Faculty-Student Scientific Research Projects Featured at National Chemical Society Meeting – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Faculty-Student Scientific Research Projects Featured at National Chemical Society Meeting

March 8, 2000 Geneva, NY – Ten students, one alumna, and two faculty members from Hobart and William Smith Colleges will present 17 scientific papers at the 219th American Chemical Society National Meeting in San Francisco from March 26 through 31. The Society anticipates more than 8,800 papers will be presented at the meeting and about 20,000 people will attend the six-day event.

The Hobart and William Smith chemistry department is unique in its practice to require undergraduate research and in the collaborative nature of those projects between faculty members and students. All chemistry majors participate in research while at HWS and are encouraged to present their work at regional and national meetings, as well as to strive to publish their work as undergraduates. There have been more than 20 presentations by HWS students at national ACS meetings since 1998.

The American Chemical Society, based in Washington, D.C., is a nonprofit, scientific, and educational organization and the largest scientific society in the world. Chartered by Congress, the ACS is a world leader in fostering chemical education and research. Its membership of nearly 160,000 chemists and chemical engineers is international.

The following is a list of the HWS participants and a brief description of their research.

Zainab I. Bello, of Kano, Nigeria, a senior at William Smith, worked in the laboratory of Walter J. Bowyer, professor of chemistry, and will give a presentation on her research titled “Morphology of magnesium surfaces during grignard reagent formation.” Bello and Bowyer spent eight weeks investigating what occurs on the surface of magnesium during the Grignard reaction.

Christine de Denus, assistant professor of chemistry, who has been at Hobart and William Smith Colleges since August 1999, will present a lecture titled “Differences between initiator/terminator properties of phosphazene materials.” The work is focused on the production of polymers that may be suitable for everyday applications such as moldings, coatings, and adhesives.

Rebecca Gooch, of Hamburg, New York, a William Smith junior, will present “Toward a molecular understanding of the enkephalin-opioid receptor interactions,” a project she researched in the laboratory of Carol Parish, assistant professor of chemistry. This work focuses on developing an understanding of pain mechanisms within the human body.

Lacey M. Hoffa, of Boyertown, Pennsylvania, a William Smith senior working in the laboratory of Christine R. de Denus, assistant professor of chemistry, will present her work titled “Formation of metal-containing oligomeric and polymeric materials.” For the past six months Hoffa and de Denus have been interested in preparing long chain materials within which a specific number of metals are incorporated. The work is focused on the production of polymers that may be suitable for everyday applications such as moldings, coatings, and adhesives.

Theresa Lyons, of Bayside, New York, a William Smith senior working in the laboratory of Carol A. Parish, assistant professor of chemistry, will present her work titled “Docking Studies Using the Low Mode Conformational Searching Strategy.” This work focuses on developing an understanding of the mechanism whereby drug molecules interact with specific target proteins.

Anna M. Manente, a William Smith alumna, and Carol Parish, assistant professor of chemistry, will present a poster “Using the low-mode conformational search algorithm to determine the molecular flexibility of HF-7” that focuses on the identification of conformational families of the neuroactive glyconucleoside disulfate (HF-7) molecule. Natural product molecules isolated from spider venoms have been shown to block the action of excitatory amino acids such as glutamate and aspartate.

Carol Parish, assistant professor of chemistry, who has been at Hobart and William Smith Colleges since 1997, will present a lecture describing her recent work the molecular behavior of HIV inhibitors. This talk is titled “Differences and Similarities in the Molecular Behavior of Various HIV-1 Inhibitors.” In a separate symposium at the ACS meeting, Parish will also present her work on the Chemistry Writing Colleagues program implemented at HWS. This program offers a systematic approach for developing student communication skills.

Missy Rappleye, of Webster, New York, a William Smith junior working in the laboratory of Carol A. Parish, assistant professor of chemistry, will present her work titled “Analysis of the potential energy surfaces of various HIV-1 protease inhibitors.” Rappleye and Parish have been using the MacroModel and Jaguar molecular modeling software to simulate the flexibility of various HIV drugs in water. Rappleye will be describing her results, which indicate important differences and similarities exist in the behavior of small molecule HIV drugs.

Kent Sinclair, of Watertown, New York, a Hobart junior working in the laboratory of Carol A. Parish, assistant professor of chemistry, will present his work titled “Determining the molecular flexibility of HIV protease inhibitors.” Effective drugs are often less flexible and adopt fewer molecular shapes than less effective drugs. Sinclair and Parish have been using the MacroModel molecular modeling software to simulate the flexibility of various HIV drugs in water. Sinclair will be describing his results, which indicate important differences and similarities exist in the behavior of small molecule HIV drugs.

Saraha Thompson, of Reading Center, New York, a William Smith junior will present a poster titled “Chemistry Writing Colleagues.” This work focuses on the development of the Chemistry Writing Colleagues program implemented at HWS. This program offers a systematic approach for developing student-scientist communication skills.

John Unger, of Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, a Hobart senior, will present “Synthetic approach toward the total synthesis of HO395.” This work focuses on the natural product synthesis of Acylpolyamine HO395 which been has proven to be useful in the study of the pharmacology and physiology of important biological systems.

Esther X. Vivas, of Rego Park, New York, a William Smith junior who worked in the laboratory of Walter J. Bowyer, professor of chemistry, will give a presentation on her research will present “Efficiency of a venturi scrubber for removing air pollutants during sintering of geological carbonates.”

Sharon Wilhelm, of Harvard, Massachusetts, a senior at William Smith, who worked in the laboratory of Carol Parish, assistant professor of chemistry, will present her work titled “Using the Monte Carlo confirmation search agorithm to determine the molecular flexibility of HF-7.” The research has found that natural product molecules isolated from spider venoms have been shown to block the action of excitatory amino acids such as glutamate and aspartate.

Hobart College for men and William Smith College for women – private, liberal arts and science institutions with a combined enrollment of 1,800 – have an ambitious chemistry curriculum which is designed for students with a wide variety of interests and needs, ranging from an introduction to a strong preparation for a career in chemistry. The chemistry curriculum is approved by the American Chemical Society.