Discovering a Better Way to Make Anti-Cancer Compounds – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Discovering a Better Way to Make Anti-Cancer Compounds

Three chemistry majors at Hobart and William Smith Colleges are working in the area of synthetic organic chemistry in search of new cancer-fighting compounds.

June 27, 2002 GENEVA, N.Y.—Professor Erin Pelkey hopes the three students working in his chemistry lab this summer walk away as trained chemistry researchers, having contributed to the science of making molecules. And if the research leads them down the right roads, they may uncover new compounds that fight cancer.

Pelkey and his students are trying to discover a better way to make anti-cancer compounds. They are working with indolocarbazoles, a group of compounds known to possess promising biological anti-cancer activity.

The research, titled “Novel approach to the synthesis of indolocarbazole-based anti-cancer agents,” will be presented in three posters by the students August 17-22 at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston, Mass. The student researchers, all rising juniors, are Aaron Coffin, Skaneateles, N.Y. Michael Roussell, Craftsbury Common, Vt. and Elina Tserlin, North Bellmore, N.Y.

Coffin, the son of Robert and Suzanne Coffin, has declared a major in chemistry and plans to attend graduate school in chemistry after graduating from the Colleges. He intends to study abroad in Australia in the fall.

Roussell, a biochemistry major, is the son of Michael and Lise Roussell. He volunteers in Geneva at St. Peter’s Church, the Neighbor’s Night Community Outreach program and Geneva General Hospital. He is planning to attend medical school after graduating from the Colleges.

Tserlin, a chemistry major with a science and society minor, tutors HWS students, is a teaching assistant in organic chemistry, and is involved with the Colleges’ Leadership Institute. She is tentatively planning to pursue graduate studies in organic chemistry. She is the daughter of Anatoly Tserlin and Valentina Mazina.

Pelkey joined the Colleges faculty in the summer of 2001. He earned his B.A. from Carleton College, his Ph.D. from Dartmouth, and did postdoctoral work at Stanford University. His research interests lie in the field of organic chemistry and include developing new methods for synthesizing biologically active molecules. He is a member of the American Chemical Society, the International Society of Heterocyclic Chemistry, and Sigma Xi.

The research is funded through grants from the Council of Undergraduate Research, the Merck/AAAS Undergraduate Science Research Program, the Perkin Fund and the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation.

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