Published: Feb. 24, 2015

MSU senior honored for organic chemistry research

Contact(s): Layne Cameron Media Communications office: (517) 353-8819 cell: (765) 748-4827

Michigan State University chemistry senior Claire Baniel has been selected to receive an American Chemical Society Division of Organic Chemistry Undergraduate Award in Organic Chemistry. The award recognizes senior students who display a significant aptitude for organic chemistry and to encourage further interest in the field.

For four years, Baniel has been a professorial assistant in professor Xuefei Huang’s research group, working on the development of carbohydrate-based anti-cancer vaccines. Baniel has presented her research at several regional conferences and will be listed as a co-author on soon to be published papers describing the work.

The research in Huang’s lab, according to Baniel, gave her an opportunity to combine two research areas, chemistry and medicine, in unique ways.

“It is an honor to have been nominated, let alone chosen for this award,” said Baniel. “I am lucky to have such supportive mentors who have helped advance my scientific knowledge, pushed me to think critically and, above all, helped my decision to incorporate research in my career.”

“Undergraduate research can be a transformative experience for students, especially when working on exciting projects as in a lab as vibrant as Professor Huang’s,” said Robert Maleczka, professor and chair of the MSU Department of Chemistry in the College of Natural Science. “Claire’s experience in that lab speaks to the chemistry department’s mission and the opportunities we provide our students. That is, in the morning, an MSU freshman or sophomore can take large introductory chemistry classes taught by professors who are at the cutting edge of their fields and then, in the afternoon, the same students can do groundbreaking research side by side with those same professors.”

Baniel, who is from Green Bay, Wisc., will graduate in May and will then attend graduate school at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

All awardees will formally be announced at the ACS National Meeting and Exposition in Denver, in March and also recognized on the ACS Division of Organic Chemistry website. Baniel also will be recognized during the chemistry department’s undergraduate awards ceremony this spring.

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