Chemistry / Biochemistry
Contact
Department Chair:
Michael W. Nee

Administrative Assistant:
Patricia West, A263

Department Email:


Phone: (440) 775-8300
Fax: (440) 775-6682

Location:
Science Center A263
119 Woodland St.
Oberlin, OH, 44074

Office Hours: 8:30-noon 1:00-5:00pm

Summer Research 2010

Summer Research 2010

altheimer.jpg

Benjamin Altheimer  '12    From: Greensboro, NC

Advisor:  Manish Mehta

Research Project:  Solid-State NMR and Crystallographic Study of Interactions in Cocrystals of Peptides and Denaturants

Description: Denaturants promote the unfolding of protein structures in solution.  They are significant in understanding the role of solvation in protein structure. The interactions through which denaturants, such as guanidinium hydrochloride and urea, act on proteins in the liquid phase remains uncertain.  We investigate these cocrystals of these denaturants and small peptides as model systems using solid-state NMR and X-ray diffraction. The changes in carbon-13 and nitrogen-15 chemical shifts between the peptide crystal and its cocrystal analog are expected to yield information about the nature of the interaction.

Other interests: Physics, math, climbing, hiking, the great outdoors.




Amy Austin  '11    From: Litchfield, CT

Advisor:  Rebecca Whelan and Mary Garvin

Research Project:  Investigating the effect of chemical compounds from gray catbird uropygial secretions on nest mites

Description: Recent work jointly performed by members of the Garvin and Whelan research groups has characterized the volatile and semivolatile components in the uropygial secretions of the gray catbird, a songbird common in Ohio and implicated in arbovirus cycles including West Nile virus. These compounds may serve a variety of functions in intraspecific and interspecific communication, but these roles have not yet been characterized. One suggested role of uropygial secretions is in defense against parasites such as nest mites. The goal of this project is to collect gray catbird nesting materials and isolate the mites living in the nests. The response of these mites to compounds present in catbird uropygial secretions will be tested in a bioassay to test the hypothesis that the compounds serve a protective function for the birds.

Other interests: Hiking, beading an d jewelry making, reading science-fiction and fantasy.




Adam Birdsall  '13    From: Roseville, MN

Advisor:  Matthew Elrod

Research Project:  Mechanistic Studies of the Atmospheric Oxidation of Aromatics

Description: Aromatic compounds make up roughly one quarter of the atmosphere’s organic inventory.  It is well known that the oxidation of aromatic compounds leads to the formation of both ground level ozone and visibility-impairing aerosols (smog). However, the specific oxidation mechanisms are not well known.  We have undertaken studies of mechanism of the oxidation of several atmospherically abundant aromatic compounds.  We are carrying out product identification and kinetics experiments that are performed using the Turbulent Flow Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometric (TF-CIMS) kinetics technique.

Other interests: Devouring large quantities of music, drinking tea, enjoying silent film comedies, playing piano and racquetball (not simultaneously) reading, running.




Eliot Bixby  '13   From: Portland, OR

Advisor:  Sean Decatur

Research Project:  Mechanism of γ-D-crystallin aggregation

Description: γ-D-crystallin is a dimeric protein which belongs to a family of proteins found in the lens of the eye called crystallins. Because mature lens cells lack nuclei, and to properly focus light these proteins must exist in extremely high concentrations without aggregating, crystallins are exceptionally stable. However, when we induce aggregation of γ-D-crystallin, it forms amyloid fibrils similar in structure to those implicated in Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and many other neurodegenerative diseases. By isotope labeling subunits of the protein, and leaving others unlabeled, we can study in more detail changes in the secondary and tertiary structure of the protein as it aggregates. To do this we use Fourier Transform Infared Spectroscopy (FTIR) as well as an emerging technology known as 2 Dimensional FTIR (2D-IR) which is used by our collaborating lab at the University of Wisconsin Madison. Hopefully, by labeling different parts of the protein, varying the conditions which induce aggregation, and studying different aggregation-prone mutants, we can shed some light on the early formation of amyloid fibril.




Dain Chatel  '11    From: Scottsdale, AZ

Advisor:  William Fuchsman

Research Project:  Reducing Sugar Assays: Ferricyanide

Description: We are using a spectrophotometric assay to gain clues about the mechanisms involved in the oxidation of reducing sugars. By examining the change in absorbance of ferricyanide ions (carbanion scavengers) at high pH, we can tell the extent of a sugar's oxidation. From there we can examine the effects of various changes in sugar structure on the extent of reaction.

Other interests: Writing, medicine, exercise, friends and family.




Christopher Chu  '11    From: Chicago, IL

Advisor:  Robert Q. Thompson

Research Project:  Understanding the Colorimetric Reactions of the Capsaicinoids

Description: Description: Capsicinoids, N-vanillyl acyl amides, are the "hot" components of chili peppers (genus Capsicum), Capsaicinoids, N-vanillyl acyl amides, are the “hot” components of chili peppers (genus Capsicum), many spicy foods, some topical pain-relief creams, and most defense sprays. More than twenty naturally-occurring capsaicinoids are known with small, but significant differences in structure. Capsaicin (6-ene-8-methyl) and dihydrocapsacin (8-methyl) are the two most prevalent capsaicinoids, accounting for 80% - 90% of the heat in most hot peppers. Capsaicin (6-ene-8-methyl) is shown at right.

No method exists for simply and reliably determining the amounts of the two major capsaicinoids in fruit extracts in the field.

During 2006-07 an Honors student, Theresa Vertigan, examined four colorimetric methods that have been applied to capsaicinoids. Two methods – the nitrite/molybdate reaction giving a yellow color and the Gibbs reaction giving a blue color – showed particular promise.

In 2008 Robin Gent made significant progress in identifying the product mixtures of these color reactions. The major yellow product appears to be a mono-nitro derivative of the capsaicinoid, while the blue substance is likely produced by an unusual aromatic substitution.

In 2009-10 Alexandra Gould investigated the effects of reaction conditions on the product profiles. Students in summer 2010 will continue the study of the colorimetric reactions of the capsaicinoids, specifically working to tweak the reaction conditions such that a single, highly-colored substance (or in as high a yield as possible) is produced. The students will carry out the colorimetric reactions under various conditions, characterize the products by LC-MS, and optimize the reaction for highest product yield. A final step will be to prepare a reagent strip that, after a dip into a chili pepper extract, can be compared to a color chart to find the total concentration of capsaicinoids.

Other interests: Anime, ping-pong, magic tricks, and general mischievousness.




Adam Darer  '12   From: Chestnut Ridge, NY

Advisor:  Matthew Elrod

Research Project:  Synthesis and Acid-Catalyzed Reactions of Epoxides in Atmospheric Aerosols

Description: Atmospheric aerosols (particles small enough to remain airborne) have an important effect on air quality and climate through their ability to scatter and absorb radiation and to serve as nuclei for cloud formation.  It is now well known that these aerosols have significant organic content, despite the fact that most organic compounds in the atmosphere are expected to be too volatile to readily form condensed phase compounds.  The conversion of smaller more volatile organic compounds into larger less volatile compounds via acid-catalyzed reactions has been proposed to explain this seeming contradiction.  We have been investigating the conversion of epoxides (intermediates in the atmospheric oxidation of volatile organic compounds) to involatile species.

Other interests: Table Tennis, Playing Jazz Saxophone, Dabbling at the piano, Hiking, Canoeing, Beekeeping, and reading.




Micah Ellowitz  '12    From: El Passo, TX

Advisor:  Jason Belitsky

Research Project:  Melanin-Inspired Lead-Binding Coatings II

Description: While “melanin” is a well-known biochemical entity among the general public, scientists know surprisingly little about the fundamental biochemistry of melanins.  Nevertheless, what is known about these fascinating nano-structured pigments suggests a range of non-biological applications.  The Belitsky lab is interested in exploring the properties of melanins and synthetic analogs both to understand fundamental melanin biochemistry and to exploit these properties for environmental applications.  For example, eumelanin, the black to brown human pigment, is known to bind a wide range of metals and organic compounds, suggesting applications in water purification.

Other interests: Backpacking, squash, eating chem office candy, turning assignments in late, sleeping on couches, hanging with the gorgeous Erin Alcorn.




Emerson French  '12    From: Phoenix, AZ

Advisor:  Norman Craig

Research Project:  Synthesis of Isotopomers of cis- and trans-Hexatrienes for Use in High-Resolution Infrared and Microwave Spectroscopy

Description: We seek 2H and 13C isotopomers of the cis and trans isomers of 1,3,5-hexatriene for study with high-resolution infrared and microwave spectroscopy.  Rotational constants obtained from the detailed analysis of these spectra combined with vibration-rotation constants computed with quantum chemical calculations will give equilibrium rotational constants.  Fitting these equilibrium rotational constants for a full set of isotopic species will give equilibrium structures with bond lengths determined to 0.001 Å, a high level of accuracy.  Wittig chemistry, which, for example, involves the reaction of methyl triphenylphosphonium iodide with pentadieneal is the principal way that isotopic species are being made.  This synthetic work in the principal goal of the summer.

Other interestsHiking, boating, political activism, reading literary classics, writing poetry and of course, Chemistry and Physics.




Hannah Fuson  '11    From: Granville, OH

Advisor:  Manish Mehta

Honors Project:  Determination of Chemical Shift Tensor Orientation of Small Peptides Using Rotational Echo Double Resonance NMR

Description: Valuable information about the secondary structure and hydrogen-bonding of biological solids is contained in the chemical shift anisotropy. We can learn about this anisotropy using solid state NMR spectroscopy, and we use the chemical shift tensor to mathematically describe this anisotropy. Rotational-echo double-resonance (REDOR) experiments are common for measuring distances between two atoms in the molecule. However, further information about the orientation of the anisotropy can be extracted from these experiments by examining the individual spinning sidebands.  We study of a series of small glycine-, valine-, and alanine-containing tripeptides, spanning a range of secondary geometries, where we determine the orientation of carbon-13 shift tensor in the molecular frame using REDOR.

Other interests: Rock climbing, hiking, kayaking, traveling, baking, playing cello and piano, chamber music, mountains, and roller coasters, caffeinating.




Joshua Greenfield  '11    From: Toledo, OH

Advisor:  Catherine Oertel

Honors Project:  Ion-Exchange Synthesis of Complex Niobium and Tantalum Oxides

Description: Complex niobium and tantalum oxides are useful as photocatalysts for processes including water-splitting. A new niobate, K2Nb2O6, and its tantalum analogue, K2Ta2O6, have recently been prepared in our laboratory using hydrothermal reactions. These compounds fall into the family of compounds known as defect pyrochlores, with the general stoichiometry A2M2O6. Each is made up of a strongly bound [M2O6]2- network associated with loosely bound, exchangeable K+ ions. The focus of this summer’s work is developing ion-exchange reaction procedures to replace K+ with other ions including H+, Ag+, and Na+. The new compounds will be characterized using powder X-ray diffraction, SEM-EDS, UV-Vis spectroscopy, and thermal analysis

Other interests: Loves circus arts, birdwatching/nature hiking, and photography.




Erik Hernandez  '11    From: Lubbock, TX

Advisor:  Norman Craig

Research Project:  Synthesis of Isotopomers of the cis,cis- and trans,trans-1,4-Difluorobutadiene for Use in the Determination of Semiexperimental Equilibrium Structures

Description: We seek 2H and 13C isotopomers of the cis,cis and trans,trans isomers of 1,4-difluorobutadiene for study with high-resolution infrared and microwave spectroscopy.  Rotational constants obtained from the detailed analysis of these spectra combined with vibration-rotation constants computed with quantum chemical calculations will give equilibrium rotational constants.  Fitting these equilibrium rotational constants for a full set of isotopic species will give equilibrium structures with bond lengths determined to 0.001 Å, a high level of accuracy.  The route to isotopic species involves photochemical reaction of 1-fluoro-2-iodoethylene with substances such as fluoroethylene-1-d1 to make an iodobutene followed by removal of hydrogen iodide.  Reaction with other isotopomers of fluoroethylene gives other isotopomers of 1,4-difluorobutadiene.  This synthetic work is the principal goal of the summer.




Kevin Hu  '11    From: New York, NY

Advisor:  Rebecca Whelan 

Honors Project:  Development of an immunoassay for peptide epitopes of CA125

Description: The ovarian tumor marker CA125 contains a highly conserved repeat domain that defines the site of recognition for all known classes of CA125 antibodies. Members of the Whelan lab have in recent years succeeded in synthesizing a series of short peptides with the same amino acid sequence as the antibody-binding region of the repeat domain and important variants of the dominant sequence. Compared to native CA125, these synthesized peptides are expected to be more stable, more amenable to structural characterization efforts, and substantially less costly. It is hoped that the antibodies that exhibit affinity for CA125 will also bind the synthetic peptides, and that analytical assays designed to detect the peptides will also be useful in detecting CA125 in the form found in blood. The goal of this project is to develop an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) that will enable the characterization of affinity between our synthetic peptides and CA125 antibodies.  

Other interests: Triathlon, Obertones (a cappella), Poetry, Etymology, Medical Ethics, Swing Dance.




Nathaniel Kadunce  '11    From: Beaver, PA

Advisor:  Jason Belitsky

Honors Project:  Melanin-Inspired Lead-Binding Coatings II

Description: While “melanin” is a well-known biochemical entity among the general public, scientists know surprisingly little about the fundamental biochemistry of melanins.  Nevertheless, what is known about these fascinating nano-structured pigments suggests a range of non-biological applications.  The Belitsky lab is interested in exploring the properties of melanins and synthetic analogs both to understand fundamental melanin biochemistry and to exploit these properties for environmental applications.  For example, eumelanin, the black to brown human pigment, is known to bind a wide range of metals and organic compounds, suggesting applications in water purification.

Other interests: I like to play tennis, cook, hang out with people, read, and drink coffee.




Alexander Kilbo  '11    From: Maplewood, MN

Advisor:  Jason Belitsky

Research Project:  Melanin-Inspired Lead-Binding Coatings II

Description: While “melanin” is a well-known biochemical entity among the general public, scientists know surprisingly little about the fundamental biochemistry of melanins.  Nevertheless, what is known about these fascinating nano-structured pigments suggests a range of non-biological applications.  The Belitsky lab is interested in exploring the properties of melanins and synthetic analogs both to understand fundamental melanin biochemistry and to exploit these properties for environmental applications.  For example, eumelanin, the black to brown human pigment, is known to bind a wide range of metals and organic compounds, suggesting applications in water purification.

Other interests: I'm part of the Oberlin Club Soccer team the Albino Squirrels, I'm also a big fan of tennis and snow, but not together.




Diane Lye  '11    From: Singapore, Singapore

Advisor:  Jason Belitsky

Research Project:  Melanin-Inspired Lead-Binding Coatings II

Description: While “melanin” is a well-known biochemical entity among the general public, scientists know surprisingly little about the fundamental biochemistry of melanins.  Nevertheless, what is known about these fascinating nano-structured pigments suggests a range of non-biological applications.  The Belitsky lab is interested in exploring the properties of melanins and synthetic analogs both to understand fundamental melanin biochemistry and to exploit these properties for environmental applications.  For example, eumelanin, the black to brown human pigment, is known to bind a wide range of metals and organic compounds, suggesting applications in water purification.

Other interests: Piano, Banking systems, how people shape their career paths.




Emmanuel Magara  '11    From: Gweru, Zimbabwe

  Advisor:  Sean Decatur    

Honors Project:  Vibrational Spectroscopy of Amyloids

Description: Protein clumps known as amyloids are often bad actors inside the human body and have proven quite elusive to scientists' investigations.  Amyloids play a role in neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and in many other conditions, including diabetes. They are aggregates of extended fibrils composed of misfolded proteins and polypeptides, and they are rich in β-sheets, a flat type of protein secondary structure. Most infamous and most studied among the amyloids is amyloid-β-40 (Aβ40), the one seen in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. Using infrared vibrational spectroscopy techniques, our group can follow the process all the way from monomer states of the protein or polypeptide through soluble aggregates to fibrous aggregates.  We have found that there are two mechanisms of reaggregation and alignment, depending on the peptide concentration.  At low concentrations, strands detach from the aggregate and reattach themselves, sometimes to a different aggregate than the one from which they broke off.  At higher concentrations, strands are less inclined to break off and roam about, so rearrangement tends to be confined within a particular aggregate. At intermediate concentrations, both processes occur. 

Other interests: Traveling, cooking, philately, biking, soccer, swimming




Melanie Malinas  '13    From: Reno, NV

Advisor:  William Fuchsman

Research Project:  Investigating Reducing Sugars using the Dinitrosalicylate Spectrophotometric Assay

Description: We are investigating the oxidation of various reducing sugars using the DNS assay, attempting to determine not only the structural effects of sugars on the extent of reaction, but also the stoichiometry of the various reactions. We are hoping these two methods will provide us with a clearer idea of the mechanisms of these reactions.

Other interests: Reading, music, performing, playing Scrabble, skiing and watching movies.




Naoimi Onsongo  '12    From: Nairobi, Kenya

Advisor:  William Fuchsman

Research Project:  Investigating Reducing Sugars using the Dinitrosalicylate Spectrophotometric Assay

Description: We are investigating the oxidation of various reducing sugars using the DNS assay, attempting to determine not only the structural effects of sugars on the extent of reaction, but also the stoichiometry of the various reactions. We are hoping these two methods will provide us with a clearer idea of the mechanisms of these reactions.

Other interests: Dancing, singing, shopping, travelling.



James Pressley  '12  From: North Charleston, SC

Advisor:  Sean Decatur

Research Project: Pressurized Denaturing of a ß-Hairpin Folded Tryptophan Zipper: AWAWENGKWAWK

Description: Tryptophan Zippers (TrpZip) are 12-16 residue long ß-Hairpins that are stabilized by the interactions between cross-stranded tryptophan pairs. Thermal unfolding is a standard procedure to acquire information about the unfolding process but subjecting the peptide to increasing pressure is another mechanism in which peptide unfolding can be observed. A Diamond Anvil Cell (DAC) specifically designed to apply varying pressures to peptide samples, is used in conjunction with infrared spectroscopy (IR) to observe its unfolding. The unfolding of TrpZip cannot be directly measured so the peptide peak, that occurs around 1620 wavenumbers, should shift towards higher frequency and larger wavenumbers as the pressure experiment is carried out signifying the denatured peptides light absorbing capabilities. BaSO4, the calibrant for DAC IR, has a peak around 983 wavenumbers that can also be observed shifting with increasing pressure. The BaSO4 is used (rather than the peptide peak to measure shifting as a result of pressure) because it is has a well-defined peak and no interference in the infrared spectrum from other sources. Once the peptide is synthesized and purified, the sample is evaluated with mass spectrometry to ensure obtainment of TrpZip. The expected mass to charge ratio for this form of TrpZip is 1531 m/z, which should be congruent with a peak value on the mass spectrometry spectrum. Knowing more about the unfolding mechanisms of ß-sheet structures will give insight into alternative ways of disassembling aggregated proteins present in many neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease.

Other interests:  I enjoy gymnastics, all forms of dance especially vogueing, fashion, swimming and chowing down on White Fudge Almond Divinity Ice Cream.


 


Laura Rios  '11    From: El Paso, TX

Advisor:  Robert Q. Thompson

Research Project:  Understanding the Colorimetric Reactions of the Capsaicinoids

Description: Capsicinoids, N-vanillyl acyl amides, are the "hot" components of chili peppers (genus Capsicum), Capsaicinoids, N-vanillyl acyl amides, are the “hot” components of chili peppers (genus Capsicum), many spicy foods, some topical pain-relief creams, and most defense sprays. More than twenty naturally-occurring capsaicinoids are known with small, but significant differences in structure. Capsaicin (6-ene-8-methyl) and dihydrocapsacin (8-methyl) are the two most prevalent capsaicinoids, accounting for 80% - 90% of the heat in most hot peppers. Capsaicin (6-ene-8-methyl) is shown at right.

No method exists for simply and reliably determining the amounts of the two major capsaicinoids in fruit extracts in the field.

During 2006-07 an Honors student, Theresa Vertigan, examined four colorimetric methods that have been applied to capsaicinoids. Two methods – the nitrite/molybdate reaction giving a yellow color and the Gibbs reaction giving a blue color – showed particular promise.

In 2008 Robin Gent made significant progress in identifying the product mixtures of these color reactions. The major yellow product appears to be a mono-nitro derivative of the capsaicinoid, while the blue substance is likely produced by an unusual aromatic substitution.

In 2009-10 Alexandra Gould investigated the effects of reaction conditions on the product profiles. Students in summer 2010 will continue the study of the colorimetric reactions of the capsaicinoids, specifically working to tweak the reaction conditions such that a single, highly-colored substance (or in as high a yield as possible) is produced. The students will carry out the colorimetric reactions under various conditions, characterize the products by LC-MS, and optimize the reaction for highest product yield. A final step will be to prepare a reagent strip that, after a dip into a chili pepper extract, can be compared to a color chart to find the total concentration of capsaicinoids.

The Thompson research team is currently working on various colorimetric reactions in order to achieve a robust, sensitive, and easy way of determining capsaicinoid content in chili peppers.

Other interests: Knitting, reading, obscure Rabelais references, squash, electrons, cooking, nanoparticles.




Jordan Rutter  '12   From: Silver Spring, MD   

Advisor:  Rebecca Whelan and Mary Garvin   

Research Project:  Investigating the effect of age and relatedness on the chemical composition of uropygial gland secretions of gray catbirds

Description: The uropygial gland of birds, also known as the preen gland or oil gland, produces secretions that are important in maintaining the health and structural integrity of feathers. The gland is located at the base of the tail where birds may easily use their bill to squeeze the gland, extract the secretions, and distribute them over the feathers. These secretions are believed to play a number of functions including waterproofing and conditioning the feathers, as well as protection from insect pests, and even predators. Some of the components of the gland secretions, including waxes, lipids, and alcohols, have been described over the past 50 years in several species of birds.  Recent work jointly performed by members of the Garvin and Whelan research groups has characterized the volatile and semivolatile components in the uropygial secretions of the gray catbird, a songbird common in Ohio and implicated in arbovirus cycles including West Nile virus. These results show that the abundance of secretion compounds varies significantly with age and also with season/location.

This summer we will further investigate the significance of age and also of relatedness on secretion profiles. To do this we will attach unobtrusive radio transmitters to breeding female birds and use the transmitted signals to locate active nests, where we will sample secretions from nestling birds.   

Other interests: Photography, cooking, watching movies.




Sophia Toraby  '11   From: Cos Cob, CT  

Advisor:  Rebecca Whelan

Research Project:  Selection and characterization of DNA aptamers

Description: Project description: Aptamers are single stranded oligonucleotides—DNA or RNA—that are selected out of a large, random pool on the basis of a particular function. Often aptamers function as high-affinity binders to biological molecules. The process of selecting aptamers relies on repeated cycles of selection and amplification until a small number of oligos with the desired binding property dominate the pool. Our lab uses capillary electrophoresis both to select the high-affinity binding sequences and to perform affinity assays. This past semester, significant progress was made on selecting an aptamer for the peptide epitope of the ovarian cancer biomarker protein CA125, with five selection rounds completed. This summer we will determine the affinity of the selected oligos for the target, and repeat the selection process for native CA125 and other peptides with differing sequences and structures. It is hoped that these aptamers may form the basis of new detection methods for ovarian cancer.

Other interests: Knitting, minesweeper, singing, dancing, skiing, frisbee, cuddling, sleeping in the sunshine, and long walks on the beach.




Chiemela Ubagharaji  '12    From: Chicago, IL

Advisor:  William Fuchsman

Research Project:  Investigating Reducing Sugar Mechanisms using a Ferricyanide Assay

Description: We are using a spectrophotometric assay involving ferricyanide to gain clues about the mechanisms involved in the oxidation of reducing sugars. By measuring the disappearance of the oxidizing agent, ferricyanide, at different sugar concentrations and examining the change in absorbance at high pH, we can tell the extent of a sugar's oxidation. From there we can examine the effects of various changes in sugar structure on the extent of reaction by looking at sugars with varying functional groups and carbon chain lengths.

Other interests: Music, movies, laughing, learning, fun, sports, reading, cooking, making things and riding my bike.




Inyang Udo-Inyang  '12    From: Lagos, Nigeria

Advisor:  William Fuchsman

Research Project:  Reducing Sugars

Description: We are trying to understand the stoichiometry and mechanism of the reaction of reducing sugars with Dinitrosalicylic acid. In order to do this we are carrying out job plots with various reducing sugars in order to find the  optimum ratio of DNS to reducing sugar. We will also use the linear portion of concentration gradients (A540 vs [M]) to determine the stoichiometry of the DNS assay.

Other interests: Community service, Track and Field, long walks on the beach, shooting, boxing, rocketry, hunting, and BEING AWESOME.




Gabrielle White-Dzuro  '12    From: Toronto, ON

Advisor:  Catherine Oertel

Research Project:  Hydrothermal Synthesis of Network Compounds Containing Main Group Ions

Description: Hybrid inorganic-organic network materials are made up of metal atoms or clusters linked by multitopic organic ligands, which are capable of coordinating more than one metal center.  Incorporating main group metals with stereoactive lone pairs (e.g. Pb2+, Sb3+) into these compounds can lead to non-centrosymmetric solids with properties including non-linear optical activity.  Main group ions can also lead to interesting structural features when included in complex inorganic oxides.  The focus of this summer’s work is optimization of hydrothermal synthesis of Pb2Sn2O6 and structural characterization of this complex oxide. We will also use hydrothermal methods to incorporate organic ligands into networks containing main group ions.  Compounds will be characterized using powder and single-crystal X-ray diffraction, SEM-EDS, and thermal analysis.  

Other interests: Tennis, baking, swimming.