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Hamilton Hosts SmORS

Organic chemistry research students from Hamilton, Colgate University and Hobart and William Smith Colleges convened to report on their summer research on July 8 when Hamilton’s chemistry department hosted the annual meeting of the Summer Organic Research Symposium (SmORS).

Following a welcome by Dean of Faculty Patrick Reynolds, students from each college discussed their research projects. Over the course of the afternoon, 12 talks were presented by the 29 students in attendance.

Hamilton was represented by: John Bennett ’16, Alex Betrus ’18, Michael Dyer ’16, Ben Schafer ’17, Jon Shapiro ’17, Sharif Shrestha ’17, Ben Wesley ’16 and Chris Williams ’17, all mentored by Assistant Professor of Chemistry Max Majireck; and Zachary Blumenkehl ’17, Brett Bracco ’17, Austin Durham ’16, and Abby Tulchinsky ’18, whose work is directed by Robin Kinnel, the Silas D. Childs Professor of Chemistry emeritus and lecturer in chemistry.

One of Majireck’s groups reported on their work developing a strategy for simple access to nitrogen ring systems that have potential to lead to significant drug candidates. A second Majireck group discussed their progress in exploring a potentially useful rhodium catalyzed cyclization to form a five-membered ring containing oxygen in another approach to drug-like ring compounds.

Students from the Kinnel lab talked about strategies and progress in the preparation of potentially bioactive compounds derived from alphafetoprotein and some related to the cyanobacterial product cryptomaldamide.

In the concluding talk, Sharif Shrethsa ’17 described his project to help Professor Majireck further develop Chemistry 360, “Organic Synthesis Towards Improved Human Health,” to include more social and economic issues. He said the plan is to incorporate changes in the course that will sensitize students to the broader aspects of drug development, including research funding considerations and some of the political and ethical questions surrounding the process of bringing new drugs to the market.

The conference concluded in the Babbitt Pavilion with a cookout catered by Piggy Pat’s Southern BBQ.

SmORS rotates among the three institutions and next year will be held at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

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