Fourteen chemistry and biochemistry/molecular biology majors presented posters at the 255th American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meeting in New Orleans in March. The students were accompanied by Assistant Professors of Chemistry Angela Blum, Farah Dawood, and Max Majireck; and Associate Professor of Chemistry Adam Van Wynsberghe. In all, nearly 17,000 students, faculty, and others attended the conference, the theme of which was “Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water.”

Juliana Larson ’20, a member of Blum’s research group, presented “Careful what you label for: A Story of peril and intrigue in fluorophore labeling for tracking cellular uptake.”

From Dawood’s research group, a poster by Willa Mihalyi-Koch ’19 described her research on the “Effects of perchlorate anions on the fabrication and efficacy of nanostructured silver sensors.” Aaron Oh ’18 and Nicole DeBuono ’20 presented “Fabrication of silver dendrites for large-area surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) sensors,” and a poster by Karl Koster ’18 and Liam Bradley ’19 was titled “Nanostructured iron oxide electrodes for the water splitting reaction.”

The Majireck research group presented two posters—“Direct synthesis of N-(1-alkoxyvinyl)ammonium salts, an unusual class of N-quaternized ketene N,O-acetals” by Alisha Blades ’20, Danielle McConnell ’20, and Justin Sonberg ’20; and “Synthesis and antimicrobial evaluation of 3-hydroxy-2-oxindole natural products and derivatives” by seniors Giovanny Dominguez and Mackenzie Morshead.

Three seniors from the Van Wynsberghe lab also presented. David Dacres’ poster was titled “Simulating the binding pathways of sialic acid and oseltamivir to h274y neuraminidase with molecular dynamics simulations.” Erin Lewis presented “Analysis of MM/GBSA free energy calculations to investigate the binding pathways of neuraminidase,” and Kalvin Nash’s poster described the “Exploration of the binding kinetics of Zanamivir to WT neuraminidase via computational analysis of molecular dynamics simulations.”

Dawood said the ACS conference provided students an excellent opportunity to be exposed to the various types of research that are carried out at the national and international level. “This was in particular important for those students interested in pursuing graduate studies in chemistry, medical research, and the chemical industry as they had the opportunity to attend seminars by leading scientists from all over the world,” she noted.

Conference travel was funded by Student Assembly, the Dean of Faculty, the chemistry department, and a travel grant from the American Chemical Society.

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