Professor Pohl received an A.B. degree from Harvard-Radcliffe College in 1991 (English and American literature and languages with the comparative study of religions) and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1997 (chemistry).
After an NIH postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford in chemical engineering, she started her independent career at Iowa State University in 2000. She was a professor of chemistry and of chemical and biological engineering and held the Wilkinson Professor of Interdisciplinary Engineering at Iowa State University before moving to Indiana University in summer 2012. At IU, Prof. Pohl is a Professor of Chemistry, holds the Joan and Marvin Carmack Chair in Bioorganic Chemistry, and serves as co-director of the graduate training program in quantitative and chemical biology (QCB).
Professor Pohl is an expert in the organic chemistry and chemical biology, especially as these areas relate to carbohydrates. Her group has developed the first solution-phase automated method to string together monosaccharide building blocks into more complex sugars. Her research interests include the development of more efficient and sustainable synthetic methods, the design of reagents and analytical methods to discover the identities of sugars and carbohydrate-binding proteins and to probe the immune system and host-pathogen interactions, and the design of therapeutics such as vaccines and biomaterials based on an understanding of how sugars can modulate immune responses.
Professor Pohl was awarded a Cottrell Scholar Award from Research Corporation in 2003, a National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2004, and an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship in 2005. She received the Horace S. Isbell Award from the Division of Carbohydrate Chemistry of the National American Chemical Society (ACS) in 2010 and will serve as the elected Chair of the division in 2013. She also currently serves as an elected officer on the executive committee for the Division of Biological Chemistry of the ACS. In 2020, Pohl was awarded Indiana University's Bicentennial Medal in recognition of her distinguished contributions and support of the university.