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.
39 Chemistry degrees awarded at 2018 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.
Yoon Jeong Choi
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)
Tishler Pizza Party and 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
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.
Stephen Frayne receives PhD
Stephen Frayne recently defended his Ph.D. dissertation and will be receiving his degree at commencement this May. Steve joined the Department of Chemistry at Wesleyan in 2012 after having received his B.S. in chemistry from Fordham University. At Fordham Steve worked in the laboratory of Dr. Ipsita Banerjee focusing on the rational design of artificial biomaterials. While in the Banerjee group Steve investigated the pH-dependent self-assembly of plant-based acids such as abscisic acid and ellagic acid into templates for the growth of cadmium selenide (CdSe) nanoparticles, with potential applications in bioimaging, cell targeting, and environmental remediation. Upon coming to Wesleyan, Steve joined the lab of Prof. Brian Northrop where he has been conducting experimental and computational research with the aim of streamlining the design and synthesis of organic materials. Much of Steve’s work has focused on the fundamentals of thiol-Michael reactions and, in particular, selective thiol-Michael reactions that enable researchers to synthesize multifunctional polymers and dendrimers more rapidly and efficiently. After graduating Steve will be joining the lab of Prof. Jeffrey Grossman in the Materials Science and Engineering department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he will apply his experimental and computational expertise to develop new materials that address important energy related challenges, such as nanoporous membranes for water desalination.
Items Fall 100 Feet, Explode at the Third Annual Big Drop
The 3rd annual Big Drop was held on May 9 outside the Exley Science Center to mark the last day of classes for the Spring semester. A series of smashable items—including water balloons, bouncy balls, watermelon, apples, pineapple, discarded computer equipment, plastic, and Oobleck—were dropped from the building’s rooftop. The Free Radicals also contributed a variety of explosions including the burning of an Orgo Lab report in liquid oxygen.
Click here for a short video and photos from the event.
Erika Taylor on E. coli
Associate Professor of Chemistry Erika Taylor writes in The Conversation about sugars expressed on the surface of E. coli and how they determine whether the bacterium is a pathogenic or not.
David McCamant (’95) receives teaching and mentorship award
David McCamant, an alum of the Class of ’95, has received the very first College Award for Undergraduate Teaching and Research Mentorship from the University of Rochester, where he is Associate Professor of Chemistry. He notes that “his goal is pass along to students the same excitement he felt as a chemistry undergraduate at Wesleyan University.” You can read the full story at the link below. Congratulations Prof. McCamant!
Chemistry majors present at conference
Chemistry majors Christine Little, Emily Kessler, and Cody Hecht, along with three MB&B majors, attended the annual Experimental Biology (EB) conference in San Diego in mid-April. All three were invited as members of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), a participating society of EB. At the meeting, Christine, Emily, and Cody each competed in an undergraduate poster competition (in which Christine was awarded an honorable mention for an exceptional poster!) and presented their posters in sessions according to their area of research.
Christine’s project in Ishita Mukerji’s lab focuses on characterizing the binding interactions of yeast histone H1 to DNA four-way junctions. Cody’s research in Erika Taylor’s lab investigates the protein dynamics of Heptosyltransferase I as part of ongoing inhibitor design efforts. Emily’s work in Manju Hingorani’s lab concentrates on the link between mutations in DNA mismatch repair protein MutS and Lynch Syndrome.
Seniors Elected to Phi Beta Kappa
Five senior chemistry majors have been elected to the Gamma Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. They will be honored at an induction ceremony on Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. in the Chapel. The honorees are:
- Max Distler
- Kenneth (Cody) Hecht
- Joanna Korpanty
- Carlo Medina
- Daniel Robertson
They join Maya Marshall and Aaron Stone, who were elected in the fall semester. This has been a banner year for chemistry students and we proudly extend our congratulations to all.