1999 - 2000 Winners
Kristin Herrmann and Aaron Michels

Kristin Herrmann's Research Proposal (November, 1999):

-My research project at Creighton, under the direction of Dr. Dobberpuhl, involves the separation and detection of polyamines using high performance liquid chromotography combined with pulsed electrochemical detection.

-Polyamines are organic molecules present in biological organisms, and an elevated concentration of certain polyamines is an indication of food spoilage.  Currently, there is no direct method for the detection of polyamines such as histamine, agmatine, putrescine, and cadavarine important in the spoilage of food.

-The goal of this project is the direct detection and determination of the concentration of the above mentioned molecules in biological samples.  High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) combined with pulsed electrochemical detection (PED) at a nobel metal electrode is the focus of this effort.

-Currently, we are developing optimal separation and detection conditions for mixtures of polyamines.  Various factors such as pH of the mobile phase and concentration of the molecules to be detected are being explored to maximize detection.  The next phase of this project is to maximize detection in biological samples.

Kristin Herrmann's Research Report (May, 2000)

Aaron Michels' Research Proposal:

The purpose of my research is to obtain nuclear magnetic resonance spectra of a family of compounds, brominated methylcyclohexanes, which can only be synthesized as mixtures in low yields.  The reason for doing this is because the literature is devoid of any data on these compounds.  Secondary alkyl bromides will be produced using methylcyclohexanols or methylcyclohexene compounds.  The products will be analyzed using 1H and 13C spectra and the signals must be assigned to the corresponding products.  Four reaction pathways for producing these products are given below:

1. Substitution of an alcohol using HBr

2. Substitution of an alcohol using PBr3

3. Addition to an alkene using HBr

4. Substitution of an alcohol using (-toluenesulfonylchloride followed by CaBr2

The first three reaction pathways produce a mixture of products.  Earlier work was performed using reaction pathway number 1.  My research began in July, and I have obtained a mixture of products using reaction pathways 2 and 3.  Currently, I am analyzing the NMR results in an attempt to distinguish which signals correspond to each of the potential products.  This task is complicated by the facts that pure samples of the brominated methylcyclohexanes do not exist and the literature lacks data on the compounds.

     After completing the tosylate approach, I will investigate another system using 2-phenylcyclohexanol.

The most effective method for producing secondary brominated compounds, as determined from the first part of my research, will be implemented.  The reaction of 2-phenylcyclohexanol with NaBr/H2SO4 has been performed and the products analyzed, but this was done without any modern instrumentation.  I will be utilizing modern technology to solve an old problem.  The study of this new system should offer interesting parallels to the brominated methylcyclohexanes.  I plan to conclude my research project by presenting my findings at the Nebraska Academy of Sciences in April.

Aaron Michels's Research Report (May, 2000)

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