FDU Student Presents at the American Chemical Society Spring 2024 Meeting and Exposition

a student and professor stand in front of a presentation board

James Dougherty and Robert Barrows

Biology and psychology student James (Jimmy) Dougherty recently attended the American Chemical Society (ACS) Spring 2024 Meeting and Exposition in New Orleans, La. The five-day event, which is held twice a year, brings together chemists from around the globe to discuss the state of chemical research, technique and technologies.

Jimmy presented his findings on 1,4-benzoquinones, which are chemical functionalities regularly found in nature, including compounds with anti-cancer properties. These structures are rarely used in drug-development due to their consistent production of false positive results when tested for therapeutic utility. The goal of his research is to design molecular replacements, or bioisosteres, of 1,4-benzoquinones that retain all the useful characteristics of the functionality while removing the drawbacks. His research project is partially funded by Novo Nordisk and his advisor is Robert D. Barrows, assistant professor of chemistry.

“It was an amazing experience to present my research to the medicinal chemistry community,” said Dougherty. “The research we’ve done is something I think can make a real impact on the field of medicine and the world, so having the opportunity to present what I’ve worked on felt so rewarding. I am so proud to have represented FDU at one of the biggest chemistry conferences in the country.”

Dougherty showed his work in the medicinal chemistry division of the ACS general poster session. While there, Dougherty discussed his results with scientists from multiple organizations such as the National Institute of Health (NIH) and Bristol-Myers-Squibb.  He plans on continuing his research and hopes to be published in an academic journal.

“Jimmy is a talented student who has made meaningful contributions to our lab. I am proud of his research achievements and his enthusiasm for presenting his work in front of industry professionals. I am confident that he will find success and I hope that his experience in New Orleans helps him as he grows into an independent scientist,” said Barrows.

student stands in front of a sign that reads "proud to be a chemist"