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Two grad students earn ACS medicinal chemistry fellowships

Eric Simmons
Eric Simmons

August 22, 2007 — by Michael Barnes, Principal Editor

Two chemistry graduate students, Erica Wilson and Eric Simmons, have been selected to receive the American Chemical Society Division of Medicinal Chemistry Predoctoral Fellowships for 2007-08.

Erica Wilson, a member of the Trauner group, is working on the synthesis of a bacterial DNA primase that has potential as a novel antibiotic.

Wilson attended high school in Anchorage, AK, and earned her B.S. in chemistry with a minor in music at UC San Diego. She worked for Kalypsys, a San Diego biotech firm, for one year before starting her chemistry Ph.D. at Berkeley in 2005. She is a member of the Chemical Biology Graduate Program. Wilson's award is sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Eric Simmons, a member of the Sarpong group, is working on the synthesis of icetexanes, a group of diterpinoids that have been shown to be effective against the parasite that causes Chagas disease in Latin America. Oddly enough, the source of the icetexanes is a plant used for medicinal tea, not in Latin America, but in Uzbekistan.

Erica Wilson
Erica Wilson

Simmons grew up in Portland, ME, and majored in Spanish and chemistry at Tufts University before starting his Ph.D. at Berkeley in 2004. Simmons's award is sponsored by Eli Lilly.

Each year, the ACS Division of Medicinal Chemistry awards eight $24,000 Predoctoral Fellowships to graduate students nationwide in their 3rd or 4th year of study. To be selected, students must be engaged in medicinal chemistry.

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