Ekaterina Melikhova presents her end of year report

21 Aug 2014

At the end of their first year, SCI's Scholars present an end of year report to SCI. Read on to find out more about what Ekaterina has done in her first year as a Scholar.

I was awarded the SCI Messel Scholarship in 2013 when I was in the first year of my DPhil studies in the Donohoe group at the University of Oxford. I was extremely pleased to receive this award and to become involved with SCI.

The scholarship provided me with SCI membership, which turned out to be very useful for attendance at SCI conferences, lectures and seminars. This membership also allows members to apply for travel grants to go to international conferences. SCI organizes a Career Day every year, which is helpful for finding jobs and meeting people from different fields that are related to chemistry.

In January 2014 we had a scholars' lunch in London and I was very glad to meet the rest of the scholars and get to know more about them. I hope we will keep in touch in the future. In addition to this, I found it very interesting to see what people can do after a degree in chemistry. I had a chance to talk to one of the members, who is working in a consulting company related to the chemical industry, and I will consider this option as a potential future career.

My SCI Messel Scholarship allowed me to go to the 14th Belgian Organic Synthesis Symposium in July 2014, which was an amazing experience for me. I enjoyed the lectures, I met many interesting people and, overall, I had very good time. As my DPhil funding does not provide travel bursaries, the SCI funding was very helpful to cover expenses associated with this trip.

At the moment, I am in the second year of my DPhil. My project is going well and I am trying hard to finish my natural product synthesis. By the end of my first year, I had completed the most complex amino acid fragment present in the molecule, and during my second year I have focused upon assembly of the whole target. So far, I have secured the fully protected macrocycle of microsclerodermin B. The endgame involves cleavage of the protecting groups and installation of one additional stereocentre. These steps are challenging because the advanced intermediates are extremely complex and this complicates apparently simple transformations. At the moment I am working on these final steps and hope to get through this battle to secure a synthesis of microsclerodermin.

I would like to thank SCI very much for providing funding and the opportunity to be involved in a society of industry, academia and engaging people.

Ekaterina Melikhova

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