Huntingdon Chemistry Students Present Research at National Meeting
Montgomery, Ala.—Two papers written by Huntingdon College undergraduate chemistry and biochemistry students have been accepted for presentation at the 241st annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in Anaheim, California, March 27–31. The five Huntingdon student presenters will be accompanied at the meeting by Dr. Jeremy Carr, assistant professor of chemistry. The students and Dr. Carr will also accept a national award on behalf of the College's ACS Student Affiliate Chapter at the meeting.
Sarah Frampton, a senior biochemistry and cell biology double major from Newberry, Florida, will present her paper, "Fluorous oxytocin: A model peptide for probing the thermal properties of peptides and antibiotics," in the ACS Biochemistry Division. For her research, Frampton used modeling software to build a series of proteins containing fluorine, a substance not normally found in proteins, instead of the more common hydrogen. Frampton then calculated the energy of each protein at varying temperatures in order to determine the compounds' thermal stability. Researchers at Tufts University discovered recently that adding fluorine to a surface protein of a frog made the protein thermally stable up to 482 degrees Fahrenheit. The fluorine compound Teflon has proven extremely stable at high temperatures. Frampton's temperature-dependent studies are the first such theoretical calculations for fluorine-containing proteins.
Four Huntingdon students will present their paper, "Exploration of the relationship between ring size, degree of nitration, and strain energy in a series of polycyclic explosives," in the Physical Chemistry Division. Frank Q. Mitchell, a senior chemistry major from Jackson, Alabama; Cole P. Smith, a senior chemistry major from Tallassee, Alabama; Andrew J. Swift, a junior chemistry major from Cocoa, Florida; and Ginger E. Tyson, a junior chemistry major from Robertsdale, Alabama, used modeling software to draw 168 three-dimensional molecules that have never been made, yet have symmetrical properties that may lend themselves to be considered explosives. The students calculated the lowest energy for these molecules and their nitro (NO-containing) derivatives, discovering the relationship between the size of the three-dimensional molecule, the bond angles, and strain energy as predictors of the potential explosiveness of each molecule compared to the structures and properties of some known explosive compounds.
Both papers were co-authored by Dr. Maureen Kendrick Murphy, chair of the Huntingdon College Department of Chemistry and a resident of Prattville, Alabama. Although Huntingdon students have presented at past ACS meetings, according to Murphy this is the first time Huntingdon's Department of Chemistry has had two papers accepted for presentation at a national meeting. About 12,000 participants from all chemistry disciplines are expected to attend the meeting. Huntingdon attendees will accept a national honorable mention award given to the College's charter ACS Student Affiliate Chapter in recognition of activities and service during the group's first year of formation last year.
The Department of Chemistry at Huntingdon takes a proactive approach to preparing students for careers and for graduate or professional study in the sciences by providing substantial opportunities for experiential learning. Every chemistry or biochemistry major completes student-faculty research as part of the undergraduate program. The department offers week-long Chemistry Boot Camp experiences for students who are preparing to take the MCAT for professional school admission, as well as upperclass student mentors who volunteer as "Chemistry Wizards" to assist new freshmen in the program. Placement rates into graduate and professional schools far exceed national averages.
Huntingdon College, grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition of the United Methodist Church, is committed to nurturing growth in faith, wisdom, and service and to graduating individuals prepared to succeed in a rapidly changing world. For more information, contact the Huntingdon College Office of Communications at (334) 833-4515.