[A note about this page]
school has barely gotten underway for the fall semester, I thought this
was as good a time as ever to update y'all on what's been
happening. (By the way, I appreciate all the folks who have
either called or e-mailed me, saying that they check this page
occasionally and always like it when I've added something. I'll
definitely do it more often!) This is the time of year that I
miss being at EIU the most - I always got psyched up at the start of
ever new semester, regardless of which classes I'd be teaching. I
loved teaching them all, and of course every semester brought a new
researcher or two, especially in the fall, since a few would have
graduated the preceding spring.
I am very sorry for the effect this must be having on you, and I wish I could do something about it, but I've exhausted my therapeutic options for the foreseeable future. I'll do all I can to help you finish your projects next semester.
[09/30/05] We're having a hard time re-starting our momentum
following the post-summer break, for a strange reason. Turns out that
my energy still has a way to go, so I'm only teaching Mon., Wed., and
Friday. Unfortunately, the current regime has decided that if I'm not
in the building, you're not allowed to do research!!
This cuts out all research for Tues. and Thursday!!! So, I'll be
meeting with everyone individually much more often, because we do not
want that dynamite momentum we built up over the summer being
destroyed! So - keep the faith, talk to me as much as you want, and
perhaps some day we'll learn about this very strange, unique decision.
item certainly qualifies as "Exciting News!"!! After many weeks
of intense work, consulting many journal articles and me, Aaron has
made well over a gram of white, analytically
(For background, look down four paragraphs.) Not only that, but
the procedure seems to be reproducible and applicable to the synthesis
of virtually any derivative that the in
vivo testing suggests would be worth a look. Once the semester
is underway and Dr. McGilliard's testing protocol is up and running,
we'll probably publish the optimized route, because if there's one
thing we learned, there is no one source that spells out exactly how to
prepare these compounds, which are notoriously difficult to make.
[04/16/05] We're excited to announce two new features to the group web site, both acknowledging the parade of excellent researchers who have passed through the group since its inception 20 years ago. Both are linked through the usual link list on the left. "Group Alumni" is a partial listing of everyone who has been a group member from the start - it's incomplete, as I keep trying to track down everyone; but it's still a large listing! "Featured Alumni" will highlight an individual alum, and will have a short biography contributed by the alum, along with a photo or two, tracking what's become of him/her since leaving the group. We plan to feature 3-4 alumni per year. The first is Dr. Steve Arrivo, the very first group member! Check it out!
[Jan. 2005] We start out the new year with three new research students, one of whom replaces Prashanth Padakanti, who is now working on his Ph.D. at Washington University - congratulations, Prashanth! The three new researchers are Meghan Breen, Larry Keniley, and Eric Tennison - welcome to you all! Also - You'd think that, after 20 years, not much new could happen to the group, but Meghan is a first, in that she's a freshman! I knew she was a Presidential Scholar - a very prestigious award - so I figured she had lots of great chemistry in high school. A brief talk with her confirmed that, so we are fortunate that she chose us. She plans to enter a M.D.-Ph.D. program upon graduation.
After a 15 year hiatus, we are back on the trail of potential drugs for the treatment of neonatal apnea. In collaboration with Dr. Kip McGilliard (BIO), we focused on 1-propylxanthine, due to SAR studies indicating its probable selectivity for only pulmonary stimulation (not cardiac). After a lot of excellent work, we had to give up - a rare event; however, discovering that NIH was also trying to prepare the same compound, but gave up two months prior to our decision, made us feel better. Since then, two groups have published syntheses of a key uracil intermediate, so Dr. McGilliard is readying his mouse colony for testing as soon as Andy Mounce makes a few hundred mg of very pure material!
By the way, xanthines are very common pharmacological tools; the figure contains a few names you'll recognize. Caffeine, of course, is in coffee and lots of soft drinks; theobromine is what makes chocolate a stimulant and toxic to puppy dogs; theophylline is the current drug of choice for neonatal apnea.
Dr. Black's review of E-Notebook has now been published, in ChemNews, the official publication of CambridgeSoft, Inc. If you don't have a subscription to ChemNews, you can access the article here.
[9/1/04] Dr. Mike and Lisa are the proud parents of Mary Dell Ruane, born Aug. 30 at 2:35PM; she weighed in at 7lb, 4oz, and 21" long! Everybody is extremely happy and healthy. Dr. Mike should be back among us next Tuesday, and if he can't wipe a smile off his face, you'll know why! Here's Mary Dell, then the proud Dad with Mary. Click either one for a larger print.
Dr. Black's review of E-Notebook is now in press, so watch for it in a forthcoming issue of ChemNews, the official publication of CambridgeSoft, Inc.
[8/25/04] Click the phrase in the "Group Photos" area for a look at our beautiful new white lab floor! What a difference - not only is it shiny and clean, but it brightens the entire lab like you wouldn't believe!
E-Notebook: The group is in the process of integrating CambridgeSoft's software package E-Notebook into our organizational format. For a quick overview, click the link called "E-Notebook - Intro." in the left column. It will revolutionize the way we maintain records of successful reactions (and their associated spectra, tabular data, etc.), chemical samples/intermediates, and everything else involved in investigative organic synthesis.
Welcome to new researcher Kristy Smith, fresh from a great performance in CHM 2840. She's planning on medical school after EIU - we'll see about that after a year or two in research! ;-) She's also a varsity swimmer, so schedule your time with her a month in advance!
Our synthetic procedure for the preparation of trimethylsilylketene has been accepted for checking at Organic Syntheses - stay tuned!
[May 2004] This should be one of the best summers in recent history! There are six people in the lab, four of them supported full-time. Dreyfus postdoc Mike Ruane is finally in the lab a lot, after having to take most of Dr. Black's CHM 2840 class last spring, thanks to the RSD monster. Prashanth is intensely working to graduate by Aug. 1, so he can begin at Washington Univ. on August 7. Mike G., Nick S., and Andy M. (supported by PRF [MG] and the Dreyfus Foundation [NS, AM]) are hard at work on their projects, and newcomer Kristy is about to start her own research adventure.
Congratulations to Prashanth Padakanti, who has begun Ph.D. studies at Washington Univ. He's now engaged in finishing up his thesis describing his attempts to complete his total synthesis of heritol, which, unfortunately, resisted his efforts to bring the synthesis to completion prior to his departure.
Congratulatrions also to Anna Kane, who, at last count, had been accepted at three medical schools, and isn't through yet!
Prof. Black Update: As of March 22, Prof. Black has been back at EIU, but only Mon., Wed., and Friday. The leg wound is as good as closed (i.e., almost), but the issue now is fatigue, no doubt payback for the insanity of last semester, when he averaged a surgery every two weeks, while teaching full time (the surgery total was nine!). But, week by week, the energy is returning, and the best news is that, consistent with his hopes and theory, the RSD pain is perhaps 15-20% of what it was, and continues to fade. If, as he and his physicians believe, the RSD totally resolves, his plastic surgeon wants to publish the case, and eagerly accepted Dr. Black's offer to write the Introduction. That will be something new - publishing in a medical journal for a change!
Surgery Update: Dr. Black's long battle to get the 12" wound in his thigh to close - and stay closed - may be coming to an end! He is on medical leave from EIU, which is to be from four to six weeks long. Things have been going well enough recently that he anticipates being able to return after four weeks - which is next Monday (2/9/04)! Stay tuned.
Over the Christmas break, we FINALLY got a new floor for the lab! I've been writing yearly memos to Dept. Chairs and Physical Plant managers virtually since I got to EIU (1985), warning them that when an accident happened, we wouldn't be able to say we didn't know a hazard existed. So, after boxing and moving every single bottle, tank, desk, hood contents, etc. across the hall into the organic teaching lab, and then returning it all a few weeks later, we have a new, beautiful, WHITE floor!! Some photos will be posted soon.
New Researcher! We
are all very happy to welcome Andy
to the group, starting this semester (spring 2004)! Andy is a
sophomore chemistry major, currently taking CHM 2840, who, in his
words, will be "around for a long time". Music to our ears!
Welcome to the group, Andy!!
Congratulations to Anna Kane, who was awarded a research grant from the Undergraduate Research Council for the Spring 2004 semester! The grant proposal isn't even two pages long, and is worth $500 to Anna (completely unrestricted) and $250 to the group.
Prof. Black has just survived his fourth surgery in five weeks, so is doubly happy to have Mike Ruane around to help out during the inevitable days when he can't be at Eastern. To avoid devoting loads of space here, sometime soon Dr. Black will publish a separate piece linked here, which will briefly explain what's going on, the prognosis, etc. Stay tuned.
Dr. Michael Ruane, the new Dreyfus Fellow, began with us in August. His lab desk is the usual one by the doors, and his office is where Dr. Deakyne's lab was (ph. 581-7474). He went through the three-step intro sequence quickly, and is now learning the ropes of the lab, helping the people in there, and beginning work on his own projects, which, for now, will focus on working with Isaac on the development of our new chiral, BINAP-based DMAP analog.
In addition to returning (from last spring) veterans Julie Johnston and Anna Kane, we also welcome Nick Selner to the group; he is a chemistry major who plans to enter graduate school in pharmacy upon graduation in May 2005.
Of the group's graduates from last spring, Mike Yurkovich is beginning Ph.D. studies at Purdue, Jagadish Boppisetti (JB) is at Washington Univ., and Andrea Mitchell has begin working with Lilly Pharmaceuticals in Indianapolis (probably to keep Bob Graham company ).
Adam (Xiguang) Zhao finally received a visa (see two items down), and is now back at the Univ. of Utah to continue work toward his Ph.D. Unfortunately, he'll miss the current semester completely, but, all in all, there was little damage done. If you'd like to write and welcome him back to the States, I'm sure he'd love it.
I just found out that Adam
has not shared with other
group members that a wonderful, amazing thing happened to him when he
was back in China; I know he doesn't mind my sharing it. Here's
the direct quote: "I got married during
the time I were waiting for my visa. Her name is Shuang Xiang
(pronounced as: s-u-ang sh-ee-ang)." Can you all
believe it? If you'd like to write to Adam to congratulate or
provide other feedback to him, here's a great
chance to write.