(Dec. 13, 2004) GENEVA, N.Y. — Justin Miller, assistant professor of chemistry at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, received a $40,218 grant from Research Corporation to support research he and HWS students are conducting titled “Solid-phase synthesis of cyclic, cysteine-containing peptidic natural products and analogues.” Their studies could impact a broad range of scientific research by enabling access in the laboratory to proteins and other natural products that were difficult or even impossible to make using older techniques, and which cannot be obtained from natural sources.
HWS seniors Greg Sand, from Tonawanda, N.Y., and Brooke Denslow, from Lyons Falls, N.Y., are working with Miller on the project.
The research will initially focus on the synthesis of gene expression promoters, which in this case inhibit proteins that potentially play an important role in carcinogenesis. Through solid-phase synthesis of the peptidic molecules it would become easier to analyze their biological modes of action. Additionally, more potent, related structures could also unleash pharmaceutical opportunities.
The grant was awarded through the Cottrell College Science Awards (CCSA) program. According to the Research Corporation, the intent of CCSA is to challenge faculty at primarily undergraduate institutions to explore new areas of science, make new discoveries that contribute to their discipline and initiate new research programs that can be sustained by other extramural funding sources, as well as institutional support.
“I think it's wonderful that there are organizations out there that will give researchers at undergraduate institutions–both professors and their students– the opportunity to do this kind of research,” says Miller. “I'm honored that they had the confidence in my work to provide funding.”
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