Written by: Ann Weber
On Sunday, August 20, 2017, Amy Balija and Ann Weber from the WCC and Becky Ruck from Merck Research Laboratories presided over the 2nd annual WCC Merck Research Award Symposium at the 254th ACS National Meeting in Washington, DC. The award recognizes up to eight female 3rd and 4th year graduate students for their outstanding contributions to research and future potential to impact science in the fields of organic, medicinal, analytical, computational or structural chemistry, chemical biology, and related disciplines. The awardees receive a $1500 stipend and the opportunity to present their research at the awards symposium. In addition, each awardee is assigned a mentor from Merck.
Samantha Clark (Northwestern University) kicked off the 2017 symposium by discussing her work on binary Cu-Bi compounds. She was followed by Lisa Volpatti (MIT) whose research focuses on rapid and glucose-responsive insulin delivery. Atomically precise, tunable organomimetic cluster nanomolecules was the subject of Elaine A. Qian’s (UCLA)
presentation. Stephanie Hare (UC-Davis) presented her work involving a biosynthetic reaction for abietadiene synthesis. The next awardee, Caitlin C. Bannan (UC-Irvine), discussed her research on improving force field parameterization with Bayesian inference for chemical perception.
Following the intermission, Subharekha Raghavan, Executive Director – Discovery Chemistry at Merck, presented her group’s work on soluble guanylate cyclase stimulators for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. The development and synthetic application of arenophile-mediated dihydroxylation reactions was the topic of Emma H. Southgate’s (UIUC) lecture. This was followed by a presentation by Hilary A. Kerchner (U Michigan) on advances in regioselective
additions to pi systems. The final talk was by Samatha Shockley (Caltech), who discussed her research on stereoselective iridium-catalyzed allylic alkylation.
A luncheon followed the symposium and allowed time for networking among the awardees, WCC members and Merck scientists in attendance. Merck is acknowledged for its generous support of the WCC Merck Research Awards program. Applications for the 2019 award are due December 1.
Additional information about the award can be found at https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/funding-and-awards/awards/other/travel/wcctra velaward/Merck_Research_Award.html