Chemistry Students Present Research at National MERCURY Conference

Four Rhodes students—Diana Bigler ’15, Hallie Weems ’15, Katie Hatstat ’16, and Jennifer Rote ’15—presented their summer research at the 13th annual MERCURY conference. All are chemistry majors, except for Hatstat who is a chemistry and neuroscience major.

Their collaborative work, with Prof. Mauricio Cafiero and Prof. Larryn Peterson, focuses on the design, synthesis, and testing of small dopamine-like molecules as ligands or inhibitors of three difference enzymes. In addition, Prof. Cafiero served as a session chair for the conference.

This national conference for undergraduate computational chemistry students is organized by the MERCURY consortium, a group of computational chemists at liberal arts colleges who collaborate on National Science Foundation grants for High Performance Computing resources. The consortium has had continuous NSF funding for the past 13 years, and Prof. Cafiero has been a co-principal investigator on the past two grants, for $220,000 and $200,000, respectively. The last grant went towards the purchase of MARCY, a 350 –core computer shared by students of all the members of the Consortium.