Messel Bursar Jasprit Chahal reports from Challenges in Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Thanks to a Messel Travel Bursary I attended the International Symposia on Advancing the Chemical Sciences: Challenges in Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology, San Francisco, USA, 6-9 July 2010

There were 18 speakers at the conference that together covered a state-of-the-art review of current research developments in organic chemistry and chemical biology. Topics covered included: new synthetic methods, total synthesis of natural products, metal and organocatalysis, glycochemistry and glycobiology, small molecule protein interactions, synthetic biology, neurobiology, physical organic chemistry, bioorganic chemistry and medicinal chemistry. 

From my poster presentation, ‘Diastereoselective intramolecular Diels–Alder reactions for an approach to (−)-morphine’, at the conference I was able to discuss and convey knowledge about the research I have carried over the last couple of years to fellow international postgraduate students and industrial research scientists. From these discussions I was able to receive useful feedback/critique about the investigations I have carried out. Also, I got some invaluable new ideas that I can apply my research in the future.

The lectures at the conference in the latest developments in new synthetic methodologies and the total synthesis of natural products were of significant interest to me as this is the area which I currently specialise. Professor David MacMillan from Princeton University, USA, lecture on ‘New Catalysis Concepts’ and,Professor Erik Sorensen’s from Princeton University, USA, lecture on ‘Rapid formation of molecular complexity in natural product synthesis’ were two lectures that were highlights for me. As they were the most engaging and inspirational speaker, as well as being scientifically enriching.

I was able to network with the academics and industrial scientists and obtained some useful contacts for continuing my research career in synthetic chemistry onto a postdoctoral level whether it be a traditional academic or industrial postdoc after my PhD.

I have already shared the discussions and feedback I obtained from my poster presentation with my research supervisor. As well as detailing to him and my research group the lecture talks I found interesting and new ideas I have had that could be applied to my research, which were simulated from the inspirational lectures.

Jasprit Kaur Chahal, Imperial College

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