Notice of Online Archive

  • This page is no longer being updated and remains online for informational and historical purposes only. The information is accurate as of the last page update.

    For questions about page contents, contact the Communications Division.

Basic research in organic chemistry provided groundwork for one student’s ambitions in the lab.

The ultimate aim of the research conducted by chemistry major Megan Brennan ’02 (Barnegat, N.J.) was to synthesize some compounds consisting of a ring system that has never been made before. The title of the project was “Preparation of Heterocyclic PAH Compounds via the Generation and Diels-Alder Reaction of Benzofurynes and Benzthiophynes.”

A Marquis Scholar, Brennan assisted Charles Nutaitis, associate professor of chemistry. Nutaitis says the project is hard to understand for anyone without a background in organic chemistry, but that basically they explored a type of reaction that changes one type of molecule into another.

Brennan successfully prepared the first few preliminary steps of the synthesis before taking on an oxidation step to make the 2,3-bromo-benzofuran product. She says Nutaitis was a great help in training her as a research student.

“He is also pleasant to work for, and has played an integral role in my education at Lafayette,” Brennan adds. “I think the EXCEL program is the best offered at Lafayette. It has been a positive working and educational experience, and I am pleased with the support that Lafayette has shown for this program.”

Nutaitis says the EXCEL project, along with Lafayette’s equipment and techniques, are easily on the level of a graduate program. When Brennan goes to graduate school, he adds, “she’ll be able to step right into the lab and start.”

“She’s wonderful. She knows her chemistry quite well,” the professor says, adding that Brennan has become “pretty independent in the lab.”

Brennan is a resident adviser in Ruef Hall and a general chemistry teaching assistant. She is also a member of the student chapter of the American Chemical Society and a sister in Alpha Phi sorority.

Categorized in: Academic News