Students Present Work At National Chemistry Meeting – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Students Present Work At National Chemistry Meeting

American Chemical Society gathering offers wealth of opportunities for Hobart and William Smith students.

September 9, 2002 GENEVA, N.Y. – Thirteen students and five faculty members from Hobart and William Smith Colleges presented scientific papers at the 224th American Chemical Society National Meeting in Boston from August 17 through August 22. Approximately 16,000 people attended the six-day event.

One student, Hobart sophomore Malcolm Richardson, called the experience invaluable. “We took away an experience that I personally consider an invaluable one; not only were we able to present our research, but we also gained insight and knowledge from critics that stopped by to chat and challenge the processes and data that we expounded,” Richardson said.

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 are encouraged to present their work at regional and national meetings, as well as strive to publish their work as undergraduates. The result of these initiatives is that there have been more than 67 presentations by HWS undergraduates at national American Chemical Society (ACS) meetings during the past five years.

This trip to the ACS meeting in Boston was supported by funds from a number of sources including Hobart and William Smith deans’ offices and chemistry department, and grants from ACS, Merck and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Student Affiliates and the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR).

The ACS, based in Washington, D.C., is a non-profit, 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:

Hilda Castillo, of New York, N.Y., a sophomore at William Smith, worked with Carol Parish, assistant professor of chemistry, and presented a paper titled “Molecular Modeling of HIV-1 Protease Inhibitors.” Castillo used the Low Mode/Monte Carlo conformational search method to investigate the molecular flexibility and behavior of lopinavir, a potent HIV-1 protease inhibitor. Her results indicate that lopinavir in free solvent is a rather rigid, compressed molecule that clusters into three distinct families.

Julia James, of Brooklyn, N.Y., a junior at William Smith, worked with Professor Parish and presented a paper titled “Comparing the Conformational Flexibility of HIV-1 Inhibitors.” James used the Low Mode/Monte Carlo conformational search method to investigate the molecular flexibility and behavior of BMS-232632, saquinavir and tipranavir. Her results indicate that tipranavir's behavior is quite different from the other inhibitors studied, particularly with respect to free solvent size and solvent accessible surface area.

Jennifer Pratt, of Rochester, N.Y., a senior at William Smith, worked with Professor Parish and presented a paper titled “A Comparison of the Low Mode and Monte Carlo Conformational Search Methods for Searching the Potential Energy Surface of Lopinavir, TMC-126 and Amprenavir.” Pratt used the Low Mode/Monte Carlo conformational search method to investigate the molecular flexibility and behavior of lopinavir, TMC-126 and amprenavir. Her results suggest that the average molecular size, solvent accessible surface area and ensemble clustering behavior of the solvated ligand correlate with binding affinity.

Emelyn Smith, of Tunkhannock, Pa., a senior at William Smith, worked in the laboratory of Carol Parish and presented a paper titled “Molecular Modeling and Conformational Analysis of Polyazamacrolides.” Smith used the Low Mode/Monte Carlo conformational search method to investigate the molecular flexibility and behavior of four analogues of a polyazamacrolide beetle defense secretion. Her results suggest a molecular basis for the observed O-to-N acyl intramolecular migration reaction that occurs in these systems.

Sarah Green, of Geneva, N.Y., a junior at William Smith, worked with Alexis Puerta, assistant professor of chemistry, and presented a paper titled “Synthesis and Characterization of Polyborosiloxanes.” Green worked on single-source polymeric precursors to boron-modified silicon carbide ceramics, which are of great interest because they have been shown to lead to ceramics with improved homogeneity, and thermal and structural properties. Preliminary investigations regarding the copolymerization of thexylborane and various siloxanes led to the production of several polyborosiloxanes. Further work will determine their utility as ceramic precursors.

Zachary R. Schneider, of Baltimore, Md., a junior at Hobart and an ACS polymeric education research fellow, worked with Martel Zeldin, visiting professor of chemistry, and presented a paper titled “Porous Glass with Anchored Supernucleophilic Catalyst Moieties.” The project involved the chemical synthesis of supernucleophilic catalysts attached to solid-state substrates (e.g., silsesquioxanes and related materials) and testing the functionalized materials as a catalyst for the acylation of an alcohol and the hydrolysis of activated esters.

Philip J. Baker, of Hilton, N.Y., a senior at Hobart, worked with Christine de Denus, assistant professor of chemistry, and presented a paper titled “Electrochemical Studies of Organo-iron and Ruthenium Complexes.”*

Angela S. Dann, of Marathon, N.Y., a sophomore at William Smith and Merck/AAAS research fellow, worked with Professor de Denus and presented a paper titled “Synthesis and Photochemical Studies of Terpyridine Substituted Organometallics.”*

Chassidy M. Pierce, of Groton, N.Y., a senior at William Smith and a Council on Undergraduate Research summer research fellow, worked with Professor de Denus and presented a paper titled “Synthesis and Characterization of (2,2'-bipyridine) Organometallic Materials.”*

Malcolm “Flint” Richardson, of Blandford, Mass., a sophomore at Hobart and Merck research fellow, worked with Professor de Denus and presented a paper titled “Synthesis and Electrochemical Studies of Terpyridine Substituted Organometallics.”*

*All students in Professor de Denus’ research group focused on learning how to prepare and study materials that have interesting properties when exposed to light or an electric current. These materials may have future applications in small molecular devices.

Elina Tserlin, of Long Island, N.Y., a junior at William Smith and a Merck/American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) research fellow, worked with Erin Pelkey, assistant professor of chemistry, and presented a paper titled “Synthesis of Pyrrole Weinreb Amides.”**

Michael A. Roussell, of Craftsbury Common, Vt., a junior at Hobart and a Merck/AAAS research fellow, worked with Professor Pelkey and presented a paper titled “Regiocontrolled Synthesis of 3-Pyrrolin-2-ones.”**

Aaron R. Coffin, of Skaneatles, N.Y., a junior at Hobart and a CUR summer research fellow, worked with Professor Pelkey and presented a paper titled “New Synthetic Aproach to Staurosporinone.”**

**All students in Professor Pelkey’s research group worked together toward a mutual goal of developing new synthetic methodology for the preparation of indolocarbazole-based anti-cancer agents related to staurosporine. This work should provide a route to the preparation of novel synthetic analogues of staurosporine not available by current methods.

In addition to the presentation of scientific papers, HWS students and faculty attended numerous symposia led by prominent chemists such as Alan MacDiarmid, Tom Mallouk, K. Matyjaszewski, Robert Schrock, Richard Freisner, Bernard Brooks, Robert Grubbs (Arthur C