Once again, the Chemistry Department’s holiday party, organized largely by the graduate students, was held on campus at the Daniel Family Commons at the end of last semester. It is always a highlight of the year and nearly everyone attended. The addition of Wesleyan Chemistry Department Trivia was a huge success (except for the time one answer sheet was incorrectly scored. Never fear, Professor Westmoreland demanded to get his points back!!) And a big thank you goes out to Andrea Lee who organized it for us. Photos from the event are below.
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.
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.
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!
Members of the Personick research group (left to right: David Solti ’18, Melissa King (grad), Prof. Personick, and Danny Robertson ’18) attended the American Chemical Society Spring National Meeting in New Orleans, LA from March 18-22, 2018. Danny gave a talk on Sunday on “(Ag)Au concave cubes as experimental models of computationally predicted active sites for the oxygen-assisted coupling of alcohols.” Melissa presented on Wednesday about her work on “Coupling competitive surface interactions: a synthetic route to enhanced grain boundaries at the exterior of multiply twinned palladium nanoparticles.” On Thursday, Prof. Personick presented the group’s recently published research regarding “Approaches for bridging dissimilar reduction kinetics in the synthesis of bimetallic nanomaterials.” All of the talks were well received by their respective audiences.
In addition to presenting their research, the Wesleyan contingent also recruited prospective graduate students for the Wesleyan PhD program at the graduate school recruiting fair, and Melissa was invited to participate in a panel on “Graduate School: The In’s and Out’s of Getting In” which was very highly attended. Prof. Personick caught up with Wesleyan alum Prof. John Keith (Univ. of Pittsburgh) over breakfast, and everyone spent time sampling the local cuisine.
Meet Joy Cote, a recent PhD student who graduated from the chemistry department in January. Joy came to Wesleyan after receiving her BS in chemistry from the College of Mount Saint Vincent in 2012. During her time as an undergraduate, Joy participated in two separate research projects. Both a synthetic project aiming to create porphyrins and a development project aiming to understand sperm development in Drosophila. Although both projects nurtured her scientific aspirations, she was not completely satisfied with either of them. Upon coming to Wesleyan, Joy joined Prof. Erika Taylor’s lab and spent the next 5 years investigating the dynamics of Heptosyltransferase I, an enzyme found in Gram-negative bacteria, using a variety of biophysical techniques. It was during this time that she realized that research focused on understanding proteins in a quantitative manner was something she was passionate about and would drive her future studies. Since graduating, Joy has started a post-doctoral associate position at Fox Chase Cancer Center. Here she is working with Dr. Andy Andrews on how acetylation of metabolic enzymes that play a role in regulation.