Chemical education, Bioorganic chemistry
Our research and development in chemical education is geared towards improving organic chemistry instruction at a college level. Many undergraduate students face major difficulties learning organic chemistry; in fact, these courses are among the classes (together with calculus and physics) that were recognized as the main reason contributing to undergraduates leaving the natural sciences. Therefore, we are aiming to understand the cognitive processes associated with comprehending organic chemistry. In addition, we are currently developing various internet-based interactive learning tools as teaching aids for instructors and students.
Another goal of our program is to develop comprehensive labs that can better train chemistry majors. The philosophy behind these labs is that modern organic chemistry demands efficient synthesis to minimize costs and protect the environment (Green Chemistry). Efficient synthesis originates from understanding the fundamental physical-organic principals of reactions. Besides chemistry, the labs are designed to expose students to other important sides of working in a dynamic research environment.
Our research in bioorganic chemistry is focused on using organic chemistry as a tool for exploring biological systems. Working on cutting-edge research projects in bioorganic chemistry enables us to incorporate these novel and current examples into our chemical education programs.
At this time, our focus is on three major projects: design and synthesis of fluorescent nucleotide analogs, synthesis of RNA binders as potential therapeutics, and biomimetic photoreactive siderophores.
Primary Research Area
Developing educational chemistry programs (BioBridge) to enhance science education at schools with high percentage of students from underrepresented groups.
- Designing new isomorphic fluorescent nucleobase analogues: the thieno[3,2-d]pyrimidine core Tor Y., Del Valle S., Jaramillo D., Srivatsan S. G., Rios A. and H. Weizman. Tetrahedron (2007), 63, 3608-3614.
- Greening Wittig Reactions: Solvent -Free Synthesis of Ethyl trans-Cinnamate and E-3-(9-Anthryl)-2-Propenoic Acid Ethyl Ester. Nguyen K. C. and H. Weizman. J. Chem. Ed. (2007), 84, 119-121.
- Revisiting the Separation of Ferrocene and Acetylferrocene by Adsorption Chromatography: Adding a Third Component. Hwa R. and H. Weizman. J. Chem. Ed. (2007), 84, 1497-1498.
- Weizman H. Why are 1H NMR Integrations Not Perfect? An Inquiry Based Exercise for Exploring the Relationship between Spin-dynamics and NMR Integration in the Organic Laboratory. J. Chem. Ed. In press.