by Alex Moore
Who doesn’t like having the ability to do things on their own? As a senior at the Berrien County Mathematics and Science Center, the Research Chemistry class has allowed me to do experiments on my own. I had the ability to change procedures, chemicals, reactants, catalysts, additives, and solvents. With the abundance of projects to choose from, I chose to look into the ability to attach Vitamin B3 or Niacin, to any common drug via an acylal carbon.
My project consisted of making Niacin-based acylal hybrid drugs. Niacin is one of the essential human nutrients. It is involved in DNA repair and in production of steroid hormones. Niacin helps to decrease LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), while increasing HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). Vitamin B3 is found in meat, enriched whole-grains, and fortified cereals.
I ran many experiments to try and develop a method to prepare Niacin-based acylal hybrid drugs. This method was a two-stop process. The first step of the process worked the majority of the time, while the second step proved to be very intriguing. The second step involved many ‘trial and errors’ throughout the project. I had to go back and change the way the procedure was being run. This meant varying the reagents, catalysts, and solvents in order to acheive the best results.
A few of my experiments showed that our project goal was being acheived, but many of my other experiments failed. This failure, to which I am not used to, taught me many new life lessons. The major lesson I have learned from this is that life is full of failure, and in order to succeed in life, you must have the ability to overcome this failure to get to your goal. No matter the requirements, you must always put forth your best effort in order to overcome.
With that said, my research experience was phenomenal. I learned many new lab techniques and instrumentation to use in my college experience and even in my daily life. Not only have I learned the practical laboratory aspects of research and experimental chemistry, but the life lessons that follow through with it. I am sure I will always reference back to what I learned in Research Chemistry every day of my life. I am so thankful to have taken this class and I do not regret this choice at all.
I graduated from Berrien Springs High School this past Spring and plan to begin college this Fall at Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI, to major in Math and minor in Accounting. I am a workaholic but do enjoy spending free-time playing basketball with my friends.