Overview of Projects

Cancer Drug Design and Synthesis

Benzimidazoles have vast biological activity and medicinal utility. Our work involves the synthesis and design of novel di-substituted benzimidazoles and the evaluation of their therapeutic potential against cancers which disproportionately impact African Americans.  With this, a primary focus of the work is the elucidation of the structure-activity relationship of the molecules and the mechanism by which they inhibit the development and progression of cancers. The work utilizes methods related to computer-aided drug design and microwave assisted organic synthesis.

Funding for this work was received through the National Institute of Health/National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities: Research Infrastructure in Minority Institutions Award No. 5p20md000215-07002 – Sub-project.  

Teaching and Learning in Chemistry

A number of pedagogical innovations are being utilized synergistically to develop a comprehensive model that leads to improved student performance in the major.  The project aims to produce novel tools and adopt proven methods for engaging students in the mastery of STEM concepts and promoting knowledge retention.  At the center of the project is cohort building, peer mentorship and tutoring, and blended classroom activities that should lead to improved student support system for success throughout the curriculum.  It is envisioned that students exposed to these interventions in the first and second year will develop learning strategies that translate into their success in upper level courses and their retention in the major.

In addition to the development of resources, the project seeks to further characterize Spelman’s success by documenting what is occurring in the STEM learning environment and leveraging this to provide culturally relevant insight into the development of curricular models that lead to improved performance of women and minorities in these areas.  This work will provide a better understanding of minority students as agents of their own success and Spelman’s learning environment as one which nurtures and encourages such agency.

Funding for this work was received through the National Science Foundation Historically Black Colleges and Universities Award No. HRD-1332575, the National Science Foundation and National Institute of Health Planning Grants for the NIH Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) Initiative (P20) Award No. 1P20MD008719-01.

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