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Chemistry Students Present Research at Regional Symposium

April 28, 2016

This month, St. John Fisher College played host to the 61st Annual ACS Undergraduate Research Symposium, sponsored by the Rochester Section of the American Chemical Society.

The symposium served as an opportunity for nearly 70 undergraduates from colleges and universities throughout the region to present their original chemistry-related research to peers and professors.

“This symposium was beneficial and a great opportunity for our students to showcase their undergraduate research at Fisher and network with other peers from nearby institutions,” said Dr. Kermin J. Martínez-Hernández, assistant professor of chemistry, who served on the symposium’s organizing committee. “For first time presenters, this ideal setting allowed them to improve their communication and presentation skills.”

Dr. Richard Eisenberg, Tracy H. Harris Professor of Chemistry at the University of Rochester, delivered a keynote address, “Fuel from Water: The Light-Driven Generation of Hydrogen,” discussing recent efforts in his lab to use water to convert sunlight into usable energy.

At the symposium, Fisher chemistry major Thomas DiProspero was among the 11 students to receive the Undergraduate Achievement Award, which recognizes excellence in the conduct of research and academic performance. The award is given to one student from each of the member colleges. (In the photo: Front row, second from the left, DiProspero is pictured with fellow award winners.)

“Because of his outstanding performance at Fisher, Tom is well positioned for high achievements in his future career,” said Dr. Alexey Ignatchenko, assistant professor of chemistry, who served as DiProspero’s research advisor. “His research was chosen for an oral presentation at the North American Catalysis Society Meeting last year and he delivered it nicely in front of mature world scientists.”

Student awards after oral presentations

The following Fisher students delivered oral presentations at the conference:

  • Clay Johnson ’16, Synthesis of Flavonoids in Room Temperature Ionic Liquids: A Green Chemistry Approach, research advisor: Dr. Renuka Manchanayakage
  • Jeffrey Kellerson ’16, Predicting Photosensitivity in Pharmaceutical Drugs, research advisor: Dr. Andrea Bills
  • Joseph LaPenna ’16, Effect of the alkyl substituents and a catalyst choice on the decomposition of beta-diketones to ketones and carboxylates via retro Claisen condensation reaction, research advisor: Dr. Alexey Ignatchenko
  • Kelsey Moore ’16, Modulating Sterile Inflammation with Lipid-based Nanoparticles, research advisor: Dr. Fernando Ontiveros
  • Jacob Perry ’17, Synthesis and Characterization of Novel Chiral Ionic Liquids and Ionic Liquid Polymers; research advisor: Dr. Renuka Manchanayakage

Eleven Fisher students at the conference presented their work during the poster sessions. They include: 

  • Jordan Andrews ’16, Predicting Photosensitivity using Dipole Moment, research advisor: Dr. Andrea Bills
  • Emily Babb ’16, Evaluating Tim12p as a potential target of the anti-cancer compound Parthenolide, research advisor: Dr. Kevin Callahan
  • Courtney Flotteron ’16, Evaluating MVP1 as a potential target of the anti-cancer compound Parthenolide, research advisor: Dr. Kevin Callahan
  • Andrea Gerchman ’16, Analyzing the effect of beverages and active ingredients in toothpaste on tooth enamel, research advisor: Dr. Kimberly Chichester
  • Rachael Hojnacki ’16, Evaluating YTA12 as a potential target of the anti-cancer compound parthenolide, research advisor: Dr. Kevin Callahan
  • HongHao Li ’18 Encapsulating Ibuprofen using Beeswax Microspheres, research advisor: Dr. Kermin J. Martínez-Hernández
  • Leanne Maltese ’18, Synthesis of Imidazolium-Based Ionic Liquid as a Gene Delivery Vector, research advisor: Dr. Renuka Manchanayakage
  • Connor Putnam ’16, High Performance Liquid Chromatography Refurbishment, research advisor: Dr. Kimberly Chichester
  • Angelo Russo ’16, Evaluation of an L-phenylalanine-based ionic liquid for its GC stationary phase ability, research advisor: Dr. Irene Kimaru
  • Amy Ryan ’16, Redistribution reactions in organosiloxane complexes of 1-oxo-2-pyridinone, research advisor: Dr. Bradley Kraft
  • Simran Sandhu ’16, Determination of Heavy Metals in and around Lake Ontario, research advisor: Dr. Kimberly Chichester