Associate Professor of Organic Chemistry
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.
Molecules that speed up specific chemical processes but remain unchanged are called catalysts. They play key roles wherever chemistry takes place, whether in the cell, the environment, or the manufacturing plant. Some catalysts accelerate reactions by almost 20 orders of magnitude, and many are perfectly selective for a single substrate molecule. Catalysts make life possible, and a handful have changed the way we live. This course will examine the principles of catalysis in chemical and biological systems. The terrain will be varied; we will explore many families of catalysts, from enzymes to transition metals to the proton. Nonetheless, whether we consider decomposition of a small molecule in an acidic solution or the assembly of a polymeric macromolecule by a multicomponent enzyme, we'll find that many themes of catalysis are universal. Readings will be drawn from the primary literature as well as various texts, and we will look at catalysis in both chemical and broader contexts. Students will be evaluated on active participation in class and a semester-long literature-based project. Prerequisite: Organic 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.
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.