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Productive summer: Student researches compounds, edits e-journal

Lavallee and Worman

Student Michelle Lavallee has a "hot time" in the lab this summer doing research with chemistry professor James Worman.

Michelle Lavallee is spending the summer in a small laboratory on the third floor of the Gosnell Building, learning research techniques that will help other undergraduates studying chemistry.

The fourth-year biology major's work with chemistry professor James Worman is supported by SmithKline Beecham, the pharmaceutical company. Lavallee is learning how to make compounds that might have medical use and how to test them using the nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer. The primary purpose of her work is to formulate experiments for use in undergraduate classes.

Lavallee also has taken on the task of editing a Web journal called ChemJOULE, the Chemistry Journal of Undergraduate Laboratory Experiments, begun by Worman when he taught at Dartmouth. "Michelle's job is to update this and make it user-friendly," says Worman.

Lavallee's summer began with a trip to the American Chemical Society's National Organic Symposium in Madison, Wis. Lavalee won a $500 grant from the organization to attend the four-day session, where she heard presentations by leading researchers, including Nobel laureate E.J. Corey of Harvard.

Originally enrolled in the physician assistant program, Lavalee switched to pre-med midway through her sophomore year. She's planning to practice in the field of geriatrics. "While research and development and new technologies involving pharmaceuticals intrigue me," she says, "I find direct patient contact extremely fulfilling."

Lavallee will present her research Aug. 18 at the annual undergraduate research symposium. Anyone interested in giving a presentation or finding out more about the symposium can contact chemistry professor Terrence Morrill at 5-2047.

 


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