Alexandra Matei '20, who is majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology, was among the many students to present research at this year's Summer Science Research program poster session held in the Park Science Center. Alexandra conducted her research in the lab of Bryn Mawr Professor of Chemistry Bill Malachowski.
She provided the below summary of her work:
"Many bioactive molecules found in natural products contain quaternary carbons. Moreover, successful drug candidates are characterized by tetrahedral carbons and the presence of quaternary stereocenters. In our experimental work, the synthesis of tricyclic structures containing quaternary carbons was achieved in four steps. Using the very effective Birch reduction-alkylation of benzoic acid to create a quaternary stereocenter, this product was coupled to a functionalized aryl aminophenol to create a symmetrical 1,4-cyclohexadiene structure. After conversion to a cyclohexadiene aryl triflate, the substrates were desymmetrized by subjecting them to the critical intramolecular Mizoroki-Heck reaction. My primary goal over the summer was to generate a variety of novel three-dimensional phenanthridinone derivatives with increased selectivity which allow the highest levels of enantioselectivity in the Mizoroki-Heck reaction. Enantiomerically pure products generated from readily available starting materials are potentially valuable intermediates for future drugs."
Each summer, students apply for funding through the Summer Science Research program, which awards stipends for 10 weeks of independent research under the mentorship of Bryn Mawr faculty. Students also attend professional development workshops, the Ann Lutes Johnson Speaker Series, and present the results of their research to the College community at a poster session in the fall.