Connecticut College News
Accomplished chemistry alumna to speak on campus09/6/2012
The Connecticut College Department of Chemistry is pleased to welcome Sarah Reisman '01, an assistant professor of chemistry at the California Institute of Technology, who will deliver a talk - "Natural Product Total Synthesis: A Driving Force for the Discovery of New Chemical Reactions" - on Friday, Sept. 7, at 1:15 p.m. in Hale Laboratory's Brown Auditorium. At Cal Tech, Reisman manages her own research group working in the area of synthetic organic chemistry, a discipline that plays a central role in the process of drug discovery and development. Her talk will describe her laboratory's recent progress toward the chemical synthesis of a number of biologically active, sulfur-containing fungal metabolites. "Many of these compounds exhibit promising anti-cancer activities," she explained. "However, their biological mechanisms-of-action remain poorly understood. With synthetic access to these molecules, we hope to advance our understanding of their chemistry and biology." Reisman credits her experiences at Connecticut College with helping develop her passion for organic synthesis, especially working in the laboratory of Timo Ovaska, the Hans and Ella McCollum '21 Vahlteich Professor of Chemistry. "My time working in Timo Ovaska's laboratory was such a phenomenal training experience - it was the number one contributor to my success in graduate school," she said. "Moreover, it was in Timo's lab that I first became interested in natural product synthesis, an interest that still drives a major part of my research program today." After graduating with honors from Connecticut College, Reisman earned her Ph.D. in chemistry at Yale University and completed postdoctoral studies as a National Institutes of Health fellow at Harvard University. The talk is free and open to the public.