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Reece Carew-Lyons ’23 Awarded Undergraduate Research Fellowship

April 13, 2022
Reece Carew-Lyons ’23

Reece Carew-Lyons ’23, who is majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology at Bryn Mawr, has received an ACS Division of Organic Chemistry Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF).

This highly competitive $5,000 fellowship provides a stipend for Reece to conduct summer research in the lab of Professor of Chemistry Bill Malachowski.

In addition, the program provides financial support for Reece to attend an event at the Pfizer Research and Development Labs in Groton, Conn., the fall that includes a dinner, award session, scientific talks, and a poster session, where the results of the summer research investigations will be presented.

For her research, Reece will be looking at a class of molecules known as cephalotaxus diterpenoids.

“Specifically, the one I will be working with is known as cephanolide B,” explains Reece. “The goal of my research is to synthesize cephanolide B using the Birch-Heck reaction sequence, which has been the focus of the work done in the Malachowski lab group, with other reagents.”

Cephanolide B has been known to have antitumor, antineoplastic, and antiviral bioactivities.

This will be Reece’s first time doing summer research at Bryn Mawr. Last summer, she did a research internship at FMC, where she worked in the toxicology department, which tests different pesticides made by the company to see if they are toxic to wildlife.

“While it was interesting research, I found that working with cells was not something that I could see myself doing in the future. That inspired me to start doing organic chemistry research with Dr. Malachowski,” says Reece.

Reece started doing research with Malachowski in the fall and anticipates continuing through the summer and into her senior year, using the research as the basis for her senior thesis.

A member of a STEM Posse, Reece came to Bryn Mawr intending to be a biochemistry major.

“The biochem major is very intensive with a high number of requirements, but I knew that in order to explore  my interests in both biology and chemistry it was something I wanted to do,” says Reece. “I first became interested in organic chemistry specifically while taking the class my sophomore year. Particularly, the lab component appealed to me and I loved doing reactions. It’s like a puzzle really, where you are given a bunch of ways to analyze a product and then have to put the pieces together to determine what you have synthesized.”

Reece credits the close bonds she’s been able to form with Professor Malachowski and graduate student Diana Rachii and others for helping her find her pathway for life after Bryn Mawr.

“I have found my passion in organic chemistry and hope to incorporate it into a career in the future. Because the school is so small, professors and other mentors really have the time to get to know you, guide you, and support you when things are going well and even when things are not. I would not have been able to do this work without the help of everyone working in Dr. Mal’s lab and I extend my greatest gratitude to them.”

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology