Students Present Summer Research at MERCURY Conference Held at Bucknell University

In the photo (l-r): Carolyn Dishuck, Emily Harrison, Rebeca Roldan, Emma Selner, Caroline Magee

Four Rhodes students recently presented their summer research at the 15th MERCURY conference at Bucknell University. They are Carolyn Dishuck ’17 (biology), Emma Selner ’18 (biology), and Caroline Magee ’19, who  work with Prof. Mauricio Cafiero, and Rebeca Roldan ’19 (chemistry), who works with Prof. Larryn Peterson and Prof. Cafiero.

The students’ collaborative work focuses on the design, synthesis, and testing of small molecules as ligands or inhibitors of LpxC or the Aldehyde dehydrogenase enzymes, with applications in anti-bacterial treatments and in Parkinson’s disease, respectively. Another student, Emily Harrison ’18 (chemistry) also attended the conference. In addition, Prof. Cafiero served as a session chair.

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-PI on the past two grants, for $220,000 and $200,000, respectively. The last grant was used to purchase MARCY, a 350–core computer shared by students of all the members of the Consortium.
The students’ presentation titles are as follows:

  • Carolyn Dishuck and Rebeca Roldan-“DFT Design of Inhibitors of the LPXC Enzyme”
  • Emma Selner and Caroline Magee- “Design of Novel Inhibitors for the aldehyde dehydrogenases”
  • Rebeca Roldan-“Design and synthesis of potential inhibitors of LpxC”