Group Members

Current Research Students

Beyza Yilmaz


Caroline Tramontana 

Caroline is a BioChemistry major who is excited to continue to learn new organic lab skills and master the art of vacuum distillations. 

Past Research Students

Molly Royek (Drew ’21)

Molly is continuing her SmI2 work by diving into the literature in Summer 2020. We are participating in summer research remotely with online meetings and participation in RSCU.

Riya Divekar (Drew ’22)

Riya is preparing the Choquette group for its first application to peptide synthesis. Following a proposal by Kayla Smalling, Riya is researching the ideas to start work when we are back on campus. Riya is also connecting with fellow undergraduate researchers with RSCU. 

Molly Thompson (Drew ’20) (left) and Molly Royek (right). 

Summer 2019 DSSI Molly^2 completed the work of comparing the Kagan synthesis of SmI2 to Imamoto’s method; and declared Kagan the winner! With this new approach, they completed our identification of SmI2 concentration through observing the consistent yields obtained.

Giselle Rojas (Drew ’18)

Giselle joined the lab Spring 2017, and continued in the lab through the summer and the following two semesters until she graduated. She also helped train two new students entering the lab. 

Giselle’s persistence and dedication to the literature allowed her to help our lab try new ideas to our synthesis of SmI2, as well as try multiple new ways for determining the concentration of SmI2 formed in solution. 

Giselle is now a graduate student at Lehigh University. 

Kayla Smalling (Drew ’18)

Kayla joined the lab Summer 2017, working with air-free conditions for the first time, but excited to continue learning new organic lab techniques!  Her incredible attention to detail and meticulous note taking helped the lab have new streamlined procedures for our THF-Na still and synthesis after only 8 weeks. In determining our SmI2 synthesis she did a lot of the negative controls to verify that we didn’t need to carry out some more laborious steps.  Because she is a biochemist at heart, she also started up the research project to carry out peptide synthesis using SmI2, and hopefully soon SmI2/Ni.

Domenico DiSalvo (Drew ’18)

Dom worked in the lab during the Spring 2017 semester.  He was the first one to work on a synthesis project to obtain starting material for the SmI2/Ni coupling reaction.  Through his hard work we determined isomers that formed through this synthesis, which propmted him to search through the literature for a new approach.  

Dom is currently at Rutgers Dental School. 

Eugene Cyrus (Drew ’17)

Eugene had the unique position of being the first student to join the Choquette lab, Summer 2016. Being the first student means he worked through the issues of finding all of the glassware we needed, figuring out the best set up for stills, and painstakingly identifying where air leaks were in our system.  Eugene continued to work in the lab from Summer 2016 through Summer 2017, advancing the work of synthesizing SmI2 so others could pick it up.  Many of the assumptions we make in the lab today are based on the hard work Eugene did at the beginning!