More than 150 guests,
many from academia and the pharmaceutical industry, attended
the 33rd Peter A. Leermakers Symposium May 5 at the Exley Science Center.
annual, one day meeting brings together internationally recognized
chemists for a day of intensive examination of a particular subject in
year’s symposium, titled “Chirality,” united scientists working in the
general area of stereochemistry. The speakers have played a fundamental role
in the control and understanding of stereochemistry.
Stereochemistry is a property that certain molecules have that can make two
molecules behave completely differently as drugs, even though the structures
of the two molecules look very similar. Stereochemistry depends on the
symmetry of a molecule and is very difficult to control when one is
synthesizing the molecule.
Speakers of the day-long event included Judith Brown, vice president for
Academic Affairs and provost; Michael Frisch, visiting scholar in chemistry;
Professor Kendall Houk from the University of California, Los Angeles;
Professor David Evans from Harvard University; Edward Grabowski from Merck
Research Laboratories; Professor Eric Jacobsen from Harvard University; and
Professor Geoffrey Coates from Cornell University.
speakers presented results related to asymmetric catalysis, the synthesis
of stereoregular polymers, the computer modeling of stereoselective
reactions and the use of spectroscopy.
scientists are all at the very top of their fields and have been recognized
by numerous awards,” says Michael Calter, associate professor of chemistry
and chair of the Leermakers Symposium.
first symposium was held in 1972 on the chemistry of vitamin B12 and
featured the late Robert B. Woodward, who reported on the just-completed
total synthesis of this complex molecule. Since then topics have included
natural biology, theoretical chemistry, extraterrestrial chemistry and
chemical reaction dynamics.
symposium was funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pharmaceutical Research
Institute, Merck Research Labs and Pfizer Global Research Division.
Olivia Bartlett, The Wesleyan Connection
Judith Brown, vice president for Academic Affairs and provost, Wesleyan
Professor Geoffrey Coates, Cornell University spoke on “New
Catalysts for Constructing Small Molecules and Polymers of Defined
Professor Eric Jacobsen of Harvard University spoke on “Seeking
General Asymmetric Catalysts.”
Michael Frisch, Visiting Scholar in Chemistry spoke on
“Spectroscopy of Chiral Molecules.”
Professor Edward Grabowski of Merck Research Laboratories spoke on
“Novel, Asymmetric Hydrogenations.”
Professor Kendall Houk, University of California, Los Angeles spoke
on the “Theory and Modeling of Stereoselectivity”
Professor David Evans spoke on “From Crystal
Structures to Chiral Catalysts.”