Wellesley Chemistry Student and Professor Publish Amino Acid Research Findings

April 5, 2012

Culminating more than a year-long collaboration, senior Shoshana Bachman and associate professor of chemistry David R. Haines have published some of their findings in the chemistry journal The Nucleus with a paper called “Activation of β-amidoaldeydes Toward Diastereoselective Nucleophilic Addition.”

What does that mean to the non-chemist? According to Bachman,  one of the applications of this research is the synthesis of a molecule that could generate an immune response to Chlamydia. “One of the reasons Chlamydia is problematic is that the bacteria releases a molecule that allows it to evade an immune response,” Bachman explained, “so a treatment that could circumvent this problem would be very useful.” Current treatments do not generate an immune response, so patients who are treated can be re-infected. 

Bachman, who hails from Las Vegas, Nev., began working with Haines in her junior year.  She pursued two semesters of independent study in his lab, as well as working with him through Wellesley's summer research program, and is currently working on her thesis. 

The senior is just back from presenting this research at the American Chemical Society’s Spring 2012 National Meeting and Exposition in San Diego, Calif.  “I found the experience valuable because I received feedback on my research from chemists from different backgrounds than myself, who could offer insight on my research from their own experiences and perspectives,” she said. “In fact, I am currently trying to improve a reaction I am working on using a suggestion from another student I met at the conference.”

In her paper, Bachman also specifically acknowledges the Norris/Richards Undergraduate Summer Research Scholarship program, Professor Haines, and former students who contributed to this project: Lisa Jacob, Halle Ritter, Cecilia Flatley, and Curtis Frantz.

Bachman will be attending CalTech in the fall for the chemistry Ph.D. program, where she hopes to continue working on problems that can be solved using organic chemistry.