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Undergraduate research receives distinction

Rachel Pellegrino Sep 17, 2021

Dr. Takashi Suyama and collaborators were recently published in the Journal of Natural Products, a top-rated peer-reviewed science journal, for their work involving the total synthesis of a marine natural product isolated from cyanobacteria.e

“Many compounds with promising anticancer properties are now being discovered from marine organisms, such as marine cyanobacteria,” said Dr. Suyama, assistant professor of chemistry. “We successfully synthesized the compound for the first time and in the process learned that certain molecular structures, previously thought to be important for cancer treatment, are not important.”

The collaborators included Kimberly S. Taylor, a Jeffrey and Regina Taussig Ohio Honors Scholarship Awardee and 2021 Waynesburg University chemistry graduate.

Taylor began working on this project as a sophomore and presented her findings at the 2021 American Chemical Society’s Virtual Spring Meeting. This fall, Taylor will be attending the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill to pursue a Ph.D. in organic chemistry.

Waynesburg University is committed to preparing students such as Taylor with the knowledge and opportunities that they need to succeed now and in their graduate studies. According to Dr. Suyama, undergraduate research is vital.

“Undergraduate research is the single most important thing–I’d say more than the GPA–for those wanting to go to graduate schools, and publishable research is the best activity you can be involved in,” Dr. Suyama said.

Taylor and Suyama also worked with researchers at the Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of San Diego. 

The Journal of Natural Products is a top-rated journal in its category for publishing new drug lead compounds that are derived from living organisms. It is co-published by the American Society of Pharmacognosy and the American Chemical Society. The publication can be found by visiting the American Chemical Society’s website.