Nottingham '16 Wins Travel Award to Present Research

Kyle Nottingham '16

July 14, 2015  

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— Illinois Wesleyan University chemistry major Kyle Nottingham ’16 (Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin) will receive an American Chemical Society (ACS) Division of Organic Chemistry Travel Award to present his research at the ACS national meeting Aug. 16-20 in Boston.  

Nottingham works in the research lab of Ram Mohan, the Wendell and Loretta Hess Professor of Chemistry.

“Our group’s focus is on developing environmentally friendly methods in organic synthetis,” said Nottingham. “We are interested in methods that generate less waste, utilize safer chemical reagents and are more cost effective.

At the ACS national meeting Nottingham and chemistry major Nick Lazzara (Brookfield, Illinois) will present a poster on a method for the allylation of cyclic acetals using the low-toxicity catalyst erbium triflate.

“The current reported methods for this type of reaction have drawbacks, including the use of corrosive and highly toxic reagents, which can be dangerous and difficult to handle, in addition to generating hazardous waste,” said Nottingham. “The method we plan to present at the conference uses mild conditions, generates minimal waste, and the reaction components are much safer to handle.”

The research experience in Mohan’s lab is serving Nottingham well this summer, as he and chemistry major Tyler Rauwolf ’17 (Orland Park, Illinois) are interning at North Chicago-based AbbVie. The global, research-based biopharmaceutical company was formed in 2013 following separation from Abbott Laboratories. Nottingham works in analytical research and development with duties that include sample preparation, sample analysis and data analysis.

Nottingham said his IWU coursework has prepared him well for his internship experience. “Many of the instruments and general lab techniques I am using this summer I learned first in the ‘Quantitative Analysis’ course,” said Nottingham. “So I am very thankful to [Assistant Professor of Chemistry] Manori Perera for the experience.”

He said his research experience with Mohan has also prepared him well. “I am very comfortable in a laboratory setting because of the many hours I have spent in research,” he added. “Dr. Mohan also emphasizes practicing presentations in our group, so I have a good amount of experience presenting my own research and that found in the literature. This will not only be valuable for the poster session in Boston, but also for a poster session that AbbVie hosts for the interns to showcase their research for the summer.”

Nottingham said the internship, which he found with Mohan’s assistance, has been very exciting because it has given him a first-hand look at the pharmaceutical industry.

After graduating from Illinois Wesleyan Nottingham plans to pursue a Ph.D. in organic chemistry.