Claudia Cartaya-Marin

Dr. Claudia Cartaya-Marin, professor and chemistry department chair

Dr. Cartaya-Marin is an organic synthetic chemist interested in developing synthetic methods and in the total synthesis of natural products that possess anti-cancer properties. She obtained her B.S. in Chemistry from Universidad Simon Bolivar in Caracas, Venezuela, and then came to the United States, where she got her Masters at Northeastern University, working on organo-metallic chemistry. She then joined the lab of Dr. Barry Snider at Brandeis University, in Waltham, MA, where, for her Ph.D. degree, she accomplished the total synthesis of (+)-nitramine, a proposed neurotoxin. She also studied Lewis acid-catalyzed reactions of aldehydes, and developed a novel cyclization reaction.

After completing her Ph.D., she accepted a post-doctoral position in the Chemistry Department at Cornell University, where she worked on the total synthesis of biosynthetic intermediates of the shikimic acid pathway. Since arriving at Appalachian in 1986, she has extended her research to include the one pot synthesis of 5,7-diphenyl-2,3-Dihydro-1 H-pyrrolizine; the study of the reactions of sodium hydrogen selenide withα,β-unsaturated compounds and the synthesis of enaminones using Lewis acids as activators. Her teaching responsibilities have included Biochemistry, Advanced Organic Chemistry, Organic Synthesis, and Organic Chemistry I and II lectures and laboratories. She is currently teaching Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry.

Currently, Dr. Cartaya-Marin is studying the nucleophilic aromatic substitution reaction of trihalogenated benzenes with cyclic amines, as well as the use of microwaves to enhance organic reactions. She is also collaborating with Dr. Ece Karatan from the Biology Department on a project that involves the synthesis of cyclic-diguanylic acid and using this acid to find the cylic-diguanylic acid (c-di-GMP) regulated signal transduction pathways in vibrio cholerae.

Students in her lab obtain experience performing literature searches; learn proper research notebook keeping and the use modern synthetic techniques. They use chromatographic techniques to separate and purify products and use NMR and IR spectroscopy and GC/MS to characterize the compounds that they synthesize.