By Amy Balija
On Sunday, August 21, WCC in partnership with Merck held the inaugural WCC Merck Research Award Symposium. This session featured the winners of the WCC Merck Research Award, 3rd‐ and 4th‐year graduate students who have excelled in their research. The morning symposium featured technical talks on chemical biology, polymer synthesis, computational chemistry, and organometallic chemistry. To begin the session, Sara Massey from the University of Chicago discussed her research in analytical techniques to examine biological entities. Virginia Bruce then highlighted her progress in examining modiﬁed cationic protein peripheries. Allegra Aron, from the University of California, Berkeley, discussed her progress in imagining biological iron which was followed by Lam‐Kiu Fong’s talk on computational methods to examine the melting of DNA strands on nanoparticles and Alice Chang’s preparation of novel block copolymers for novel nanostructures.
Following the intermission, Kate Holloway, a computational scientist at Merck, gave an inspiring technical talk of how chemists work together to develop new drugs and products. The ﬁnal three talks focused on synthetic topics with Suzanne Batiste’s work on preparing macromolecules from small peptide sequences, Emma Baker’s focus on nickel catalyzed C‐N formation reactions, and Melissa Lee’s study of C‐N reactions.
To celebrate their accomplishments, the winners were honored at a luncheon immediately following the symposium. Each graduate student was paired with a current female Merck employee to help mentor the student through their careers.