Ieva Reich was born in Latvia and came to the U. S. in 1950. She received her B.S. in chemistry from the University of Washington and her Ph.D. in organic chemistry from UCLA. While at UCLA, she studied the ion pair behavior carbonium ions using kinetics and isotopic labeling under the direction of Professor Saul Winstein. After an NIH-supported postdoctoral fellowship with Professor Wes Borden at Harvard University, where Reich worked on the synthesis of strained theoretically interesting hydrocarbons, she came to the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
She has been involved in a variety of synthetic and mechanistic projects including the development of organoselenium organotin organolithium methodology. Her more recent research has focused on the synthesis of oxidized derivatives of dehyroepiandrosterone in an effort to improve its bioactivity.
Reich is a noted instructor, who has dedicated more than a decade to implementing interactive learning in her undergraduate organic chemistry courses. She has found that—even in large classes—it is possible to engage and connect with the students and that this leads to a much more satisfying experience for the instructor as well as for the students.