Published in PNAS in July 2011, the paper represents their collaborative work with researchers in the BU Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Professor Eric Kolaczyk and Graduate Student Lisa Pham.
It reports on the effectiveness of their novel method, latent pathway identification analysis (LPIA), in providing insights into systemic biological pathways and key cellular mechanisms that dictate disease states, drug response, and altered cellular function. The work was supported by NIH, NSF, and DOD.
The Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF) uses Collaborative Research Travel Grants to facilitate biomedical research among laboratories in the US and abroad. This February, two Chemistry groups received these competitive awards.
One of the grants will support Professor Pinghua Liu and his graduate student, Jinzhao Shen, to go to Beijing to work in the laboratory of Professor Xiaoping Chen of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. They will collaborate with Professor Chen’s group to develop new anti-microbial drugs, focusing initially on new anti-malaria drugs for multi-drug resistant strains. Specifically, they will build marine natural product libraries and screen them for anti-malaria activities.
The second grant will support graduate student, Daniel Saltzberg, in the Allen Group. Mr. Saltzberg will work with Dr. Hiro Tsuruta’s group at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource to probe the specific interactions governing ligand binding in a large superfamily of metabolic enzymes. These studies will provide insight into the evolution of functional diversity in this superfamily.
Dr. Philip Moquist has received a postdoctoral research fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to study in Germany with Professor Gerhard Erker at the Westfaelische Wilhelms-Universitaet Muenster Organisch-Chemisches Institut in Muenster.
His research proposal is to work on the asymmetric activation of hydrogen using electron deficient boron complexes. The Humboldt Foundation aims to promote academic cooperation between German scientists and researchers from other countries.
Dr. Moquist received his B.S. in Chemistry at the University of California, San Diego. In 2010, he recieved his Ph.D. in Chemistry under the guidance of Professor Scott Schaus at Boston University. His work at BU included the development of enantioselective boronate reactions.
Due to the large number of e-mails that Dr. Moquist has received, we request that you do NOT contact Dr. Moquist for assistance in applying for the Fellowship.
Christina Rodrigo Receives American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship.
The goal of the American Cancer Society (ACS) fellowships is to provide talented postdoctoral research associates funding that will lead to an independent career in cancer research. This Fall, Christina Rodrigo, a postdoctoral research associate in the Porco Group received one of these highly sought national awards for her proposed work on silvestrol, a rocaglate derivative isolated from the plant Aglaia foveolata. Silvestrol has been shown to have potency against breast, lung, and prostate cancer cell lines and chronic lymphocytic leukemia B cells but little is known about about its mechanism of action.
Dr. Rodrigo’s goal is to synthesize molecules similar to silvestrol with slight modifications, and to study and compare these molecules to silvestrol to learn more about how silvestrol works as a treatment for cancer. In addition to the excellence of her proposed research and demonstrated productivity, another contributing factor for her receipt of the ACS Fellowship is the quality of the training and mentoring that she receives from Professor Porco and his Group.
On April 30, high school students from Boston Community Leadership Academy (BCLA) visited the BU Chemistry Department for our second annual Chemistry Day. The forty-five BCLA students learned about acids and bases, gas laws, and chemical reactions at a jaw-dropping demonstration show. They also explored rates of reactions and electrochemistry in two hands-on laboratories run by BU graduate student, Daniele Ramella, and Postdoctoral Faculty Fellow, Rosemary White. Then the students toured chemistry research labs where graduate students and postdocs taught them about their current research. The event concluded with a picnic lunch, sponsored by Cynthia Brossman of LERNET. Chemistry Day was organized by Anais Gervais (BUWIC), Riya Luhar (Chemia), Rosemary White, and Susan DeSensi. The BCLA students are in Arielle Saavedra’s 10th-grade chemistry class. Throughout the semester, BU undergrads Jennifer Kole, Ariana Sherman, and Mike Zimmerman visited Arielle’s classes as part of the Chemistry Outreach Program. The Chemistry Outreach Program, organized by Dr. Susan DeSensi and Dr. Rosemary White, both of the BU Chemistry Department, sends BU undergrads to BCLA, English High School, and Fenway High School to work with the chemistry classes, perform demos and labs, and share their excitement for chemistry. Please check out some Photos from this wonderful event.
For the sixth year in a row, the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (Cambridge, MA) is continuing its support for the Novartis Graduate Fellowship in Organic Chemistry for Minorities and Women, an undergraduate summer researcher (TBA), and the Novartis Lectureship in Organic Chemistry.
The recipient of the competitive 2008/2009 Fellowship is Ms. Jen Goss (pictured at left), a third-year student in Professor Scott Schaus’ laboratory. Her research has focused on the construction of chiral amine containing building blocks through the asymmetric catalytic Mannich reaction.
The goal of the Novartis Lecture in Organic Chemistry is to feature the work of the most innovative scientists working in synthetic organic chemistry today. The 2009 Novartis Lecture will be on February 2, 2009, and will be given by Professor Scott Snyder of Columbia University (shown at right). Professor Snyder and his group synthesize some of the most complex families of natural products known today. To view the previous Novartis speakers, please click here.
Patrick Cappillino (left), a chemistry graduate student at Boston University, was recognized for his presentation at the 10th Young Scientists Conference on Chemistry, which was held at the University of Rostock, Germany, March 27-29, 2008. Cappillino, who anticipates receiving his Ph.D. at the end of the year, received the third place award for his oral presentation, “Iron Compounds with fac-N2O1, cis-N2O2, and N2O3 Donor Ligands as Models of the Structure and Reactivity of Mononuclear Non-heme Iron Oxygenase Active Sites,” in which he described his doctoral research in the laboratory of Professor John Caradonna.
Three Talented Chemistry Graduate Students Receive 2007-2008 Research Fellowships from Pharmaceutical Companies
Amal Ting – Novartis Graduate Fellowship in Organic Chemistry for Women and Minorities
Amal Ting is a fourth-year graduate student in Prof. Scott Schaus’ Group. Her fellowship will support her work investigations of the use of isonitriles in conjunction with imines to synthesize complex heterocycles. This project has been primarily her design and has resulted in two significant reactions. The first is a novel Brønsted acid-promoted construction of tri-substituted oxazoles from the addition of isonitriles to acyl imines. The second is the use of the same acyl imines with isonitriles to afford chiral dihydroimidazoles catalyzed by silver(I) complexes. These two new reactions are complementary processes that use similar starting materials yielding completely different products.
Phil Moquist – Astra Zeneca Graduate Research Fellowship
This is the first year that Astra Zeneca is supporting the Department of the Chemistry through a graduate fellowship for an advance year organic chemistry student. The initial recipient of this award is Phil Moquist, a fourth-year student in Prof. Scott Schaus‘ Laboratory. Phil has developed a new reaction involving boronic acids. He identified the chemoselective addition of boronates to carbonyl compounds as his next step. Based on his proposed mechanism, he has identified the chemoselective nucleophilic addition of carbon nucleophiles to the ketone of alpha-keto aldehydes. The reaction leaves the aldehyde intact and yields a tertiary alcohol as the product. This is a new reaction which has never been described in the literature before. The implications of this new type of reactivity for organic chemistry are significant. Phil’s preliminary results are extremely promising and could be extended to a wide variety of reactions.
Ji Qi – Merck Research Laboratories-Boston Fellowship
Ji Qi is a fourth-year graduate student in Prof. John Porco’s laboratory. Ji has explored the scope and limitations of the tandem reaction process and has completed the synthesis of the natural product clusianone using the methodology. A Communication on this work was featured in JACS. The alkylative dearomatization methodology that Ji developed forms the basis of two other important projects in the Porco Group: the synthesis of the polyprenylated phloroglucinol nemorosone and the synthesis of the adamantanyl natural product plukenetione A.
Each year, Merck Research Laboratories (MRL)-Boston awards the Department of Chemistry a graduate fellowship to support an advanced-year student whose thesis research focuses on organic synthesis. Several outstanding young scientists were nominated for consideration by the Graduate Affairs Commitee. After careful deliberation, the Committee selected Jason Lowe, a member of the Panek Group. Jason joined the graduate program in 2002. His astounding productivity and excellent work are demonstrated by his publications:
- “Total Synthesis of a 32-Membered Stereoisomer Library of Bistramide A”, I.E. Wrona; J.T. Lowe; J. Beigne; J.S. Panek, Agnew.Chem. Int .Ed., 2007 (in preparation)
- “Total Synthesis of Bistramide A”, J.T. Lowe; I.E. Wrona; J.S. Panek,Org. Lett. 2007, 9, 327-330.
- “Reductive Opening of Aryl Pyranosides Promoted by Scandium(III) Triflate”, H.-L. Qin, J.T. Lowe, J.S. Panek, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2007; 129(1); 38-39
- “A Convenient Multi-Gram Synthesis of Highly Enantioenriched Methyl 3-Silyl Glycidates”, J.T. Lowe; W. Youngsaye; J.S. Panek, J. Org. Chem., 2006, 71, 3639.
- “Stereocontrolled [4+2]-Annulation Accessing Dihydropyrans: Synthesis of the C1a-C10 Fragment of Kendomycin”, J.T. Lowe and J.S. Panek, Org. Lett. 2005, 7, 1529-1532.
- “Synthesis and [4 + 2]-Annulation of Enantioenriched (Z)-Crotylsilanes: Preparation of the C1-C13 Fragment of Bistramide A”, J.T. Lowe and J.S. Panek, Org. Lett. 2005, 7, 3231-3234.
Ji Qi is a third-year graduate student in John Porco’s laboratory. Ms. Qi’s fellowship will support her ongoing project “Studies Towards the Synthesis of Polyprenylated Benzophenone Natural Products.” She has developed a novel process to assemble the bicyclo [3.3.1]-nonane-1,3,5- trione core of this natural product class.