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 will explore the chemical ecology and natural products 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 the 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, and in lab we'll get a taste of the techniques used to isolate and study active plant compounds. Students will complete a full-semester project on a topic of their choice. Note: We will adapt this class to the evolving Covid-19 situation as needed, and incorporate in-lab work only if it is safe to do so. Keywords: chemistry, ecology, plants, biochemistry, ethnobotany
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. Additionally, we will discuss the identification of compounds by mass spectrometry, NMR and infrared spectroscopy. Student-led presentations will address the role organic molecules play in biology, industry, society, and the environment. Regular 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.
This semester we will explore organic structure, reactivity, and spectroscopy through the study of aromatic molecules, carbonyl compounds, nitrogen-containing compounds, pericyclic reactions, and radical chemistry. The emphasis will be on organic mechanism and synthesis, along with relevance of the chemistry to biology, medicine, society, and environment. The laboratory will be centered around a full-semester research project aimed at designing more environmentally benign organic syntheses. 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
This course 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 then be used to address the similarities and differences between small-molecule catalysts and enzymes, including their substrate specificity, regio- and stereoselectivity, and enormous rate accelerations. After a unit on enzyme kinetics, we will proceed to a detailed, primary literature-based study of several enzymes of particular biological and environmental importance: namely, the cellulases, which recycle the cellulose that comprises 60-75% of global biomass; Rubisco, the world's most abundant enzyme, which converts CO2 into organic molecules; the oxygenases (cytochrome P450s and methane monooxygenases) and their oxygen carrier analogs (myoglobin/hemoglobin, hemerythrin, and hemocyanin); and nitrogenase, which converts atmospheric nitrogen to biologically usable form. Prerequisite: Organic Chemistry I.