Two Xavier University chemistry graduates publish a pivotal study in an international journal

One 1992 alum is mentoring the other who is a 2007 magna cum laude graduate | July 28, 2010

Dawn M. Makley, a 2007 magna cum laude graduate of Xavier University, has co-authored an article with 1992 alumnus Jeffrey N. Johnston, a chemistry professor at Vanderbilt University, that was published in the journal Nature. The research is expected to aid medicinal chemists in making biologically-active compounds that might battle disease.

Makley was a double major in chemical science and biology at Xavier and is currently a PhD candidate in chemistry at Vanderbilt University, working under the mentorship of Johnston, who also earned his chemistry degree at Xavier.

The article, “Umpolung Reactivity in Amide and Peptide Synthesis,” is in the June 24 issue of Nature, a premier international journal devoted to issues in the molecular aspects of biology. The findings offer hope to lower the cost and increase the availability of drugs based on natural compounds and could have far–reaching practical aspects in pharmaceutical chemistry. Johnston and Makley wrote the article with Bo Shen. The research was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology.

Makley is a native of Tipp City, Ohio, and the daughter of Jeffrey and Elizabeth Makley. Johnston received his PhD from the Ohio State University in 1997, joined the faculty at Indiana University and then moved to Vanderbilt.

Xavier University ranks near the top of national universities in the number of chemistry graduates accepted to and completing doctoral degrees in chemistry. Xavier’s average acceptance rate to medical schools over the past five years is 80%, while the national average is approximately 47%.

Chemical training is the basis for a wide range of interesting careers such as: environmental science, forensic science, chemical business, medicine, insurance, chemical sales and service, library science, college teaching, museum work, patent law, government laboratories, research and consulting organizations, industrial chemistry, science writing, industrial hygiene, secondary school teaching, information science and toxicology.

To learn more about the chemistry major at Xavier University, please visit the chemistry web site.