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Class of 2009
Research Title: “Synthetic and Conformational Studies on α,α’-bis(naphthyloxy)-para-xylene”
My undergraduate research project is in a subcategory of organic chemistry known as Host-Guest Chemistry. Host-Guest Chemistry is the study of complexes formed between organic compounds that emulate the selectivity and binding of biological enzymes; in other words, I study the interactions between large, cavity-containing molecules possessing specific binding sites (called host molecules) and corresponding small molecules (known as guest molecules). The major focus of this field of research is developing new host molecules that have better binding affinities for specific guests. Common applications for this type of research involve specifically removing molecules from solution, assisted drug delivery, odor removal, and removing cholesterol from foods. With the help of the funding provided by Undergraduate Research I was able to purchase the chemicals required to synthesize and purify a novel organic host molecule called α,α’-bis(naphthyloxy)-para-xylene. In addition to helping me perform my research in the lab, Undergraduate Research also provided funding to assist me in presenting my research at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in New Orleans.