In an organic chemistry lab located in the Science II building on the campus of Binghamton University, Scott Handy is busy whipping up promising new substances modeled after natural compounds found in sea sponges and tobacco plants. Some of the synthetic compounds could help in the fight against cancer and AIDS. Others could provide a safer, more effective, and more affordable alternative to the traditional solvents organic chemists use to catalyze reactions and synthesize compounds, one molecule at a time.
A synthetic organic chemist and teacher, Handy clearly gets a charge out of creating and nurturing things, organic and otherwise. This is a fact underscored by his avocations, which include cooking, gardening and music. But when it comes to his research, even though synthesizing molecules can take years of dedication and no end of patience, experiencing the success of creation is only half the fun, he said.
"For some people, making a molecule is sufficient, and that certainly is enough of a challenge much of the time," he said. "But what I really like about synthesis is that if you can make a molecule, you can make a molecule that you can do something with. And thats what breathes life into things for me. It adds a whole other level of excitement and purpose to my research."
Susan E. Barker | EurekAlert!
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