Synthesis of Loline Alkaloids

Hello all. My name is A.J. Wright and I am a junior chemistry major at the college. This summer I will be working in the natural products synthesis lab of Professor Jonathan Scheerer. This will be a continuation of a project that I began contributing toward last summer and throughout the current academic year. I am attempting a total synthesis of loline alkaloids, which are natural compounds made by fungal endophytes that live in certain types of grass. These are of human interest because they have insecticidal, insect anti-feedant, and other functional properties. Providing an efficient synthetic route of these compounds could have huge implications for agriculture, albeit such progress is decades away. We also hope to gain more knowledge of the mechanism by which they are produced in the fungus. To this end, we plan to synthesize a potential biological intermediate and provide it to colleagues who are investigating loline biosynthesis.

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Memory and Contested History: Penitentiary Poetry of the Spanish Civil War

For my research project this summer, I propose to analyze the life and work of three twentieth century Spanish poets, Miguel Hernández, Marcos Ana, and Ángeles García-Madrid. All three poets supported the democratic Republican cause during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and worked as political activists and volunteers. After the victory of Francisco Franco’s nationalist forces however, they used their art and writing to record and criticize the grand injustice of the regime. Theorist José Ignacio Álvarez Fernández proposes that the numerous testimonies written by political prisoners of the Franco regime represent a “community of memory,” which preserves the personal and collective history of the republican side of the Spanish Civil War. I will analyze how the poetry of Ana, García-Madrid, and Hernández helps to form this “community of memory.” I will further analyze how their poetry and art works within this community to preserve the history of the “losers” of the war and honor their memory.

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