My name is Clarissa Flores. I am a rising Junior studying Biochemistry at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. This summer, I have been given the privilege to work in Dr. Mack’s lab under my mentor Rohesh Silva. The Mack lab’s research focuses on understanding and conducting solvent-free organic reactions under the innovative, solvent-free technique of mechanochemistry. Within mechanochemistry, we can use a high-velocity ball bearing to pulverize reagents in a Mixer/Shaker Mill or transfer material down a barrel with interlocking screws to be compressed and sheared in a Twin Screw Extruder so that a reaction may occur. Utilizing this novel technique, I am currently investigating radical alkylation of aromatic compounds. Radicals are atoms or molecules that contain an unpaired election. Within radical reactions, highly reactive intermediates are formed and at that point, they may be involved in a variety of chemical reaction processes. Initially, we investigated how/if a primary alkyl halide could undergo these conditions, then transferred our focus to secondary and tertiary radicals. Currently, we are exploring how the use of different activating and deactivating groups operate/effect the reaction in these conditions. The opportunity to work in a graduate chemistry research lab has offered skills and knowledge that go beyond what is available in a classroom, and I am excited to see all that I can learn this summer.
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