Chemistry/Physics Summer Research Program 2005 An 8 Week Program of Research 5/16/2005 – 07/08/2005 Overview The goals of this program are to 1) create a community of researchers that includes undergraduates, 2) support faculty research in chemistry and physics, and 3) stimulate communication and cooperation between research groups and our two departments. Summertime is one of the most productive times for faculty research. It can also be a very productive and exciting time for undergraduate researchers if they are in the right environment. In the summer, faculty can devote themselves to mentoring students who share their research interests. This intensive and nurturing environment will, we believe, strengthen the student-faculty mentoring relationship, stimulate student interest in further training or graduate school, and foster inter-departmental cooperation and collaboration. Faculty & Students Involved Co-Coordinator: John Allison – Chemistry Co-Coordinator: Donald Hirsh – Chemistry Lynn Bradley – Chemistry Georgia Arvanitis – Chemistry Romulo Ochoa – Physics Total Number of Student Researchers: 12 Chemistry: 6 fully funded by college, 4 funded by external grants Physics: 2 fully funded by college Budget Student Research for 8 week period: $2,000/student (8 students) $16,000 Research Supplies and Materials: $500/student (8 students) $4,000 Housing: On-campus for 8 week period (12 students) ---------- (We request that all students be housed together, whether externally or internally funded.) Research Activities Research will be conducted under the direction of individual faculty mentors. Each faculty mentor has written a description of the research program that s/he intends to follow over the course of the summer, the role that students will have in the research, and the number of students that s/he would like to mentor under this program. The Research Community The research community will be created through a combination of informal and formal mechanisms. Informal Mechanisms. Research will be conducted at The College of New Jersey in the departments of Chemistry and Physics, which are adjacent in the School of Science complex. Equipment and laboratory space will be shared between the two departments and students will be free to engage each other during research hours. Research groups would agree to meet informally for lunch two days a week. We also request that if possible, our 12 students be housed in the same building together or in adjacent townhouses to reinforce a sense of community. Formal Mechanisms. The research groups will gather on Wednesday morning of each week to share a light breakfast. Students and mentors will be asked to discuss the projects they are working on, the methods they are applying, and the successes (and failures) they have met. A different format will be used each week to highlight different aspects of research and stimulate discussion. As an example, one week, each student will give a brief presentation on the research conducted by a student outside his/her own research group. Summary Project Each student will give a brief (~15 minute) PowerPoint presentation on his/her research during the last week of the 8-week session. The purpose of the summary project is to give the student the opportunity to reflect on what s/he has learned over the 8-week program and to set near-term goals for future research on his/her project. Program Evaluation The program will be evaluated by faculty and students. Students will be given a questionnaire in the last week of the program. The questionnaire will ask students to describe their expectations for the program and how this compared to their actual experience, how they feel they benefited from the program, changes they would like to see in the program, etc. The faculty mentors participating in the program will then review the completed questionnaires and discuss their own expectations and experiences, and make suggestions for improving the program. The faculty mentors will issue a brief summary of their discussion. This summary and the student questionnaires will be forwarded to the dean. Faculty Research Donald Hirsh. Metal complexes and organic radicals work in tandem to catalyze the production of commercial plastics and to synthesize the essential biochemical building blocks within our bodies. My research is focused on the creation of a model system to examine the pair-wise magnetic interactions between metal complexes and organic radicals using electron spin resonance (ESR). These magnetic interactions are a rich source of structural and mechanistic information. This information can, in turn, lead to improvements in commercial processes and human health. The model system is based on the well-defined double helix structure of DNA. Complementary DNA strands have been chemically modified to carry either a metal complex or a radical so that each DNA duplex has one (metal complex – organic radical) pair. This project has supported three areas of research that have been carried out by my research students. One area of research has been the synthesis and purification of modified DNA. The second area of research has been the characterization of the DNA helix structure in the presence of “cryoprotectants” which prevent the crystallization of water. The third area of research involves modernizing and more tightly integrating the computer/instrument interface for the ESR spectrometer. I anticipate all three of these research areas remaining open and active during the summer. I also plan to initiate a new research project looking into the use of ionic liquids as solvents for polymerization reactions. Ionic liquids are a relatively new class of solvents with zero vapor pressure and other unusual and potentially commercially important properties. The early stages of this research will engage one student, first in library research and later in synthesis and ESR spectroscopy. Funds from my ACS-PRF grant and a research fellowship from National Starch & Chemical Company will support two students. I am requesting funding from the college for two more students, one to work on the ESR computer/instrument interface and the second to work on the project involving ionic liquids. I am requesting housing for all 4 of my students, both those supported by the college and those supported by external grants. The following students, all sophomores, have expressed interest in working with me over the summer: Chris Mecoli, Anne Szklarski, Shaum Kabadi, Matt Andress, Catherine Campos, Maryll Geherty, Mark Fidanza, Karim Velasquez, Rachel Underwood, Lauren Munoz, Joanna DelVecchio, and Jennifer Baker. Romulo Ochoa. I have two areas of research. The first area involves using Raman spectroscopy to obtain, in a non-contact process, the temperature of ZnSe semiconductors. By obtaining the Stokes/Anti-Stokes ratio of the corrected Raman spectra the temperature of ZnSe under various conditions will be obtained. The spectra are corrected by including wavelength dependent scattering, the Bose-Einstein population factor, and the CCD response curve. The samples will be cooled in a liquid nitrogen cryostat and analyzed using an Argon Ion laser and a CCD Spex spectroscopy system. My second area of research uses computer modeling to study the fracture precursors in amorphous silica. The classical mechanics molecular dynamics technique is used to generate amorphous silica samples and fracture them by pulling at different strain rates. The studies are conducted using a Sun Blade 2000 workstation, DL-Poly software (Fortran program), and in-house designed programs for data analysis. I am requesting support for two students. One student would work on each project. All the equipment is located in a single lab in the third floor of the Science Complex. John Allison. My research is in the area of applications of tools and concepts of Chemistry to areas of interest in Forensic Science. I would like to continue projects currently underway in my lab in the following areas: 1. Analysis of colorants using non- invasive techniques, particuarly fiber-optic reflectance UV and Visible spectroscopy. This can prove to be the basis for a rapid method for determining the authenticity of items such as paper currency and passports. 2. Analysis of pigmented inks, such as those used in inkjet printers, using differential scanning calorimetry and thermogravimetric analysis. We currently have a proposal submitted to the National Institute of Justice concerning this project. If funded it will provide support for two students for two years. 3. Chemical aspects of latent fingerprint identification. Forensic investigators frequently use „superglue fuming‟ to locate fingerprints. The chemistry behind the application is not understood. 4. Laser Desorption Spectroscopy of Automobile Paints. We have just started negotiating a collaboration between TCNJ and the NJ State Police scientist Vincent Desiderio on this project. I am requesting support for two summer students from TCNJ. I have funds from the Department of Education to support one student. I am also negotiating support for a second student with the State Police. A number of students have expressed interest in working in my lab this summer. They include: Sylwia Stachura, Rene Butler, Erin Sigwart, Kaitlin Papsin and Patrick Czekanski. Research Projects based on Synthesis Work in our labs has focused on synthetic topics in organic and organometallic chemistry. The development of new synthetic methodologies that can be incorporated into total syntheses of compounds having great interest to the chemical community is of special interest. Projects united by the theme of organic heterocycles have been used to introduce students at The College of New Jersey to basic research in chemistry in our laboratories. Recently, our research efforts have centered on the synthesis of organic heterocycles containing nitrogen: The three- and four-membered ring aziridines and azetidines, respectively (Dr. Bradley‟s work) and the slightly larger imidazoles and pyridines (Dr. Arvanitis‟ work). Georgia Arvanitis My research projects center on the design and synthesis of novel organic compounds. Among them are ones that can be used as ligands for metals which are then evaluated for biological activity. Research efforts have centered on the synthesis of organic molecules and some of the target compounds are natural products. Relevant systems include heterocyclic nitrogen compounds, such as imidazoles or pyridines, and seven-membered ring derivatives. The target organic compounds themselves can be biologically active and may produce a synergistic effect with the metal. Additional studies are carried out in order to understand and to modify the biological activity of these compounds. As part of this research program, we have undertaken a study of structure activity relationships. The approach is based on the premise that molecular geometry plays a major role in determining the nature of a complex's interaction with its biological target molecule. Our continuing efforts will focus on determining the molecular foundation for the cytotoxicity of novel complexes prepared in this laboratory. Student participants can develop a strategy for the synthesis of organic compounds and carry out experiments to produce them and optimize their yields. Further work is needed to purify and characterize them using spectroscopic techniques. In addition students can perform modeling studies to help understand how structure influences the interaction of either organic compounds or their metal complexes with biological target molecules. Lynn Bradley Aziridines are three-membered aliphatic nitrogen rings that have proven useful in chemical synthesis. The ring system is highly strained and can be opened readily by nucleophilic attack to form ring-opened amines. This reaction finds valuable application in the synthesis of heterocyclic compounds. Of particular interest in our research group is the synthesis of a basic tetrahydroisoquinoline structure via an intramolecular ring- opening reaction of an aziridine compound. This model study would provide information that could be used in the total synthesis of sendaverine, a natural product containing the tetrahydroisoquinoline backbone. Azetidines are similar in structure to the aziridines but contain an additional methylene in their ring system. They are less reactive than the aziridines due to the increased stability of the four-membered ring, yet undergo the same ring-opening reactions in the presence of nucleophiles. Initially, the synthesis of the aziridine and azetidine starting materials would be conducted, and the yields optimized. Conversion of these compounds to the larger ring systems would then be studied by using a variety of bases and varying general reaction conditions. Incorporation of these ring systems into larger natural products could then be explored. This project would give a student the opportunity to conduct library research, develop advanced synthetic organic laboratory techniques, and learn how to characterize organic compounds through spectroscopic techniques. We are requesting that 2 students be supported by The College‟s summer research program to work on the projects described above.
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