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Hamilton College professor wins grant to research reagents


Max Majireck
Max Majireck, associate professor of chemistry at Hamilton College, received a $247,000 grant to develop new reagents to use in processes such as the synthesis of pharmaceuticals. (Photo credit: Nancy L. Ford)

CLINTON, N.Y. — Hamilton College’s Max Majireck, associate professor of chemistry, received a $247,000 research grant from the National Science Foundation to develop new types of reagents, materials that are used in chemical reactions that can include the synthesis of pharmaceuticals.

Based on prior discoveries in the lab, Majireck and his students will leverage a class of molecules known as N-quaternized ketene N,O-acetals. Such compounds have been historically regarded as being too unstable to isolate, which prevented their use as chemical reagents despite their potential to engage in a wide variety of valuable chemical processes.

Majireck’s team recently found a way to synthesize stabilized forms of these compounds and will use the grant to develop them as reagents for the synthesis of biologically active molecules.

This grant also supports pedagogical development of research-based coursework with an emphasis on recruiting and training underrepresented students into scientific careers.

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