Free Radicals Proselytize for the Chem Major

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.

The Tie-Dye Tradition Continues

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

Jaina Wollowitz ’20, and Jessica Garcia ’19

Some chemistry majors and their masterpieces

Dr. Alison O’Neil Joins The Chemistry Department

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.

Tsagana Ednyasheva receives PhD

Dr. Tsagana Ednyasheva

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.

26 Chemistry Students Present at the Research and Science Poster Session

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.

 

Eija Kent '19, Tenzin Ngodup '20, and Sonja Welch '20 stand in front of their posters
Eija Kent ’19, Tenzin Ngodup ’20, and Sonja Welch ’20

 

Image of Professor Carlos Jimenez-Hoyos and David Cabanero '19 standing in front of a poster discussing the project
Professor Carlos Jimenez-Hoyos and David Cabanero ’19

 

Image of Professor Michelle Personick and Frank Tucci '19 pointing out information on a poster to Professor Michelle Personick
Professor Michelle Personick and Frank Tucci ’19

 

Image of Rochelle Spencer '20 discussing her poster with Giselle Reyes (Grad)
Rochelle Spencer ’20 and Giselle Reyes ’18, MA ’19

 

Brynn Assignon “Expressing and Characterizing Heptosyltransferase Enzymes”
Alison Biester “Selectivity and Byproduct Formation in Thiol-Michael Reactions”
David Cabanero “Computational Studies on the Catalytic, Asymmetric ‘Interrupted’ Feist-Benary Reaction”
Grace Chen “Characterization of the solution speciation of vanadyl complexes through longitudinal and transverse relaxation times”
Dan Chung “Mapping the Allosteric Network of Glutathione Peroxidase-4 (GPX4)”
Mary Do “Synthesizing Analogs of Anti-Cancer Molecule, Rocaglamide”
Emanual Fetene “Expression and Purification of Computationally Designed Mini-Proteins”
Jessica Garcia “Synthesis of 6-(aminomethyl) picolinate”
Allie Goss “Synthesis of Nigrospine”
Abrar Habib “Synthesis of Bimetallic Palladium-Copper (Pd-Cu) & Silver-Platinum (Ag-Pt) Nanoparticles”
Chien Ho “Non-Linear Dependence of 1H Relaxation Rates on the Concentration of Copper Hexaaqua Ion”
Eija Kent “Investigation of Seed-Mediated Synthesis of Gold Containing Nanoparticles”
Amy Liu “Subcloning LpxE from pET-15b to pNGFP-BC”
Lucas Mani “Modification of Pyridine Donating Groups in TPADA and TPAMA to Optimize Stability and Relaxivity”
Tenzin Ngodup “Fingerprinting Biomolecules and the Detection of Disease Markers Through the Use of Rhodium Nanocubes For Surface Enhanced Resonance Raman Spectroscopy”
Theo Prachyathipsakul “Synthesis and Study of a Water-soluble Macrocycle”
Kristen Scopino “Molecular Dynamics of the 530 Loop of the Ribosome”
Kendar Serindag “Computational Design of DNA Scaffold for Optimization of CryoEM”
Joshua Signore “Conformational Isomerism of 1-Iodopentane and 1-Iodohexane”
Rochelle Spencer “Dendrimer Synthesis via Highly Efficient Thiol-Michael Reactions”
Kate Sundberg “The Synthesis of a Probe for Lignin Depolymerization Detection”
Grant Tillinghast “Kinetic Ensemble Refinement Improves Protein NMR Structures”
Frank Tucci “Mutagenesis of E. coli Heptosyltransferase I to Disrupt Enzyme Dynamics and Chemistry”
Aryan Vavila “Ab Initio Investigation of Radical Organic Compounds”
Sonja Welch “Electrochemical Synthesis of Gold Concave Nanocubes”
Jaina Wollowitz “A Computational, Energetic Analysis of the Roles of Initiators in Thiol-Vinylsulfone Reactions”

 

Summer Picnic!

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.

 

39 Chemistry degrees awarded at 2018 Commencement

Graduates toss their caps into the air at the 186th Commencement

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
Stephen Frayne
Kyle Throssell

M.A. recipients:
Paul Brauchle
Yoon Jeong Choi
Haeyoon Jung
Corey Phillips
Robie Ryan

B.A. recipients:
Abby Cahn-Gambino
Angela Chung
Ethan Chupp
Shemaiah Clarke
Maya Craffey
Luke Davoren
Matthew DiGiovanni
Max Distler
Shione Donahue
Adi Gandhi
Trevon Gordon
Cody Hecht
Levi Huang
Emily Kessler
Nahian Khan
Joanna Korpanty (with High Honors)
Marjorie Kozloff
Christine Little
Maya Marshall
Ryan McMahon
Carlo Medina
Ji Yoon Park
Sojeong Park
Ivy Poon
Giselle Reyes
Daniel Robertson (with High Honors)
David Solti (with Honors)
Aaron Stone (with Honors)
Jeanette Thornton (with High Honors)
Ann-Dorie Webley (with Honors)
John Xu

Tishler Pizza Party and Awards Ceremony

A packed room awaits the beginning of Chemistry’s Tishler awards ceremony.

The 2018 Tishler Chemistry Pizza Party & Awards Ceremony was held on May 2 this year.  Department Chair T. David Westmoreland noted the following milestones and accomplishments for the department:

The Department published 34 papers (with 33 different Wesleyan authors).

Ten students gave presentations at national or international meetings.

Six graduating seniors will receive Honors or High Honors for their senior theses.

Seven majors were elected to Phi Beta Kappa this year.

Five M.A. students and three Ph.D. students have completed their degrees this year.

Prof. John Mantzaris was recognized on the occasion of his retirement from Wesleyan for his many years of contributions to the department particular his teaching in the introductory chemistry lab.

The 2018 Chemistry Department Awards were announced.  Congratulations to all our award recipients!

ACS Award in Inorganic Chemistry : David Solti
To recognize achievement in inorganic chemistry and to encourage further study in the field

ACS Analytical Award : Maya Marshall
Awarded for excellence in analytical chemistry

ACS Award in Organic Chemistry : Theo Prachyathipsakul
To a student who has displayed a significant aptitude for organic chemistry

ACS Award in Physical Chemistry : Zain Khanna
To recognize achievement in physical chemistry and to encourage further study in the field

ACS Connecticut Valley Section Award : Aaron Stone
For outstanding achievement by a graduating chemistry major

American Institute for Chemists Award : Ann-Dorie Webley
For outstanding achievement by a graduating chemistry major

Bradley Prize : Joanna Korpanty
To the senior or junior who excels in chemistry and particularly in special original work

CRC Award (General Chemistry): Kate Luo
For the outstanding first-year student in Principles of Chemistry

CRC Award (Organic Chemistry): Ben Bushnell
For the outstanding first-year student in Organic Chemistry

Hawk Prize : Cody Hecht
To the students who have done the most effective work in biochemistry

Martius Yellow Award : Jaquelin Aroujo
Awarded for excellence in Integrated Chemistry Laboratory

Peirce Prize : Max Distler
Awarded for excellence in chemistry

Silverman Prize : Jeanette Thornton
Awarded to a member of the junior or senior class for excellence in chemistry

The Wallace C. Pringle Prize for Research in Chemistry : Daniel Robertson
Awarded to a student for excellence in research.

Peterson Fellowship : Joy Cote
For graduate study in biochemistry

Tishler Prize : Andrea Lee
Awarded to the best graduate teaching assistant in chemistry

Erika Taylor to Receive Binswanger Prize for Teaching

Prof. Erika A. Taylor

 

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.

Read more on the Wesleyan Connection.