Chemistry Department

Senior Thesis Titles

Recent senior theses are listed here by title, student name, faculty advisor. A complete listing of thesis titles is available via the on-line catalog of the Reed College library.



"A teachable moment" : examining student attitudes towards chemistry(2-nitrobenzoic acid), Kodinna Anachebe (James

What is going anh? : 1,2-diastereoselectivity in reductions with a novel binary hydride, Sol Bixby (Amberchan)

Investigation of formic acid dehydrogenation with alternatives to an Ir-Ru catalyst, Ethan Gregor (Truong and Bowring)

Soaking it all in : employment of halogen bonding to form dynamic crystal molecular sponges, Nicholas Lutz (Campillo-Alvarado and Chacón)

An analysis of sodium and stable water isotopes throughout the holocene from the skytrain ice coreAlexandra Nosal (Grieman and James)

Crystal in motion : dynamic behavior in crystalline adamantane-azopyridine assemblies, Kyle Petersen (Campillo-Alvarado)

Synthesis of a small molecule inhibitor for ZnuA to investigate the mechanism of metal ion transport, Emma Potter (Truong)

What's that snell? : An exploration of diastereoselective reductions of chiral cyclic ketones by snelling salt, Jonah Rohlfing (Amberchan)

Spectroscopic studies of the CuA assembly mechanism, Ethan Yu (Chacón)

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Expression and purification of E. coli CusS sensor domain : solubility and possibilities, Eulalie de Souza (Rush)

The curious case of the disappearing polymorph : pharmaceutical co-crystallization, polymorphism, and vanilla flavored crystals, Henry Holleb (Campillo-Alvarado)

Beginnings of a structural analysis of manganese exporters MneP and MneS, Oliver Nicholson (Ahuja)

Split discs and the challenges of purifying a protein from Drosophila cells, Elle Oberweis-Manion  (Applewhite and Ahuja)

Pursuing the Bacillus subtilis ZnuABC complex, Sky Peterson ( Ahuja)

Characterization of a transmembrane protein TerC, Nicole Xu (Chacón and Ahuja)

Environmental Studies: Chemistry

Two novel green syntheses of silver nanoparticles : mock strawberry leaf AgNPs and sword fern extract AgNPs, Grace Burton  (Cass)

Application of quantum dot microfluidic paper-based devices (µpads) for the detection of heavy metals in water samples, Evelyn Haase (Cass)

Tear gas research : investigations into O-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile toxicity & chemistry's complicity in domestic militarism, Dylann Conley (Cass)


Striking gold : an atomic force microscopy study of gold nanoparticle-polymer interfaces, Amelia Schaeffer (Heath and Campillo-Alvarado)


Hoping to smash DNA with rocks and pickaxes, David Rothfels (Cass and Millender




Synthesis and spectral characterization of 5,5',5'',5''-diselenotetrakis(2-nitrobenzoic acid), Cristina Gonzales (Rush

Towards structural characterization of zinc importing protein ZnuBC, Annika Haraikawa (Ahuja)

Kratom kinetics : mitragynine to 7-hydroxymitragynine conversion in human liver microsomes, Ana Jed (Cass)

Which end is up : a structural characterization of nicotinic acid binding to the niacin responsive repressor of thermatoga maritima, Yuxin Li (Glasfeld and Rush)

Exploratory analysis of a holocene sea salt ice core record from Skytrain Ice Rise, Antarctica, Gillian McGinnis (Grieman)

Kinetic studies of the reactivity of monoterpene-derived organonitrates, Emily McLaughlin Sta. Maria (LaLonde and Truong)

The long road to reclamation : toward the quantification and reuse of environmental palladium pollution, Sophia Miller (Bowring)

Synthesis of potential SARS-CoV-2 protease inhibitors, Michael Sambor (LaLonde and McGhee)

Generation of hydrogen gas by an air-sensitive iridium-ruthenium catalyst, Caitlyn Tong (Bowring)

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Towards structural characterization of manganese importer MntABC from staphylococcus aureus, Ismayn Ditter (Ahuja)

TerC, a protein problematicum : structural characterization of a transmembrane protein implicated in diverse stress responses, Gavin Dury (Chacón)

Switching it on : MntR and transcriptional activation, Tommy Shi (Glasfeld)

Inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 main protease, Kevin Yang (McGhee and LaLonde)

Investigating the cytoskeletal binding partners of the Drosophila protein split discs : a cell biologist's maladroit attempts at biochemistry, Andy Zhao (Applewhite and Ahuja)

Environmental Studies: Chemistry

An analysis of biomass burning proxy records : aromatic acids in the Eclipse Ice Core in Yukon, Canada, Arielle Sherbak  (Grieman)

Incorporation of climate change topics in high school chemistry : teacher practices, beliefs, and barriers to implementation, Kieran Wharton (James)

Tear gas research : investigations into O-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile toxicity & chemistry's complicity in domestic militarism, Dylann Conley (Cass)




Isolation of ZnuBC, a Zn(II) Transport Complex from Bacillus subtilis, Aidan Berryman (Ahuja

Structural and Functional Exploration of the Mn(II) Transporter, “MntABC”, from Staphylococcus Aureus, Sarah Buta (Ahuja)

Pipe for the Picking: Palladium Recovery and Quantification from Tailpipe Residue, Emma Cooney (Bowring)

The Effect of Sodium on Bitter Taste Receptors, Maud Dias (Cass and Glasfeld)

Exploratory Study of Portland Summer Protest Sites for Degradation Products and Secondary Pollutants of CS gas in Soil Samples and Respirator Cartridges, Kendal Dragotto (Fry and Gerrity)

Attempted Expression and Purification of ERα-LBD, Liam Farley (Glasfeld)

Here Ter B Dragons: Solubility Analysis of a Tellurium Resistance Protein in the Time of the Coronavirus, Marie Faulkner (Chacón)

Computational Investigation of Bimetallic Iridium-Ruthenium and Monometallic Iridium Formic Acid Dehydrogenation Catalysts, Leo Gartner (Bowring)

Identifying and Quantifying Sources of Diesel Pollution in Portland, Oregon, Cailin Grimm (Fry)

Neutron Activation Analysis Of An Insoluble Sample Containing Bismuth and Phosphorus By Liquid Scintillation Counting, Addison Guynn (Gerrity)

Kinetic Studies of Terpene-Derived Hydroxynitrates, Aaron Huang (LaLonde)

Lunar Volatiles: A Review and Synthesis, Maximilian Jennings (Ahuja and Lee) 

Quantifying the Effects of Hydrogen Bonding on the Protonolysis of Dimethyl(1,5- cyclooctadiene) Platinum (II) by Trifluoroacetic Acid with Density Functional Theory, Lizzy Knight (Bowring)

Adding Nitro and Nitrate Esters to Alcohols and Phenols Using Metal Nitrates, Hannah McFadden (LaLonde)

The Forest in the Clouds: Investigating the Fate of Atmospherically Relevant Organic Nitrate Esters with Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, James Vesto (LaLonde)

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

An Investigation into the Mechanism of Transcription Activation of the Metalloregulator MntR, Yu Fu (Glasfeld and Ahuja)

A Single-Step Method to Prepare Nitro Groups and Nitrate Esters Using Metal Nitrates, Lujia Gao (LaLonde)

A Novel Synthetic Pathway to Nitro and Nitrate Ester Compounds Using Metal Nitrates, Addison McAlister (LaLonde)

NiaR: Elucidating the Recognition of Niacin by a Metal Ion via Structural Sharacterization, Aziz Ouedraogo (Glasfeld)

Characterization of Ter C a Putative Membrane Protein, Kacey Ottenbacher (Chacón)

Environmental Studies: Chemistry

Aerosol Partitioning in the Columbia River Gorge After Coal Power, Lena Low  (Fry)

Oxidized Nitrogen in Wildfire Smoke at Mt. Bachelor Observatory, Andrey Marsavin (Fry)

Sunny Yellow Outlook, Joules Vaca (Glasfeld and Cass)




Attempts to identify, extract, and purify biologically active compounds in lion's mane, Zesean Ali (LaLonde

TerB, what it do?, Sebastian Arrizabalaga (Chacón)

An exploratory adventure into the ethanolysis, methanolysis, and hydrolysis reactions of atmospherically relevant monoterpene compounds :a carene, limonene, and perillic alcohol story, Gaby Bailey (Chacón)

Finding an ideal SERM: the design, synthesis, and biological evaluation of twenty-four estrogen receptor modulators, Sophie Bender (LaLonde)

Hydrogen gas production from an iridium-ruthenium hydride complex, Lexi Carlson (Bowring and Truong)

An attempted isolation of erinacines A and C from lion's mane mushroom mycelium, Nick Empson (Cass)

Inhibition of S. aureus' Mn(II) import pathway MntABC: a study using saturation transfer difference nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, Saxton Fisher (Ahuja)

DART-ing towards measuring the kinetics of reactions in real time, Margaret Hebert (Carrasquillo)

Investigating emissions from major diesel sources in Portland, OR, Ted Hume (Fry)

Hydrogen production reaction of an iridium half-sandwich complex, Jo Keller (Bowring and Truong)

Ozone, terpenes, and nitrates, oh my! :an investigation into the reactivity of nitrate esters and terpene oxides with ethanol, methanol, and water, Nicole Kretekos (LaLonde)

Expression and purification of the terF protein from the tellurite resistance operon, Nic Lisi (Cass and Chacón) 

Investigations into the condensed phase reactions of nitrate esters derived from atmospherically relevant monoterpenes, Ali McKnight (LaLonde)

Aqueous photochemistry of tannin degradation by reactive singlet oxygen, David Noeckel (Carrasquillo)

Synthesizing Novel Anti-Toxoplasma Quinolones, Josie Serebin-Stromberg (Shusterman)

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Characterization and binding studies :tellurium resistance proteins terD and terE, Tamar Conner (Chacón)

Elucidating the biochemical function of the Drosophila CG11811 protein implicated in non-muscle myosin II regulation, Vicki Deng (Applewhite and Chacón)

Biophysical characterization of the metal binding behavior of Mn(II) and Zn(II) to the Staphylococcus aureus MntABC transporter, Ipsita Krishnamurthy (Ahuja)

A SpecTerCular protein :expression and characterization of the integral membrane protein TerC, Matthew Parson (Chacón)

Synthesis and evaluation of a novel SERM and analogs, Sky Price (LaLonde)




Predicting the effect of the Boardman Coal Plant shutdown on haze in the Columbia River Gorge, Marcus Bamberger (Fry)

Quantum chemical examination of the distribution of strain energy in inherently strained molecular systems, Tara Clayton (Shusterman

Synthesis of phosphate diesters for use as ligands on bismuth catalysts and photocatalysts, Bri Dobson (LaLonde)

Investigation of an unusually large kinetic isotope effect in the dehydrogenation of formic acid by an iridium-ruthenium catalyst, Ellis Douma (Bowring)

INKredible :synthesizing and fingerprinting a library of historic inks, Taylor Huntington (Swartz)

Investigation of the metal ion selectivity of the transcriptional regulator NiaR, Maileen Nakashima (Glasfeld)

Mapping the NOx plumes of transportation infrastructure in Portland, Oregon, Cordero Ortiz (Fry)

Site-selectivity in the Norrish-Yang cyclization of 1-(3-azabicyclo[4.1.0]heptan-3-yl)-2-phenylethane-1,2-dione & various benzannulated azacycles, Charis Roberts (LaLonde)

Exploring and testing the assumptions of Calibration-free laser induced breakdown spectroscopy, Benjamin Skinner (Gerrity)

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

TerD all about it :characterization of proteins in the ter operon and the tellurite oxidation of glutathione, Hayden Adoff (Chacón)

Structural and biochemical characterization of NiaR :regulator of NAD biosynthesis, Dorothy Cheng (Glasfeld)

NapA :an iron binding protein, Charles Fleischmann (Glasfeld)

S. Mutans pathogenicity :studying the DNA binding of the metalloregulator SloR, Jordan Gillespie (Glasfeld)

Copper? I barely know her! : a study of PCuAC, a possible cu chaperone protein for the CuA center of cytochrome C oxidase, Varik Harris (Chacón)

Turning TrIQs :designing a site directed fluorescent labeling mutant of the cannabinoid receptor 2 for screening the functional permissiveness of multiple ligands, Benjamin Patterson (Chacón)

Environmental Studies: Chemistry

Quantifying h₂ generation by ¹h NMR, Maryam Ahmad (Fry)

No3-initiated oxidation of isoprene :oxidation mechanism and aerosol formation, Bella Brownwood (Fry)

Degradation of consumer plastics under accelerated environmental and biological conditions, Gayle Chan (Swartz)

Digging up the dirt on Johnson Creek :an analysis of metal pollutants in sediment cores, Tiffany Thio (Fry)




Harnessing light : synthesis of a polymeric DASA, Maggie Asher (Helmy

Elucidating the time-resolved photoluminescence properties of carbon dots, Thanh Chu (Chatterjee)

Hot rocks in space : verifying onset processes in the thermal metamorphism of unequilibrated ordinary chondrites, Orion Cohen (Swartz)

Molecular building blocks : peptide self-assembly and pigmentation, Dashiel Grusky (Chatterjee)

The influence of chemical composition on viscoelastic and acoustic properties of microbubble contrast agents, Matthew Muller (Gerrity)

A supramolecular approach to bismuth catalysis, Johnathan Sheiman (LaLonde)

Evaluating a central nervous system permeant prodrug of sobetirome as a novel treatment for x-linked adrenoleukodystrophy, Mitra Shokat (Glasfeld)

Characterization of weathered inks on glass and paper as an analogue for materials found in historic texts, Kathryn Stellmach (Swartz)

Synthesis of a heterobimetallic iridium-ruthenium organometallic complex towards the investigation of a large kinetic isotope effect, Joshua Tsang (Bowring)

Optimization of calibration-free laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy for the rapid classification of meteorites under ambient conditions, Oliver Wass (Swartz)

On the photochromism of 4,4'-divinylazobenzene and its crosslinked polymers, Anton Zaystev (Helmy)


Characterizing the elastic responses of double stranded DNA through direct observation atomic force microscopy, Davis Kusnick (Essick and Glasfeld)

Correcting for coincidence : applying a semi-empirical correction scheme for coincidence summing in [gamma]-ray spectroscopy, Amanda Swanson (Smith and Gerrity)

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

An investigation of the effect of methionine and histidine ligands in facilitating the Cu(I) transfer reaction between CusB and CusF in Escherichia coli, Sarah Brodesser (Chacón)

Investigations into BosR, a Borreli burgdorferi DNA binding protein, Mia Galbraith-Liss (Glasfeld)

Production of the Helicobacter pylori neutrophil activating protein A (NapA) in Escherichia coli, Thomas Hoang (Glasfeld)

Have you heard about terD : the characterization and investigation of proteins expressed from the ter operon, Akanksha Majumdar (Chacón)

Accumulation of manganese in the pituitary gland and its effects on annexin a2, Georgia Wong (Glasfeld)

Environmental Studies: Chemistry

Source apportionment of trace elements and black carbon in particulate matter in Southeast Portland, OR, Anna Miller (Fry)

What the heck : collection and quantification of anthropogenically emitted palladium in Portland, OR, Hunter Wise (Bowring)