Toward Better HIV Inhibitor Drugs – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Toward Better HIV Inhibitor Drugs

Three chemistry majors at William Smith Colleges are studying the flexibility and molecular behavior of HIV inhibitor drugs under the direction of Assistant Professor of Chemistry Carol Parish this summer.

July 9, 2002 GENEVA, N.Y.—William Smith students Hilda Castillo, Julia James, and Jennifer Pratt are researching the flexibility and molecular behavior of HIV inhibitor under the direction of Assistant Professor of Chemistry Carol Parish, in order to find better HIV/AIDS drugs. The students will present the results of their summer research at the national American Chemical Society meeting in August in Boston, and at the Northeastern Computational Chemistry consortial meeting at Hamilton College in July.

Castillo, a member of the Class of 2005, is “Studying the Flexibility of HIV Inhibitor Drugs.” Her work is investigating the hypothesis that molecular rigidity enhances drug effectiveness and may lead to a greater understanding of drug interaction and more effective inhibitors of the HIV virus. Castillo has received an American Chemical Society Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship in support of this work.

James, a member of the Class of 2004, is working toward “Designing Better HIV Inhibitor Drugs.” The research project is geared toward discovering future potent HIV protease inhibitors. Her research is supported through an American Chemical Society Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship.

Pratt, a member of the Class of 2003, is “Investigating the Similarities and Differences in the Molecular Behavior of FDA-approved AIDS/HIV Drugs.” Her research focuses on the molecular modeling of HIV protease inhibitors. The research helps to understand the molecular behavior of drug molecules and will ultimately explain why some drugs are more effective than others in treating HIV and AIDS. Her research is supported through an American Chemical Society Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship.

Castillo, of New York City, is a chemistry major and education minor. At William Smith she participates in the chemistry club and will be a teaching assistant in chemistry in the fall. She is interested in pursuing a career in pediatrics. This spring she chaired a session at the 47th Undergraduate Chemistry Research Symposium, held on campus. She received the 2002 Chemical Rubber Company First Year Chemistry Achievement Award, the Helen Heath Scholarship and is a member of the American Chemical Society. Hilda graduated from LaGuardia High School and is the daughter of Felix and Alex Castillo.

Pratt, of Rochester, is a chemistry and biology double major who intends to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry or biology and work for the forensic science division of a government agency. She is a member of the William Smith cross country team, and has been the recipient of the Helen Millerd Baer ’18 Scholarship, the Phi Beta Kappa Book Prize, the Chemical Rubber Company First-year Chemistry Achievement Award, the Undergraduate Award for Achievement in Organic Chemistry and the Carl Aten Prize in Physical Chemistry. She was the 2002 Barry M. Goldwater scholar, and has presented the results of her research at numerous professional meetings. She is a member of the American Chemical Society. She is the daughter of Thomas and Cheryl Pratt of Rochester.

James, of Brooklyn, has recently been appointed as an American Chemical Society Scholar. She is a major in chemistry with a concentration in biochemistry and is pursuing an M.D., possibly in addition to a Ph.D. in chemistry. In April she won the fifth annual Albert Holland Prize competition for Physics Oratory. She received the 2001 Chemical Rubber Company First Year Chemistry Achievement Award, and is a member of the American Chemical Society. James has presented the results of her research at numerous professional meetings including the Council on Undergraduate Research’s annual Capitol Hill Poster Session. A graduate of James Madison High School in Brooklyn, James is a leader of the HWS chapter of the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, has volunteered at the Center of Concern in Geneva, and has been a resident advisor and vice president of the chemistry club. She is now active in planning next year’s Martin Luther King remembrance event at Hobart and William Smith.

Parish came to Hobart and William Smith Colleges in 1997. She earned the B.S. and M.S. at Indiana University-Purdue University, the Ph.D. at Purdue University and received post-doctoral training at Columbia University. Her research involves understanding molecular interactions, from drug design to pain inhibition.

The research is also funded through grants from the National Science Foundation.

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