Sarah Reisman honoured with WCC Rising Star Award

Sarah Reisman honoured with WCC Rising Star Award

2:15 AM, 27th March 2012
Sarah Reisman honoured with WCC Rising Star Award
Sarah E Reisman, Assistant Professor, California Institute of Technology.

CALIFORNIA, US: Sarah E Reisman, Assistant Professor, California Institute of Technology, received the WCC Rising Star Award, making her one of 10 midcareer women chemists to be honoured with the award in its inaugural year. The distinction, bestowed by the Women Chemists Committee (WCC) of the American Chemical Society (ACS), was presented at the society’s 243rd national meeting in San Diego and is intended to help promote the retention of women in science.

“We have done a better job in encouraging women into the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields with higher numbers achieving both Bachelors and Doctoral degrees. However, the actual number of women in mid-career positions continues to decline. I am pleased to see the WCC address this important issue, and the WCC Rising Star Award is a perfect opportunity to highlight successful women chemists to promote retention in the chemical enterprise,” said Nancy Jackson, Immediate Past President, ACS.

Reisman was cited by the WCC ‘for excellence in the development of catalytic asymmetric methodologies for natural product synthesis.’ Her group at Caltech works to develop new ways to synthesize in the laboratory chemical compounds that are produced naturally by plants, bacteria, or fungi. Reisman explained that her group choose to work on natural products for biology standpoint and chemistry standpoint.

The Reisman group has recently focused on synthesizing a class of compounds called ETPs, short for the chemical functional group epidithiodiketopiperazine that these compounds contain. ETPs are extremely reactive and participate in a lot of interesting biology, but this reactivity also makes them difficult to work with. “It’s exciting because it provides the first synthetic access to a particular class of ETP compounds. We know that they have some promising properties in terms of cancer therapeutics, but they haven’t been studied in any detail,” said Reisman.

“What I love about organic chemistry is that it takes the best aspects of scientific research and adds a kind of creative discipline. When you go in the lab and when you’re designing experiments, that’s grounded in our scientific method, but before you get into the lab, when you’re thinking about how you want to make a given molecule, that’s a very creative endeavor, and I really like that aspect. In some ways, it’s very much like solving a logic puzzle,” explained Reisman.

© California Institute of Technology News

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