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Russell Burkhardt

Mentor: Frank Schroeder


Rochester Institute of Technology – B.S. in Chemistry and Molecular Bioscience & Biotechnology, September 2011 – May 2015

Awards and Honors:

  • National Merit Scholar
  • RIT First Year Chemistry Achievement Award
  • RIT Honors Program
  • RIT College of Science Research Scholar
  • GlaxoSmithKline Summer Research Scholarship (2012)
  • RIT College of Science Dean’s List (2011-2015)
  • Undergraduate Senior Achievement Award in Chemistry (AIC)
  • Undergraduate Award in Physical Chemistry (2015)

Research Experience:

  • Four academic years (plus one summer) with Dr. Jeremy Cody at RIT, “Studies Towards the Total Synthesis of Eletefine” (2011-2015, summer of 2012)
  • One summer at Juniata College with Dr. Peter Baran, “Studies of Coordination Compounds of Naringenine in Red Wine” (summer of 2013)
  • One summer internship at NIH with Dr. Amy Hauck-Newman, “Design and Synthesis of Novel High-Affinity and Selective Ligands for the Dopamine D4 Receptor” (summer of 2014)

Current Research Activities:

My research investigates the interactions between steroidal small molecule ligands and nuclear hormone receptors in nematode model systems. In C. elegans, the receptor DAF-12 (a homologue of the human vitamin D receptor) and its ligand form the central regulatory switch between reproductive development, lipid metabolism, and lifespan. My work involves synthesizing dafachronic acids with additional functionality that can elucidate other receptors and proteins with which dafachronic acids interact.  Overall, this aims to combine the power of chemical synthesis and molecular biology to design novel functional analogs of dafachronic acids that will further our understanding of how these ligands are produced, trafficked, and mediate protein interactions. Since receptors are central to normal physiology, this research would bear direct influence on understanding therapeutic targets.

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