William Smith Biochemistry Major Receives Prestigious Scholarship – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

William Smith Biochemistry Major Receives Prestigious Scholarship

A William Smith junior who is conducting research with anticancer drugs has been selected as a 2003 American Chemical Society Scholar.

(June 24, 2003) GENEVA, N.Y.— Hilda Castillo, a William Smith junior, has been named a 2003 American Chemical Society Scholar. The award recognizes Castillo’s academic achievements as well as the undergraduate research that she’s performed at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

This summer, Castillo is working in the lab of Professor Carol Parish studying the electronic structure and molecular behavior of promising new anticancer drugs. Castillo uses molecular modeling and quantum mechanics to calculate the energy of the drugs in various stages of reactivity. Their aim is to uncover fundamental relationships between the structure and reactivity of known drugs and to use that information to design new, more potent, anticancer prodrugs. The ultimate goal is to design a drug that will selectively kill cancer cells without the toxic side effects associated with conventional chemotherapy.

Castillo, of New York, N.Y., a biochemistry major, is conducting her research this summer as a National Science Foundation Summer Research Fellow. Last summer, as an American Chemical Society Summer Research Fellow, she completed a project in Parish’s laboratory studying the similarities and differences in the molecular behavior of various HIV drugs. The results of her work were recently submitted for publication to the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. While at HWS, Castillo has presented her research at the 48th Undergraduate Chemistry Research Symposium at SUNY College at Brockport and at the 224th National American Chemical Society conference in Boston. Last spring she chaired a session at the 47th Undergraduate Chemistry Research Symposium, held on the HWS campus. She will be presenting the results of her research at the upcoming 2003 MERCURY supercomputer conference at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y.

She is the recipient of several HWS awards such as the First Year Chemistry Achievement Award, the Alger Adams Academic Excellence 2002-2003 Award, the Robert A. Huff Scholarship and the Helen Heath Academic Award. She is a member of the Colleges’ chemistry club and volunteers on and off campus for several organizations which aid breast cancer research and children with disabilities. Castillo is the daughter of Alex and Felix Castillo. She plans to become a pediatrician.

The American Chemical Society scholarship program is designed to encourage African-American, Hispanic, and American Indian students to pursue undergraduate college degrees in the chemical sciences and chemical technology.