Science Alumni Spotlight: Lauren Bejcek

August 30, 2021

Headshot: Lauren Bejcek

Lauren Bejcek started the doctorate program in chemistry at CUNY in August of 2016 and graduated in March 2021. She worked in the lab of Ryan Murelli at Brooklyn College. Prior to joining the PhD program at CUNY Lauren attended DePaul University in her hometown of Chicago, Illinois.

As an undergraduate at DePaul University, she worked in the lab of Professor Paul Vadola. During her that time, she studied gold catalysis for the development of biologically relevant compounds. The opportunity to do undergraduate researcher inspired her to pursue her PhD in chemistry. She learned throughout her time at DePaul that she was very interested in the development of therapeutics and knew she wanted to do research in her PhD that could allow her to pursue this as a career one day.

During her time at the Brooklyn College in Ryan Murelli’s lab she had the opportunity to work on a variety of projects ranging from mechanistic examinations of oxidopyrylium ylides to target synthesis-based projects. Her final project involved the synthesis of colchicine analogs that were shown to have anti-cancer activity and unique stereochemical considerations. She had the opportunity to collaborate with other CUNY research faculty including Alexander and Edyta Greer at Brooklyn and Baruch colleges, respectively. She also collaborated with biologists outside of CUNY to understand the activity of the colchicine-based analogs. In general, research in the Murelli group combines making novel advancements in the field of organic chemistry and applying these towards medicinal chemistry pursuits. Specifically, the lab is interested in the synthesis of tropolones via highly efficient oxidopyrylium cycloaddition approach. In Lauren’s final year she received a generous Graduate Dissertation Fellowship award from the CUNY graduate center.

In April of 2021 she began a job as a chemist at PTC Therapeutics in South Plainfield, New Jersey. PTC Therapeutics is a pharmaceutical company that focuses on patients suffering from rare genetic diseases by developing small molecule and gene therapies. Some disease targets PTC focuses on includes Duchenne muscular dystrophy and Huntington’s disease. Lauren works with her fellow chemists and biologists to synthesize compounds of interest for specific biological targets with the goal of developing novel drugs for the treatment of these rare genetic disorders.

Publications:

  • Bejcek, L.P.; Murelli, R.P. “Synthesis of Aryl-Substituted 2-Methoxyphenol Derivatives from Maltol-Derived Oxidopyrylium Cycloadducts through an Acid-Mediated Ring Contraction Cascade” Chem. Commun. 2020, 56, 3203-3205.
  • Bejcek, L. P.; Garimallaprabhakaran, A. K.; Suyabatmaz, D. M.; Greer, A.; Hersh, W. H.; Greer, E. M.; Murelli, R. P. "Maltol- and Allomaltol-Derived Oxidopyrylium Ylides: Methyl Substitution Pattern Kinetically Influences [5+3] Dimerization versus [5+2] Cycloaddition Reactions" J. Org. Chem. 2019, 22, 14670-14678.
  • Bejcek, L. P.; Murelli, R. P. "Oxidopyrylium [5+2] Cycloaddition Chemistry: Historical Perspective and Recent Advances (2008-2018)." Tetrahedron. 2018, 74, 2501-2521.
  • Vacala, T.; Bejcek, L. P.; Williams, C. G.; Williamson, A. C.; Vadola, P. A. “Gold-Catalyzed Hydroarylation of N-Aryl Alkynamides for the Synthesis of 2-Quinolinones” J. Org. Chem. 2017, 82, 2558–2569.