Colorado College chemistry major Ingrid Wilt ’17 was awarded “Outstanding Presentation in Organic Synthesis” at the 2016 Gulf Coast Undergraduate Research Symposium (GCURS), held recently in Houston.
Wilt presented her research on the modification of stevioside and stevioside peracetate. During the spring 2016 semester, she worked on the modification of the naturally occurring compound derived from the stevia plant leaf, stevioside, and its derivatives, in Dr. Wim Dehaen’s Molecular Synthesis and Design laboratory at KU Leuven in Belgium. KU Leuven is Belgium’s largest university and one of the oldest and most renowned universities in Europe.
While there, Wilt focused primarily on the oxidation of an alkene between carbons 16 and 17 bonded to the steviol core of the molecule to functionalize the position for further modification. “The ultimate goal of the project was to enhance the anti-hypertensive and anti-hyperglycemic effects of stevioside and submit compounds for biological testing,” she says.
Wilt, a native of Minneapolis, hopes to conduct research in organic synthesis, with the goal of developing innovative therapeutics for the treatment of disease. Wilt’s award from GCURS was announced at a Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry meeting this week, and they are sending a trophy to present to Wilt, says Assistant Professor of Chemistry Habiba Vaghoo.
Wilt also is the recipient of a Goldwater Scholarship Honorable Mention, which she was awarded this spring. The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency, and its Scholarship Program is designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. GCURS is a forum for undergraduate researchers to present original research discoveries. It fosters intercollegiate interactions among students and faculty who share a passion for undergraduate research.