Chemistry Comps Corner – Reina Desrouleaux ’17

30 May 2017

Comps Corner goes inside the senior comprehensive project – find out about Chemistry Major Reina Desrouleaux’s experience with group comps and radical chemistry!

What is the working title of your comps?
“X-ray crystallography: metalloenzymes in action!”

What are you and your group researching?
We read the work of professor Catherine Drennan, an x-ray crystallographer at MIT. We worked towards understanding how she used x-ray crystallography to study the structure and function of metalloenzymes.

What is something interesting you’ve found about your topic?
The enzymes use radical chemistry! Radicals are very reactive and it’s interesting that the enzymes not only use them but are able to protect them long enough to use them in a reaction

How is chemistry comps structured and how does it relate to how chemistry is preformed outside of undergrad? What are the benefits of this structure?
I did the group comps. Chemistry group comps is structured where a group of nine or so people read the work of a scientist for a term. After a term of reading, we determine how we want to present their work and what kind of story we want to tell. Group comps is very useful in terms of learning how to read literature and how to communicate scientifically. It did not involve any lab research and was more similar to a seminar course.

How has it been working on group comps?
I’ve loved it, my group has the right dynamic, everyone simply fit into the group and worked very well together.

What has been your biggest challenge so far? What has been most rewarding about comps so far?
The time management was the biggest challenge. We often had long 3-4 hour meetings and those became exhausting, as well as time consuming.

What advise would you give upcoming Chemistry students on the comps process?
Don’t sweat it! It’s not  particularly difficult, it’s more about engaging with you with research currently occurring in the field. Just show up to the meetings, do the readings, and everything will be okay.