Yoana Throssell Receives PhD

Dr. Yoana Throssell successfully defended her PhD thesis, “Asymmetric IFB-Like Reactions of 1,2,3-Triones and Electron-Rich Phenols for the Synthesis of a Tetracyclic Antiviral’ on May 7, 2020. Yoana came to Wesleyan in 2013 after receiving her B.A. in chemistry magna cum laude from Mount Holyoke College and her M.A. in chemistry from Brown University. Yoana worked on the design and development of pharmaceutical formulations at Integral Biosystems, before coming to Wesleyan. Yoana joined Prof. Calter’s lab in 2014 and worked on a number of projects before settling on the development of a novel set of asymmetric carbon-carbon bond forming reactions. She prepared a number of analogs of a novel antiviral compound, effective against picornaviruses. Yoana has moved to Boston to work in the pharmaceutical industry and is planning a trip to Europe to visit family and friends.


Dr. Throssell delivering her Open Defense over Zoom to faculty, friends, and loved ones.

Dr. Throssell’s Open Defense:”Asymmetric IFB-Like Reactions of 1,2,3-Triones and Meta-Substituted Phenols for the Synthesis of a Tetracyclic Antiviral”


Dr. Throssell surrounded by loved ones

 

Conclusions and Future Directions of Research


Dr. Throssell’s Congratulatory Cake

 

 

 

Virtual Commencement 2020

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Wesleyan’s 188th Commencement Ceremony, honoring the graduating Class of 2020, was held through a virtual setting on May 24th.

Ph.D.

Melissa Elizabeth King

Yoana Throssell

 

B.A.

Anik Macy Bernstein

Yin-Tung Grace Chen (with Honors)

Daniel JongHwa Chung (with Honors)

Calvin Robert Coffey

Joshua Pohn Crane

May Do

Alexandra Nicole Goss

Liam Nathan Isaacs

Alexander James Kapphahn

Miranda Lillie Nestor

Dillon James Noone

Josephine Margaret Russ

Anastasia C. Saar (with Honors)

Iman Iqbal Sigman

Rochelle Barrie Spencer

Katherine Hanson Sundberg (with Honors)

Sydney Maya Taylor-Klaus

Aryan K. Vavila

Claire Jing Jing Wang (with Honors)

Sonja Maria Welch

Jaina Wollowitz (with High Honors)

 

Chemistry Majors Perform Virtual Demonstrations for WesFest 2020

The annual WesFest chemistry demonstrations show, (Barely) Controlled Substances, went virtual this year along with the rest of WesFest.  The Science and Art of Chemical Demonstrations student forum, led by Kate Sundberg (’20), and Abrar Habib (’21), made a video version, incorporating footage of classic demonstrations from previous years as well as new ones from students’ kitchens and front porches.  In addition to the leaders, the video features the quarantined, but highly adaptable Aaron Arkin (’21), Joshua Crane (’20), Sophia Marra (’21), Emma Shapiro (’21), Sydney Taylor-Klaus (’20), and Sonja Welch (’20), with a cameo appearance by their faculty sponsor, Prof. Westmoreland.

 

A link to the virtual WesFest Chemistry demonstrations may be found here:

http://videos.wesleyan.edu/futurecardinal/detail/videos/archived-events/video/6149638843001/barely-controlled-substances?autoStart=true

 

 

2020 Annual Chemistry Department Awards

Awards – ACS Younger Chemists Committee

The Chemistry Department is proud to announce the recipients of the 2020 Annual Chemistry Department Awards:

ACS Analytical Award: Rochelle Spencer
Awarded for excellence in analytical chemistry
ACS Award in Inorganic Chemistry: Jing Jing Wang 
To recognize achievement in inorganic chemistry and to encourage further study in the field
ACS Award in Organic Chemistry: Jaina Wollowtiz
To a student who has displayed a significant aptitude for organic chemistry
ACS Award in Physical Chemistry: Iman Sigman 
To recognize achievement in physical chemistry and to encourage further study in the field
ACS Connecticut Valley Section Award: Sydney Taylor-Klaus
For outstanding achievement by a graduating chemistry major
American Institute for Chemists Award: Anastasia Saar
For outstanding achievement by a graduating chemistry major
Bradley Prize: Grace Chen 
To the senior or junior who excels in chemistry and particularly in special original work
Silverman Prize: Allie Goss
Awarded to a member of the junior or senior class for excellence in chemistry
CRC Award (General Chemistry): Edrea Jiang 
For the outstanding first-year student in Principles of Chemistry
CRC Award (Organic Chemistry): Michael O’Sullivan 
For the outstanding first-year student in Organic Chemistry
Hawk Prize: Kate Sundberg
To the students who have done the most effective work in biochemistry
Martius Yellow Award: Sophia Marra
Awarded for excellence in Integrated Chemistry Laboratory
The Wallace C. Pringle Prize for Research in Chemistry: Jaina Wollowitz 
Awarded to a student for excellence in research.
Peterson Fellowship: Angelika Rafalowski 
For graduate study in biochemistry
Tishler Prize: Bakar Hassan 
Awarded to the best graduate teaching assistant in chemistry

Chemistry Majors Elected to Phi Beta Kappa

The spring Phi Beta Kappa electees have been announced and include two chemistry majors, Yin-Tung (Grace) Chen and Jaina Wollowitz.


Yin-Tung (Grace) Chen, 2020


Jaina Wollowitz, 2020

They join Tristan Ang Tze Heng who was elected last fall.  See the complete story at: http://newsletter.blogs.wesleyan.edu/2020/04/13/79-seniors-from-the-class-of-2020-elected-to-phi-beta-kappa/?utm_source=&utm_medium=EMLET&utm_campaign=The+Wesleyan+Connection+April+15+and+18(2045087

Diverse Magazine Honors Prof. Erika Taylor

Associate Professor Erika Taylor has been named one of the “Top 35 Women in Higher Education” by Diverse magazine.  This honor recognizes women who have made significant contributions to the cause of diversity in higher education and beyond.

“Taylor, associate professor of chemistry, environmental studies and integrative sciences, joined the Wesleyan faculty in 2007. She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry with honors from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign and was a postdoctoral research associate at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Throughout her career, Taylor has worked at the interface of chemistry and biology. She strives to find ways to exploit enzymes found in nature to perform reactions that can help advance the fields of chemistry and medicine. Her research group has included over 75 students to date, spanning high schoolers to Ph.D. students, with women and other underrepresented students comprising more than three-quarters of her lab members. In addition to her research, she has been a passionate advocate for diversity, lending time and energy to provide opportunities in science for female, minority and low-income students. Taylor was awarded the Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching for her passion and dedication to supporting the academic and personal development of all of her students. Her track record of mentoring diverse students culminated in being named Wesleyan University’s McNair Program faculty director in 2018. Beyond Wesleyan, she founded and continues to run a Girls in Science camp for elementary through middle school aged girls, which highlights the diversity of women that exists in science and raises funds to enable nearly half of the students to participate tuition free.”

See the full story at http://newsletter.blogs.wesleyan.edu/2020/04/05/taylor-named-a-top-35-women-in-higher-education-by-diverse/ and the full list of this years’ honorees at https://diverseeducation.com/2020-Top-35-Women-in-Higher-Education/#/ .

 

Chemistry Department Donates Personal Protective Equipment to Local Health Organizations

With the suspension of research projects in Hall-Atwater, Facilities Manager Camille Keeler has collected unused personal protective equipment (PPE) and sent it where it’s needed most.  The supplies have included disposable gloves, disposable lab coats, and a variety of masks.  “We would normally use most of this over the course of a semester, but with few students and researchers in the building, we decided to send what we could to Middlesex Hospital and Middletown Health Department to distribute,” Keeler said. In doing so, the Chemistry Department joins the many local businesses and philanthropic organizations who have already collected and donated personal protective equipment across the state.

 

For more information on how to donate, please visit the CT State Coronavirus website at: https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/Pages/Request-for-Personal-Protective-Equipment.

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)

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”

 

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.