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Group worked with William Miles, professor and head of chemistry

Six students working under the guidance of William Miles, professor and head of chemistry, have recently published research in two scholarly journals.

The paper “Amine-Catalyzed Epimerization of g-Hydroxybutenolides” was published in Tetrahedron Letters, the international journal for the rapid publication of all preliminary communications in organic chemistry. The group also published a paper this school year entitled “Diasteroeoselective Addition of Organotitanium Reagents to Chiral g-Hydroxybutenolides” in Heterocyclic Communications, an international journal in heterocyclic chemistry.

Miles’ co-authors are Daniela Duca ’09 (Chisinau, Moldova), who is pursuing a B.S. in biochemistry and an A.B. in international economics & commerce; biochemistry majors Jaryd Freedman ’08 (Ambler, Pa.) and Elliot Goodzeit ’08 (Princeton, N.J.); Chiquita Palha De Sousa ’08 (Harare, Zimbabwe), who is pursuing a B.S. in biology and an A.B. in art; Kristin Hamman ’07; and Brandon Selfridge ’05.

The work for the articles was completed by Miles and his students since 2005. In the summer of 2005, Hamman, Selfridge, and Palha De Sousa began work on the project. It was continued by Selfridge in the fall and then by Duca, Goodzeit, and Freedman in the summer of 2006. Duca carried on with the research into the fall of 2006.

G-hydroxybutenolides, which are the topic of the publications, are important bioactive compounds usually found in marine organisms. The most famous g-hydroxybutenolide is the extremely potent anti-inflammatory, manoalide. The drug’s development was halted in Phase II clinical trials.

Miles’ interest in g-hydroxybutenolides has been largely synthetic. He and his students have sought to use simple g-hydroxybutenolides as starting materials for the synthesis of biologically active compounds for pharmaceutical purposes.

“This experience has definitely enhanced my love for science and determination in practical work,” says Duca. “Working toward this publication constituted the basis for my experience in sciences, and on this basis will my chemistry expertise grow.”

Palha De Sousa believes the research experience will help her during life after graduation. “I think research is essential to developing scientific curiosity and problem-solving skills which are applicable to any career. Research also requires you to work efficiently, maximize your resources, and develop good organizational skills for recording procedures and results in your lab notebook. I hope to apply all these skills to my future career as a physician.”

  • Professor William Miles Presents Research at National and International Conferences
  • Jaryd Freedman ’08 Conducts Biochemistry Research to Aid in Pharmaceutical Development
  • Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Undergraduate Research
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