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.
|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”|
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.
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)
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
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.
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.
The Chemistry Department’s holiday party, organized largely by the graduate students, was held on campus at the Daniels Family Commons at the end of last semester. It is always a highlight of the year and nearly everyone attended, but the absence of Prof. Pratt resulted in fewer creative dance moves this year. Some candid photos from the event are below.