Felicia RodríguezMajor: Chemical and Materials Engineering Mentor: Dr. Feifei Li, Assistant Professor,Chemistry and Biochemistry at New Mexico State University
I am currently a sophomore at New Mexico State University studying Chemical and Materials Engineering. During my senior year of high school, I was discovering my love of chemistry; my advanced placement chemistry teacher peaked my general interest and advised I look into a dual credit class at NMSU where I could further explore my interest in chemistry. Later that year, I enrolled in an Honor’s College journey of discovery class about plants, brains, and the senses. Dr. Serrano was the instructor of this class and she really inspired me to see and appreciate the chemistry in everyday life and biological functions. My freshman year of college I began doing research in Dr. Li’s lab from the department of chemistry. Under Dr. Li, I began synthesizing complexes to model enzymes with key biological functions. Once there is solid understanding of these enzymatic functions, we can develop synthetic versions or better inhibitors to these enzymes depending on the biological implications and importance. During 2016, I was accepted into the NM AMP Undergraduate Research Scholars program which would help fund my research in this area. I plan to continue conducting research under Dr. Li and hopefully, co-author a paper to be published on our findings before I graduate with my B.S. in Chemical Engineering. Then, I would like to go to graduate school to obtain a M.S. in Materials Engineering.
Synthesis of Thiosemicarbazone Ligand for Molybdenum Complexes
In nature, molydoenzymes are used to catalyze oxo-transfering and other types of reactions of key physiological relevance. Bio-mimetic molybdenum and tungsten complexes can be synthesized to exhibit specific reactivities reminiscent of enzymatic functions, such as those of acetylene hydratases or sulfite oxidase family of enzymes. We are currently synthesizing several variations of thiosemicarbazone ligands which can coordinate to a molybdenum or tungsten center to synthesize these biomimetic complexes. These organic synthesizes are carried out in four consecutive steps. After synthesis of the thiosemicarbazone ligands and synthesis of the precursor molybdenum compound, the family of complexes will be synthesized.