Dr. Laura Kopff | Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

Dr. Laura Kopff

Science Faculty


Dr. Kopff was born and raised in Saint Louis, MO, and the majority of her family still lives there. She always enjoyed learning about science, but it was a photography class in junior high that really got her interested in chemistry. They learned to develop their own film and print their own pictures, and learning the science behind the art, as well as spending all that time in the darkroom, was a lot of fun. She went to college at Truman State University where she studied both Chemistry and Philosophy/Religion and spent a lot of time doing chemistry research on using soybeans to remove heavy metals from contaminated soil, and computational chemistry research on the mechanisms for neutralizing the chemical warfare agent VX. After college she moved up to Madison, WI where she earned her PhD in organic chemistry from UW-Madison, with a focus on astrochemistry. She spent a lot of time doing organic synthesis and simulating outer space in the lab, trying to identify what molecules are/could be found in the cold, dark regions between stars. (spoiler alert: a lot of them are molecules that are too reactive to ever exist here on Earth) After graduate school she spent several years teaching general and organic chemistry at Roosevelt University in Chicago, before coming to IMSA in 2017. At IMSA she regularly teaches Scientific Inquiries – Chemistry, Advanced Chemistry, and Organic Chemistry. When she’s not teaching, Dr. Kopff enjoys baking, playing handbells, reading mystery and sci-fi/fantasy books, and watching documentaries (especially nature or science ones).


Office: B147
Phone: x5901
Email: lkopff@imsa.edu