isabel Larraza brings an international flair to her chemistry classrooms. Growing up and earning her degrees in Mexico gives her a unique perspective on the sciences and chemical industries in both the United States and Latin America, and their impacts on industry and medicine.

Dr. Larraza is passionate about making sure students have the attention from faculty, research experience, and access to state-of-the-art equipment that will prepare them for success in any graduate school or career. She also sits on the pre-professional committee that advises students who are interested in continuing on to health professions like medicine, dentistry, and pharmacology. “Because our classes are small, there is a high level of student engagement and personalized attention that promotes students’ academic success,” she says. “The department is also keeping pace in the acquisition of modern, state-of-the-art instrumentation for our labs, where students get involved in undergraduate research and have hands-on experiences very similar to what they will find in graduate school or the industry.”

One of these experiences is engaging the community in environmental awareness and improvement. Dr. Larraza’s classes work on a civic learning and urban engagement project with plastics recycling in the Chicago area. This investigation and application of green chemistry is one of her particular areas of research interest, along with organic synthesis and applications to medicinal chemistry.

Dr. Larraza is a member of the American Chemical Society, Council on Undergraduate Research, Midwestern Association of Chemistry Teachers in Liberal Arts Colleges, and the Associated Colleges of the Chicago Area.


  • Post-doctorate Studies, Carbohydrate Chemistry/Organic Synthesis, Purdue University
  • PhD, Organic Chemistry, National University of Mexico
  • MS, Organic Chemistry, National University of Mexico
  • BS, Organic Chemistry, National University of Mexico

Recent Publications

  • K.M. Joseph, I. Larraza-Sanchez. “Synthesis of Benzyl Bromides with Hexabromoacetone: An Alternative Path to Drug Intermediates.” Tetrahedron Letters vol 52 (2011): 13-16.
  • J. Achkar, I. Larraza, C.A. Johnson, and A. Wei. “Synthesis and Conformational Analysis of 6-C-Methyl-Substituted 2-Acetamido-2-deoxy-β-D-glucopyranosyl Mono- and Disaccharides” J. Org. Chem., vol 70 (2005): 214.
  • J. Achkar, I. Sanchez-Larraza, C.A. Johnson, A. Wei. “Synthesis and Conformational Analysis of 6-C-Methyl-Substituted 2-Acetamido-2-deoxy-ß-D-glucopyranosides.” Carbohydrate Research vol 337 (2002): 83.