Natural Product Synthesis (1)

The first two weeks in the lab began with setting up the lab and making necessary stock solutions and solvent systems for organic synthesis. The goal for this summer is to continue to investigate the reaction mechanisms of p-methylbenzoquinone and prenyl bromide, a novel one-step synthesis to attach the prenyl side chain onto the quinone molecule. Through extensive literature research, we have confirmed that our concise synthetic methods that have developed over the last two years are not reported in any peer-reviewed journals. In addition, we have yielded two regioisomers on para and meta positions, with meta isomer being the first-time synthetic product. Although the reaction mechanisms are still elusive at this time (and will be unexplainable in a long future), we have confirmed the identity of the molecules through rigorous analytical methods.

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Systematically Evaluating Threat Landscape of Smart Home Applications Update 1

One week has passed since I started my research on the security of iOS Smart Home applications. During the past week, I was mainly focused on reading and understanding previous research papers regarding similar topic. One paper included a systematic approach of reverse engineering iOS applications. Another paper looked at some design flaw of smart home applications in general. A third paper that looked at some common OAuth implementation flaw in general that are used by developers. I was able to get a good grasp of OAuth 1.0 and 2.0 and their uses-cases. In specifically, I was able to understand the common pitfall of re-purposing OAuth as an Authentication tool when it is only designed as an Authorization tool. Along the way of reading these paper, I also learned some networking terminology: Back Channel and Front Channel, which are very cool terms that define the process of OAuth.
Over next week, I will be looking at some more research paper on related research on Smart Home Applications and some possible vulnerable authentication method they are using.

Protein Immobilization Research Weeks 1-2

Within the first two weeks of working in the research lab, I think I’ve finally begun to understand the meaning of the phrase “learning curve.” Even though I had been coming in a few hours each week the past two semesters, being in the lab from 9-5 working on your own project is a much different experience. It involves more independence, self-reliance, and willingness to troubleshoot. Vastly different from the teaching labs, the experiments I’ve undertaken rely much more on my own competence, adding both pressure and excitement to the research experience. I am incredibly appreciative of both Dr. Young and the senior members in the lab for their patience in answering all my questions. Ironically, the farther along I get in my research, the more I realize there is to discover. Everyday I learn something new, and come home exhausted from throwing my entire mental energy into the day.

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