Students Attend American Chemical Society National Conference

With support from a National Science Foundation research grant originally awarded to Assistant Professor of Chemistry Ryan Van Horn in 2016, three students — Natasha Brigham ’17, Max Steffen ’19, and Cole Tower ’19 — attended the American Chemical Society (ACS) national conference in San Francisco, California. Brigham, Steffen and Tower presented posters on their research in Van Horn’s lab involving the physical structure of biocompatible block copolymer plastic films. Van Horn also attended and gave a presentation on the use of polymer labs across the Allegheny chemistry curriculum during the “Incorporating Polymer Science into the Classroom” symposium. Hannah Fischer ’18 traveled to the ACS conference as well through funds from a Dreyfus Foundation – Boissevain Fellowship to present her summer research in Van Horn’s lab on the release of methylene blue from similar polymer films as a possible treatment for anaphylaxis.

Zach Iezzi ’18 and Altan Frantz ’18 also attended the ACS conference through generous support from the Thomas Lord Charitable Trust. Iezzi presented a poster entitled “Structural stability analysis of a S. cerevisiae DEAD-box protein.” This work was done in collaboration with Associate Professor of Chemistry Ivy Garcia and focuses on the role of specific proteins in the translation of RNA. Frantz presented a poster entitled “Synthesis of monometallic nickel (II) halide complexes with secondary phosphines as building blocks for hydrogenase mimics” showcasing his research with Assistant Professor of Chemistry Tim Chapp. This work is on the synthesis of molecules containing phosphorous that mimic enzymes in soil bacteria, which produce hydrogen gas.

Steffen also was recognized for his poster presentation with a third place award in the “ACS Undergraduate Research in Polymer Science” symposium. His poster entitled “Isothermal crystallization analysis of poly(ethylene oxide)-block-poly(ε-caprolactone) with larger wPEO or wPCL” was ranked 3rd out of the 31 posters in the symposium.