Faculty Profile: Virginia Cornish

Professor Virginia Cornish

Virginia Cornish

Helena Rubinstein Professor, Department of Chemistry


“When I graduated from Columbia in 1991 and left New York City, it seemed a world away from my home in Savannah, Georgia. I went from a high school that did not offer Calculus to taking graduate courses in organic chemistry my senior year at Columbia. I read Yeats, saw Pollini play Chopin at Carnegie Hall, and ate foie gras for the first time. I made some of my best friends to this day. I cannot imagine my life today without Columbia.”


Professor Cornish '91CC supervises undergraduate research in her laboratory each year. Her specialty is the interface of chemistry and biology, bringing together modern methods in synthetic chemistry and DNA technology to expand the synthetic capabilities of living cells.

Undergraduate Courses Taught

  • Frontiers of Science
  • Chemical Biology