Rayane Moreira, associate professor of organic chemistry, received her B.A. from Wellesley College and her Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Columbia University, where she developed combinatorial methods for catalyst discovery.
Her postdoctoral work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology focused on the synthesis and study of metalloenzyme mimics.
Her research interests include catalytic reactions of organic molecules and gases. She also enjoys birdwatching, hiking, playing the violin, and traveling.
This course is an introduction to the structure, properties, reactivity, and spectroscopy of organic molecules, as well as their significance in our daily lives. We will first lay down the groundwork for the course, covering bonding, physical properties of organic compounds, stereochemistry, and kinetics and thermodynamics of organic reactions. We will then move on to the reactions of alkanes, alkyl halides, alcohols and ethers, alkenes, and alkynes, emphasizing the molecular mechanisms that allow us to predict and understand chemical behavior. Lastly, we will discuss the identification of compounds by mass spectrometry, NMR and infrared spectroscopy. Student-led discussions will address the role organic molecules play in biology, industry, society, and the environment. Additionally, weekly problem-solving sessions will be held to foster skill in mechanistic and synthetic thinking. The laboratory will provide an introduction to the preparation, purification, and identification of organic molecules. Prerequisite: high school chemistry.
In this course we will explore the fundamentals of catalysis and how they manifest in enzymatic systems. We will use nature's "simplest" catalyst, the proton, to examine the physical principles of catalysis, followed by iron as a "simple" redox catalyst. These two models will be used to address the similarities and differences between homogeneous chemical catalysis and enzymes, including their substrate specificity, regio- and stereoselectivity, and enormous rate accelerations. After a unit on enzyme kinetics, we will proceed to examine some particularly important enzymes and enzymatic systems. We will start with some well-studied systems, such as the serine proteases, alcohol dehyrogenase, and cytochrome P450, and, finally, we will compare these with some enzymes and enzyme complexes of particular biological and environmental interest, such as Methane Monooxygenase, Rubisco, Photosystem II, and ATP Synthase. Prerequisite: Organic Chemistry I.
This course will explore the natural product chemistry of plants through a combination of classroom, field and lab experiences. We'll take advantage of both the Farm Center and the richly forested areas on and around Hampshire's campus to learn about the roles of molecules plants make, from lipids and carbohydrates to antioxidants to pigments to toxins, in both the human world and the lives of plants themselves. In class we will learn to analyze primary literature as well as critically examining articles from the popular press. Students will regularly present readings and lead discussions, as well as completing a full-semester project on a topic of their choice.
Chemistry and physics of solar energy and energy storage technology Harvesting energy from the sun has become an important element in implementing a sustainable energy future. The basic components of a solar electricity system, photovoltaic cells and batteries, are undergoing dramatic innovative development, and the 60-100% annual growth rate of solar electricity generation indicates that photovoltaic technology has become an affordable and practical sustainable energy source. This course will examine the chemistry and physics of photovoltaics and batteries, as well as recent research developments promising higher efficiency, lower cost, and new possibilities for implementation. We will consider these devices from a basic scientific point of view, perform simple experiments to elucidate their properties, read the current literature on the design, fabrication, and deployment of these devices, and explore how they work in energy systems. Students will propose and carry out a final project demonstrating their work in energy systems. Students will propose and carry out a final project demonstrating their understanding of these ideas.
Last semester we began our exploration of organic structure, reactivity, and spectroscopy. This semester will continue that journey, examining aromatic molecules, carbonyl compounds, nitrogen-containing compounds, pericyclic reactions, and organometallic chemistry. The emphasis will be on mechanism and synthesis, along with relevance of the chemistry to biology, medicine, society, and environment. By the end of the semester you will have a solid intuitive sense of how organic molecules react and how to manipulate them in the lab. Just as importantly, we will strive to understand the importance of the field of organic chemistry in the past, present, and future. Prerequisite: Organic Chemistry I.
Associate Professor of Organic Chemistry
Mail Code NS
Cole Science Center 205
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002