Free Radicals Tie Dye Event

On October 26th, the Free Radicals held their 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, California Clark and Jing Jing Wang with assistance from Professor Andrea Roberts. Around twenty Free Rads enjoyed Thai food and decorated their new lab coats, t-shirts, socks, and even a banner, courtesy of the Chemistry department. The group also gifted colorful bandanas for Professor Roberts and our administrative staff members, Terry Emmons and Will Selleck. Check out the photos of the event below!


Pictured left to right, top to bottom: Bryan Guarin (’21), California Clark (’21), Kate Luo (’21), Joshua Crane (’21), Timothy Yen (’21), Abrar Habib (’21), Annika Velez (’22), Emma Shapiro (’21), Jing Jing Wang (’20), Jaina Wollowitz (’20), Sydney Taylor-Klaus (’20), and Josie Russ (’20)


Pictured left to right: Sophia Marra (’21), Aaron Arkin (’21), and Emma Shapiro (’21)


Pictured left to right: Kimberley Lopez (’21), Kate Luo (’21), Jaina Wollowitz (’20), California Clark (’21), Emma Shapiro (’21), and Aaron Arkin (’21)


Aaron Arkin (’21)


Annika Velez (’22)


Pictured left to right: Jing Jing Wang (’20), Abrar Habib (’21), and Sophia Marra (’21)


Jaina Wollowitz (’20) and Emma Shapiro (’21)


Jessica Garcia (Graduate Student)


Pictured left to right: Lucas Mani (Graduate Student), Jessica Garcia (Graduate Student), and Bryan Guarin (’21)


Pictured left to right: Annika Velez (’22), Lucas Mani (Graduate Student), and Jessica Garcia (Graduate Student)


Jing Jing Wang (’20) and Abrar Habib (’21)


Professor Andrea Roberts


Pictured left to right: Sophia Marra (’21), Emma Shapiro (’21), and Aaron Arkin (’21)


Pictured left to right: Jing Jing Wang (’20), Bryan Guarin (’21), California Clark (’21), Kate Luo (’21), Jaina Wollowitz (’20), Timothy Yen (’21), Joshua Crane (’21), Abrar Habib (’21), Annika Velez (’22), Sydney Taylor-Klaus (’20), Josie Russ (’20), and Emma Shapiro (’21)


Pictured left to right: Emma Shapiro (’21), Jing Jing Wang (’20), Bryan Guarin (’21), California Clark (’21), Kate Luo (’21), Timothy Yen (’21), Joshua Crane (’21), Abrar Habib (’21), Annika Velez (’22), Sydney Taylor-Klaus (’20), and Josie Russ (’20)


Pictured left to right: Timothy Yen (’21), California Clark (’21), Kate Sundberg (’20), and Jing Jing Wang (’20)


Pictured left to right: Timothy Yen (’21), California Clark (’21), Kate Sundberg (’20), and Jing Jing Wang (’20)


Pictured left to right: Timothy Yen (’21), California Clark (’21), Kate Sundberg (’20), and Jing Jing Wang (’20)


Timothy Yen (’21)


Timothy Yen (’21)


Timothy Yen (’21)

Free Radicals Trip to Lyman Orchards

On Saturday, October 12th, the Free Radicals and chemistry graduate students traveled to Lyman Orchards for an afternoon of apple picking–a first-time adventure for several of the students. After filling their stomachs and bags with apples, Professor Andrea Roberts and the students had a tasty lunch and shopped for delicious cider, cider donuts, and Lyman cheese spread.

Pictured left to right: Andrea Lee, Annika Velez, California Clark, Sydney Taylor-Klaus, Jing Jing Wang, Professor Andrea Roberts, and Jessica Garcia.

Jessica Garcia

Pictured left to right: Jing Jing Wang, Andrea Lee, California Clark, Jessica Garcia, Jasmine Jason, Sydney Taylor-Klaus, and Annika Velez.

Sydney Talor-Klaus

Andrea Lee and Jessica Garcia

Pictured left to right: Jasmine Jason, Andrea Lee, Jing Jing Wang, Annika Velez, Jessica Garcia, California Clark, and Sydney Taylor-Klaus.

Andrea Lee and Jessica Garcia

Pictured left to right: Andrea Lee, Annika Velez, California Clark, Sydney Taylor-Klaus, Jing Jing Wang, Jasmine Jason, and Jessica Garcia

 

Chemistry Students Present at the Research and Science Poster Session 2019

The undergraduate summer research fellows presented posters on their accomplishments on July 25, 2019. Twenty-four of the presentations were on work done in the Chemistry Department, representing 8 different groups. For more on the event, visit News@Wesleyan. A list of the chemistry presenters is below the photographs.

 


Sydney Taylor-Klaus ’20, O’Neil Group


Leila Etemad, ’20, Personick Group


Sally Landon Tepper, ’22, Northrop Group


Amy Liu, ’20, Taylor Group

Anastasia Saar “Allosteric Regulation in the MutS Protein”
Miranda Nestor “MD Simulations of CAP to Detect Allostery without a Conformational Change”
California Clark “Natural Product Analogue Synthesis to Fight Caner”
May Do “Synthesis of Analogs of Rocaglamide via the IFB Reaction”
Alexandra Goss “Synthesis of Nigrospine”
Aryan Vavila “Investigating the Electrical Properties of Zigzag and Armchair Cyclacenes”
Sally Tepper “Study of Methyl Propiolate in Thiol-Michael ‘Click’ Reactions”
Jaina Wollowitz “A Computational Investigation of the Mechanisms of Thiol-Vinylsulfone Reaction Initiators”
Christopher Falls “The Rotational Spectra of Phenylsulfur Pentaflouride”
Valerie Balog “iPSC-derived Astrocyte and Motor Neuron Co-Culture in a Lentiviral Expression Model of SODI-A4V Amyotrphic Lateral Sclerosis”
Camille Chossis “Cell Non-Autonomous Effect of GLIA on Neurodegeneration in C9ORF72 Dependent Frontotemporal Dementia and Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis”
Matthew Huston “Inhibition of Specific Cancer Cell Lines Using Rocaglamide Derivatives”
Daniel Kulick “Motor Neuron Specific Sensitivity to Organochlorine Pesticides”
Sydney Taylor-Klaus “Biochemical Analysis of Superoxie Dismutase I”
Leila Etemad “Generating Bimetallic Silver-Platinum Nanoprisms and Methods to Interconvert Between Nanoprisms and Bipyramids”
Abrar Habib “Plasmonic Approach to Synthesizing Bimetallic Nanoparticles as Functional Catalysts”
Claire (Jing Jin) Wang “Optimization of Palladium Nanoparticle Syntheses for the Underpotential Deposition of Silver”
Nafisa Masud “Elucidating Protein Dynamics with the Kinetic Ensemble Approach”
Nicholas Wells “Molecular Dynamics Simulations of ALS-Causing Superoxide Dismutase I Mutations”
Brynn Assignon “Creating Chimeric Proteins Using a Domain Swapping Mechanism”
Colleen Castro “Using Molecular Docking Techniques to Find an Inhibator of Heptosyltransferase I in E. coli
Amy (Zhiqi) Liu “Investigation of Kinetics and Protein Dynamics of Escherichia coli Heptosyltransferases II”
Kate Luo “Investigating the Mechanism of LigAB Catalyzed Lignin Degradation”
Kate Sundberg “The Synthesis of a Probe for Lignin Depolymerization Detection”

 

Commencement Spring 2019


Some of our happy and attractive 2019 graduates. From left to right: Prachiti Bhatawdekar, PhD; Theo Prachyathipsakul, BA; Alison Biester, BA; Fiona Grishaw-Jones, BA; Sojeong Park (BA ’18), MA; Chien Ho, BA; David Cabanero, BA; Jessica Garcia, BA; Vanessa Ramirez, BA.

Sojeong Park receives her diploma from President Roth.

Thirty-three Chemistry degrees were awarded on May 26 at the 187th Commencement. The department proudly acknowledges the accomplishments of its new alumni/alumnae and offer them our congratulations.

Ph.D. recipients:
Prachiti Bhatawdekar
Tsagan Ednyasheva

M.A. recipients:
Cody Hecht
Zachary Hillman
Will Orellana
Sojeong Park
Ivy Poon
Giselle Reyes
Cara Savino

B.A. recipients:
Jaquelin Aroujo (with Honors)
Alison Biester (with High Honors)
Liana Borges-Sotero
David Cabanero (with High Honors)
Leticia Costa (with High Honors)
Mallory Dubus
Shelly Duong
Matthew Erodici (with High Honors)
Jessica Garcia
Fiona Grishaw-Jones
Adis Halilovic
Chien Ho
Eija Kent (with Honors)
Zain Khanna
Mitchell Klein
Lucas Mani
Jana O’Donnell
Theo Prachyathipsakul (with Honors)
Chloe Qiu
Vanessa Ramirez
Joshua Signore (with Honors)
Alexa Strauss
Frank Tucci
Victoria Yu

The Big Drop 2019

The 4th annual Big Drop was held on May 8 outside the Exley Science Center to mark the last day of classes for the Spring semester. The event was cosponsored by WesMaSS and the Chem Demos class (Chem 420).
A series of smashable items—including watermelons, bouncy balls, and oobleck were dropped from the building’s rooftop. Since many students are asked to compute the terminal velocity of an object falling in a vacuum, we decided this year to determine the terminal velocity of a vacuum itself, by tossing a vacuum cleaner.
The Free Radicals contributed a variety of explosive demonstrations including igniting the largest quantity of gun cotton ever assembled in one place, coordinated elephant toothpaste fountains, and burning the last Orgo exam in liquid oxygen.

Demonstration Videos:
Igniting Gun Cotton
Making Elephant Toothpaste
Terminal Velocity of a Vacuum
Organic Chem. Exam Burning in Liquid Oxygen

 

What’s inside that 400 MHz Superconducting Magnet?

Many of our alumni remember the big stainless steel superconducting magnet on the 400 MHz NMR in the basement of Hall-Atwater. Last year the department replaced this venerable workhorse with a newly refurbished magnet. Facilities Manager Dr. Camille Keeler suggested that it might be interesting to disassemble it to find out what’s really inside. On April 6 and May 3, we did just that. With food contributed by the department, a group of undergraduate and graduate students (and some faculty) assisted Dr. Keeler, who turns out to wield of a mean metal saw. See below for a time-lapse video (courtesy of David Cabanero) are below. The coils will be mounted and displayed in cross section next to the new magnet.

A video may be found HERE.

Brian Northrop Receives Binswanger Teaching Prize

Associate Professor of Chemistry Brian H. Northrop 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. Northrop has taught courses in first-year general chemistry, sophomore organic chemistry, nanomaterials, and physical organic chemistry. He is the sixth member of the department to receive the prize (with Michael Calter, Andrea Roberts, Irina Russu, Erika Taylor, and T. David Westmoreland).
The Prize will be presented at Commencement on May 26.

Tishler Pizza Party and Awards Ceremony

The 2019 Tishler Chemistry Pizza Party & Awards Ceremony was held on May 1 this year. Department Chair Westmoreland noted the following milestones and accomplishments for the department:

– The Department published 23 papers (with 37 different Wesleyan authors).
– Eight graduating seniors will receive Honors or High Honors for their senior theses.
– Six majors were elected to Phi Beta Kappa this year.
– Six M.A. students and two Ph.D. students have completed their degrees this year.

The 2019 Chemistry Department Awards were announced. Congratulations to all our award recipients!

ACS Analytical Award: Leticia Costa
Awarded for excellence in analytical chemistry
ACS Award in Inorganic Chemistry: Grace Chen
To recognize achievement in inorganic chemistry and to encourage further study in the field
ACS Award in Organic Chemistry: David Cabanero
To a student who has displayed a significant aptitude for organic chemistry
ACS Award in Physical Chemistry: Matt Erodici
To recognize achievement in physical chemistry and to encourage further study in the field
ACS Connecticut Valley Section Award: Jaquelin Aroujo
For outstanding achievement by a graduating chemistry major
American Institute for Chemists Award: Eija Kent
For outstanding achievement by a graduating chemistry major
Bradley Prize: David Cabanero and Theo Prachyathipsakul
To the senior or junior who excels in chemistry and particularly in special original work
Silverman Prize: Alison Biester
Awarded to a member of the junior or senior class for excellence in chemistry
CRC Award (General Chemistry): Megan Tran
For the outstanding first-year student in Principles of Chemistry
CRC Award (Organic Chemistry): Sally Tepper
For the outstanding first-year student in Organic Chemistry
Hawk Prize: Frank Tucci and Victoria Yu
To the students who have done the most effective work in biochemistry
Martius Yellow Award: Allie Goss and Rochelle Spencer
Awarded for excellence in Integrated Chemistry Laboratory
The Wallace C. Pringle Prize for Research in Chemistry: Alison Biester
Awarded to a student for excellence in research.
Peterson Fellowship: Cody Hecht
For graduate study in biochemistry
Tishler Prize: Vasileios Drogkaris
Awarded to the best graduate teaching assistant in chemistry

Undergraduates Present Research at ACS Section Symposium

Seven of our undergraduate majors presented their research work at the American Chemical Society Connecticut Valley Section Undergraduate Research Symposium held Apr 27 in the new science center at Amherst College. At the symposium Jacquelin Aroujo was presented with Wesleyan’s Connecticut Valley Section Award, given for outstanding achievement by a graduating chemistry major. In addition, David Cabanero received one of two prizes for the Best Poster Presentations. The students enjoyed sharing their work and hearing about what their peers at other schools are doing.

Talks:
Grace Chen (’20): A 1H Relaxometric Approach to Understanding the Solution Speciation of Mn(II) Complexes in the Context of MRI Contrast Agents
Eija Kent (’19): Synthesis of Gold Alloyed Nanoparticles
Jessica Garcia (’19): Synthesis of Pyridine-Based Ligands for Use in MRI Contrast Agent Design

Posters:
Abrar Habib (’21): Synthesis of Bimetallic Palladium-Copper (Pd-Cu) & Silver-Platinum (Ag-Pt) Nanoparticles
David Cabanero (’19): Investigating the Mechanism to Enantioselective Induction of the “Interrupted” Feist-Bénary Reaction
Jaquelin Aroujo (’19): An Enantioselective Synthesis of Rocaglamide via an “Interrupted” Feist-Bénary Reaction
Theo Prachyathipsakul (’19): Synthesis and Study of a Water-Soluble Macrocycle

Participants in the ACS-CVS Undergraduate Research Symposium. Seated (left to right): Jessica Garcia, Eija Kent, Grace Chen, Jaquelin Aroujo, Abrar Habib, David Cabanero, and Theo Prachyathipsakul. Standing: Professor Westmoreland

Abrar Habib with his poster waiting the start of the session.

Jaquelin Aroujo receiving the ACS-CVS Award.

David Cabanero with his winning poster.

Chemistry Majors Blow Things Up for WesFest

The annual WesFest chemistry demonstrations show, (Barely) Controlled Substances, was held on Apr 12 for a large and appreciative crowd of visitors and Chemistry Department hangers-on. The demonstrations included the classics gun cotton and thermite, as well as exploding hydrogen/oxygen bubbles, elephant toothpaste, a chemical oscillator, and others. The Chemical Demos Student Forum (Shelly Duong and Victoria Yu as student leaders plus David Cabanero, Leticia Costa, Jessica Garcia, Allie Goss, Sojeong Park, and Kate Sundberg) treated the survivors to liquid nitrogen ice cream afterwards. Pictures and a link to a video (compiled by Shelly Duong and Chloe Qiu) are below.

Kate Sundberg ignites an inordinate amount of gun cotton, which is always a crowd pleaser.

Leticia Costa demonstrates the catalyzed decomposition of hydrogen peroxide to give “toothpaste”.

The Chemical Demonstrations student forum members; bottom row left to right: Sojeong Park (BA ’18, MA ’19), Kate Sundberg (’20), Allie Goss (’20), David Cabanero (’19); top row: Victoria Yu (’19), Jessica Garcia (’19), Leticia Costa (’19), Shelly Duong (’19).

VIDEO from the presentation (courtesy of Shelly Duong and Chloe Qiu):
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xg-snqCRKlVu6vEmsbJil2NmIZ61-XTM/view