The Free Rads hosted a Chemistry Major Interest Lunch on October 12 where they mingled with prospective majors. A representative member from each research lab gave a short presentation about their work. The majors were also able to share their advice on navigating the major while juggling other majors, interests, extracurricular activities, and study abroad. Nearly thirty prospective students participated while enjoying Italian food and informal conversation. Lunch was follwed by lab tours and students were able to peer inside the inner workings of several research labs to see what opportunities await them.
(submitted by Jing Jing Wang)
Nearly thirty students arrived to this event to learn about the major or impart advice on the major.
Free Radicals Officer, Theo Prachyathipsakul ‘19, explaining the requirements for the major and the differences between the A track and the B track.
Alexa Strauss ‘19, a Chemistry and MB&B double major.
And the Free Radicals live on! The Free Radicals held their first major event on October 6, the annual Tie-Dye Lab Coat event, where the chemistry majors gathered outside of Hall-Atwater on a beautiful Saturday afternoon to dye their own lab coats. The day was organized by the Free Radical officers, Theo Prachyathipsakul, David Cabanero, and Jing Jing Wang with assistance from Professor Andrea Roberts. Around twenty Free Rads enjoyed Thai food and decorated their glamorous new lab coats, courtesy of the Chemistry department. Seniors who already had a lab coat from last year tie-dyed shirts. The group also colorized scarves for Professor Roberts and our administrative staff members, Terry Emmons and Aracely Suto. Check out the pictures from this event below! (submitted by David Cabanero)
Dan Chung ’20 drips emerald dye onto his lab coat with flourish.
(From left to right): Chien Ho ’19, Alison Biester ’19, Giselle Reyes ’18, (MA ’19), David Cabanero ’19, and Sojeong Park ’18 (MA ’19)
(From left to right)” May Do ’20, Sydney Taylor-Klaus ’20, Jana O’Donnell ’19, and Dan Chung ’20
The Chemistry Department is delighted to welcome Dr. Alison O’Neil as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry and an affiliated member of the Neuroscience and Behavior Program. As the first neurochemist in the department, Prof. O’Neil adds a new strongly interdisciplinary dimension to research and teaching in Chemistry. Her recently renovated lab, in the space formerly occupied by Rex Pratt, will be using motor neurons derived from adult stem cells to study the protein aggregation that occurs in ALS and related diseases. This semester she is teaching new course, CHEM 323, Biochemistry of Neurodegenerative Disease.
Prof. O’Neil received her B.S. while doing proteomics research with Prof. Anna Tan-Wilson at Binghamton University. She then went on to join the Research and Development Team at LigoCyte Pharmaceuticals (now Takeda Vaccine) working on a vaccine for Norovirus. She then joined the Chemistry and Biochemistry department at Montana State University and earned her PhD under Prof. Trevor Douglas. Prof. O’Neil’s private sector and graduate work was based on designing materials based on viral capsid assemblies. For her post-doctoral studies, she worked on modeling and understanding neurodegenerative diseases using human stem cells at Harvard University. While at Harvard, Prof. O’Neil authored collaborative work with Google, Vertex, and Biogen Idec.
Prof. O’Neil’s interdisciplinary research will combine her biochemistry and stem cell training to investigate the role of protein aggregates in the progress of neurodegeneration. The Chemistry Department is very pleased to have her join us.
Dr. Tsagan (Tsagana) Ednyasheva successfully defended her PhD thesis, “Novel Asymmetric Syntheses of Rocaglates and Their Analogs through a Cinchona Alkaloid-Catalyzed Interrupted Feist-Bénary-Like Reaction”, on June 20, 2018. Tsagana came to Wesleyan in 2012 after receiving her combined Master’s/Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Moscow State University. She had also spent the summer of 2010 working in the Pratt lab, along with her cousin Liudmila (Liuda) Dzhekieva. Tsagana joined Prof. Calter’s lab in the fall of 2012 and worked on a number of projects before settling on a synthesis of the potent anticancer compound, rocaglamide. She developed a rapid synthesis of a new set of analogs of the rocaglamides, taking the Calter group further into medicinal chemistry than it had ever gone. After a long overdue trip to Russia to visit family and friends, Tsagana started her first PhD level job at Exemplify BioPharma, where she joins fellow Calter group alumnus Alexander (Sasha) Korotkov.
The undergraduate summer research fellows presented posters on their accomplishments on July 26. Twenty-six of the presentations were on work done in the Chemistry Department, representing nine different research groups. For more on the event, visit News @ Wesleyan. A list of the chemistry presenters is below the photographs.
“Expressing and Characterizing Heptosyltransferase Enzymes”
“Selectivity and Byproduct Formation in Thiol-Michael Reactions”
“Computational Studies on the Catalytic, Asymmetric ‘Interrupted’ Feist-Benary Reaction”
“Characterization of the solution speciation of vanadyl complexes through longitudinal and transverse relaxation times”
“Mapping the Allosteric Network of Glutathione Peroxidase-4 (GPX4)”
“Synthesizing Analogs of Anti-Cancer Molecule, Rocaglamide”
“Expression and Purification of Computationally Designed Mini-Proteins”
“Synthesis of 6-(aminomethyl) picolinate”
“Synthesis of Nigrospine”
“Synthesis of Bimetallic Palladium-Copper (Pd-Cu) & Silver-Platinum (Ag-Pt) Nanoparticles”
“Non-Linear Dependence of 1H Relaxation Rates on the Concentration of Copper Hexaaqua Ion”
“Investigation of Seed-Mediated Synthesis of Gold Containing Nanoparticles”
“Subcloning LpxE from pET-15b to pNGFP-BC”
“Modification of Pyridine Donating Groups in TPADA and TPAMA to Optimize Stability and Relaxivity”
“Fingerprinting Biomolecules and the Detection of Disease Markers Through the Use of Rhodium Nanocubes For Surface Enhanced Resonance Raman Spectroscopy”
“Synthesis and Study of a Water-soluble Macrocycle”
“Molecular Dynamics of the 530 Loop of the Ribosome”
“Computational Design of DNA Scaffold for Optimization of CryoEM”
“Conformational Isomerism of 1-Iodopentane and 1-Iodohexane”
“Dendrimer Synthesis via Highly Efficient Thiol-Michael Reactions”
“The Synthesis of a Probe for Lignin Depolymerization Detection”
“Kinetic Ensemble Refinement Improves Protein NMR Structures”
“Mutagenesis of E. coli Heptosyltransferase I to Disrupt Enzyme Dynamics and Chemistry”
“Ab Initio Investigation of Radical Organic Compounds”
“Electrochemical Synthesis of Gold Concave Nanocubes”
“A Computational, Energetic Analysis of the Roles of Initiators in Thiol-Vinylsulfone Reactions”
The Annual Chemistry Department Summer Picnic was held on June 27. In addition to being a nice break from the usual routine, the annual picnic serves as an effective way of zeroing out the department’s discretionary budget before the end on the fiscal year. Students, staff, and faculty enjoyed the traditional grilled treats. Fireworks (commercial and legal, of course) were a highlight.
A total of thirty-nine degrees in Chemistry were awarded on May 27 at the 186th Commencement. The department proudly congratulates all its new alumni/alumnae.
Ph.D. recipients: Joy Cote
M.A. recipients: Paul Brauchle
Yoon Jeong Choi
B.A. recipients: Abby Cahn-Gambino
Joanna Korpanty (with High Honors)
Ji Yoon Park
Daniel Robertson (with High Honors)
David Solti (with Honors)
Aaron Stone (with Honors)
Jeanette Thornton (with High Honors)
Ann-Dorie Webley (with Honors)
Associate Professor of Chemistry Erika Taylor has been named a recipient of the Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching. The prize is awarded by the Wesleyan University Alumni Association to recognize excellence in teaching, as exemplified by commitment to the classroom and student accomplishment, intellectual demands placed on students, lucidity, and passion. In the past few years Prof. Taylor has taught courses in sophomore organic chemistry, biochemistry, medicinal chemistry, and environmental chemistry. She joins four other members of the department who have previously received the prize (Michael Calter, Andrea Roberts, Irina Russu, and T. David Westmoreland).
The Prize will be formally presented at Commencement on May 27.