Welcome to the

Dr S's Group at UW-La Crosse!

Organic chemistry research lab
About our group
The impact of chemical industry, particularly production of pharmaceuticals, has grown exponentially in last decades. It is important to create environmentally friendly, green, syntheses of organic compounds of biological importance that produce less waste, utilize less hazardous reagents, and simple in isolation of products.

In our group we develop solvent-free green methodologies. Our current focus is on synthesis of curcumin-inspired therapeutics. We use a hybrid synthetic-computational approach in our research. This allows us to understand mechanisms of transformations in hands and empowers us to improve them.
What makes us a strong research group?
We have a smart and caring leader - Dr. S.!
We have a motivated and hard-working team!
We have a great technology!
We have excellent collaborators!
21 years of experience
The PI had worked in organic/organometallic synthesis and has a great record of publications.

Her experience ranges from Mössbauer spectroscopy to organophosphorus, organopalladium, and green chemistry.

Our current focus is on the development of green methodologies towards curcuminoids.

We are making miracles
Curcumin is one of the main components of turmeric and has numerous pharmacological uses.

In our group we design and synthesize curcuminoids, compounds with even bigger medicinal potential!

Our methodologies provide curcuminoids easier, faster, and with high purity.
Our programs
Our approach to research blends projects in organic synthesis and method development with computational modeling of relevant compounds. We use spectroscopic methods to investigate mechanisms and microwave chemistry to speed up our production of new compounds.
Synthetic projects
Curcuminoids are analogs of curcumin. In their structure central linker is bound to two side arms that can be easily modified during synthesis.

Current research projects target modification of central linker from the traditional acetylacetone. We make new compounds but incorporating a variety of aldehydes in place of vanilin. Another focus is on improving the synthetic procedure by eliminating or substituting organic reagents with better alternatives. In the last year Dr. S. had secured two external grants to fund her research laboratory and support her lead students.

Each student in Dr. S.'s group work on individually tailored projects and is guided to complete work for publication.
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Computational projects
The synthetic work is often based on input/output comparison. In our group we are not only interested in the product formation (although it is very nice) but on how the reaction proceed.

We use information on the mechanism of the reaction to improve the current procedures with the goal of making them green. Theoretical calculations allow us to understand the underlying factors that govern the reactions. We look at potential side products and intermediates to gauge the possibility of their formation. The synergetic combination of computational and synthetic data provides us with unique perspective.

Every student in Dr. S.'s group are given an option of computational research and trained to be successful. It is truly an amazing experience to build and model molecules!

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Educational projects

Dr. S. is passionate about chemistry, and brings it to her classes and to the community. She transformed her organic laboratory course (CHM 305) into a course-based undergraduate research experience. The students in her course acquire fundamental skills and apply them to solve real-world case scenarios. The recent publications of their work can be found on UWL Journal of Undergraduate Research page.

Dr. S. is working on bring research aspects in her lecture courses Organic Theory I and II (CHM 303 and 304) . During discussion projects students apply their knowledge to solve pharmaceuticals mysteries.

In 2019 Dr. S. has began implementing an outreach system with Winona Public Schools and Winona State University Children Center. The COVID-19 interrupted the collaboration but Dr. S. is motivated to restart the project.

To date Dr. S. had secured four internal grants to fund her educational research.

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Working in our lab: what is in it for you?
Hands-on skills in synthetic organic chemistry
Our projects focus on synthesis of small organic molecules of biological importance. You will gain skills on synthesis, isolation, and purification of target compounds. You will also gain experience on hands-on operation and training on data analysis using a variety of instruments that from state-of-the-art facility available at UWL. All these skills will be essential for anyone who is interested in pursuing chemistry as a career either in academia or industry. Gained experience will also boost an application of anyone who is interested in pursuing professional schools as well.
Experience in theoretical modeling
Theoretical modeling is a fast developing skills, however, research opportunities for undergraduate students are limited as they require access to supercomputing clusters and training on a variety softwares. In our group you will learn how to visualize molecules in 3D using Avogadro. You will learn to use GAMESS. Our strong collaboration also provides students with opportunities to run their own modeling jobs on supercomputing clusters and receive publishable high quality data for calculations of molecules and elucidate mechanisms. This is a truly unique opportunity that will strengthen your understanding of organic mechanisms, improve your ability to visualize molecular interactions in 3D and expand your chemistry knowledge beyond fundamental things learn in lectures and labs!
Real world professional communication skills
In our group we understand that you are interested in a career after UWL and that means collaboration, learning, and working with people. Our educational research allows you to receive training by PI and try yourself as teaching assistant. This This unique experience is rarely available for undergraduate students and will allow sharpen your communication skills as you prepare for your future career!
Rich out to me anytime if you want to learn more or have any questions

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