HWS Chemistry Professor Begins Research On Anti-Inflammatory Compounds – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

HWS Chemistry Professor Begins Research On Anti-Inflammatory Compounds

A grant from the Research Corporation will fund the project, student undergraduate research, equipment and supplies for work on future anti-inflammatory agents.

(May 29, 2003) GENEVA, N.Y.–The search for a more effective anti-inflammatory drug may come closer to a conclusion this summer on the shores of Seneca Lake as Erin T. Pelkey, assistant professor of chemistry at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, N.Y., and a group of undergraduates conduct research through a grant from the Research Corporation's Cottrell College Science Program.

The research project: “Regiocontrolled Synthesis of Complex Pyrrole Heterocycles,” intends to develop new, selective methods for the preparation of “pyrrole heterocycles,” which have shown promise as anti-inflammatory agents. They are structurally related to the well known anti-inflammatory drug rofecoxib, which goes by the trade name “Vioxx.”

The Cottrell College Science Award is given to new faculty at primarily undergraduate institutions. The grant, totaling $39,818, supports the work of Pelkey and two students, Aaron Coffin, Skaneateles, N.Y., and Elina Tserlin, North Bellmore, N.Y.

Coffin, the son of Robert and Suzanne Coffin, majors in chemistry and plans to attend graduate school in chemistry 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. Both Coffin and Tserlin worked with Pelkey last summer studying anti-cancer compounds.

In addition, three other students will with Pelkey on chemistry research. They are: Adam Lanious of Pulaski, N.Y., (funded by Patchett Foundation), Mike Liquori of Marcellus, N.Y., (funded by Merck/AAAS and the Perkin Fund) and Nicolette Guthrie of Durham, N.H. (funded by a Faculty Start-up grant from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation).

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.