The annual Molecular Education and Research Consortium in Undergraduate computational chemistry meeting includes HWS research.
(Oct. 1, 2003) GENEVA, N.Y.—Six Hobart and William Smith Colleges chemistry majors presented the results of their summer research projects at the second annual Molecular Education and Research Consortium in Undergraduate computational chemistRY (MERCURY) meeting. The MERCURY meeting was held over three days at Hamilton College in August. More than 70 people attended the conference to hear seven keynote speakers and more than 40 students present their work. Undergraduates in attendance had the opportunity to discuss their own work with leading researchers in the field, find out about graduate programs at top universities, and learn about the breadth of research in computational and theoretical chemistry.
Gilberto Arbelaez ’06 presented his results on the quantum mechanical behavior of enediynes and the effects of aromaticity in the Bergman cyclization of ten-membered enediyne anticancer warhead drugs. Arbelaez is pursuing a chemistry major with a minor in environmental studies. Born in Neiva, Huila, Colombia, he is the son of Nancy Arias and Gilbert Arbelaez, who now reside in Stamford, Conn. Arbelaez is the recipient of a 2003 National Science Foundation Summer Research Fellowship. He received the CRC First Year Chemistry Achievement award and is the current treasurer for the Latin American Organization (LAO).
Hilda Castillo ’05 presented her results on the quantum mechanical behavior and the role of tautomerization in enediyne warhead drugs. Castillo, from New York City, is a biochemistry major and education and Spanish double minor. She completed a conformational study comparing the similarities and differences in the molecular behavior of various HIV-1 protease inhibitors. The daughter of Felix and Alex Castillo, she is the recipient of several fellowships and awards, including a 2002 American Chemical Society Summer Research Fellowship, the Alger Adams academic excellence award and a 2003 National Science Foundation Summer Research Fellowship. Last spring she chaired a session at the 47th American Chemical Society Rochester Section Undergraduate Chemistry Research Symposium. In addition, she presented her HIV protease inhibitor results at the 224th National American Chemical Society conference in Boston and at the 48th Undergraduate Chemistry Research Symposium at SUNY College at Brockport. She is a member of the HWS chemistry club and American Chemical Society. Castillo will be studying in the Dominican Republic in the spring 2004 semester.
Max Macaluso, a Hobart sophomore, is pursuing a degree in chemistry. He presented his results on the electronic structure of anti-cancer enediyne warhead drugs and the role that tautomerization plays in the cyclization. Macaluso is the recipient of a 2003 Merck/AAAS Summer Research Fellowship. The son of Nicholas and Grace Macaluso of Canandaigua, N.Y., he has written a piece for the Hobart newsletter, received the CRC First-Year Chemistry Achievement Award, and is a Hobart Deans Scholar.
Rebecca Splain ’04 is a double major in biochemistry and English. Splain presented on her quantum mechanical studies of tautomerization in the Bergman cyclization of ten-membered enediyne anticancer warhead drugs. She is currently using conformational searching techniques to investigate the molecular flexibility of natural products that contain the enediyne moiety. Splain, the daughter of James and Mary Lou Splain of Middlebury, Vt., plays goalkeeper on the William Smith lacrosse team. She is the recipient of a 2003 American Chemical Society Summer Research Fellowship, a member of Hai Timiai, layout editor for Thel, and a recipient of the Betsy Mitchell ’65 Award. She has been named to the Dean’s List all three years. Her first year, she received the CRC First-Year Prize in Chemistry. She is currently on the Governing Board of the HWS Chemistry Club. Splain studied abroad in the Bath, England, program her junior year.
Jeff Sullivan ’04 also presented the results of the quantum mechanical behavior of enediynes and the effects of aromaticity in the Bergman cyclization of ten-membered enediyne anticancer warhead drugs. Sullivan, a chemistry major, is a member of the nationally ranked HWS sailing team. The son of Richard and Suzanne Sullivan of Rochester, he is a Statesman scholar athlete and a member of the HWS chemistry club.
Max Zimmerley '05 is a chemistry major currently minoring in environmental studies. Zimmerley presented his results on the quantum mechanical behavior and cyclization of various heteroaromatic enediynes. Zimmerley, the son of Dan Zimmerley and Maureen Caffrey, is a member of the Hobart Cross Country team and the Ultimate Frisbee team. He is currently studying abroad in the Colleges' New Zealand program.
The six students performed research in the laboratory of Carol A. Parish, associate professor of chemistry. Parish’s specialty is the study of the molecular structure and energetics of biologically important molecules. She chaired one of the keynote speaker sessions and the undergraduate session at the MERCURY conference. She is a co-PI on the MERCURY NSF-MRI grant.
MERCURY is a consortium of investigators from six Northeastern liberal arts colleges: Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Hamilton College, Connecticut College, Mount Holyoke College, College of the Holy Cross and St. Lawrence University. The consortium provides research support to students and faculty in addition to annually hosting the national meeting. MERCURY is funded by a National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation (NSF-MRI) grant. Support for the 2003 conference was provided by NSF, Hamilton College and SGI.
Hobart College for men and William Smith College for women — private, liberal arts and science institutions with a combined enrollment of 1,800 — have an ambitious chemistry curriculum which is designed for students with a wide variety of interests and needs, ranging from an introduction to a strong preparation for a career in chemistry. The chemistry curriculum is approved by the American Chemical Society. The chemistry department encourages all students to become involved in undergraduate research and most chemistry and biochemistry majors present their work at regional and national meetings, and many publish the results of their work in peer-reviewed journals. There have been more than 90 presentations by HWS students at national meetings and more than 20 students have been undergraduate co-authors on scientific publications since 1998.